Galuppi’s in Pompano Beach, Florida was the venue for the captains meet on day one and also where EKFT had all the great prizes on display for the massive raffle they held. Everything from Guy Harvey paintings and Costa Del Mar Sunglasses to AFTCO merchandise and Hobie Livewells were up for grabs, with the benefits going to the Broward Children’s Center. The standouts were the Sailfish Mount that was generously provided by Global Fish Mounts and the Vibe Sea Ghost Kayak from Vibe Kayaks. In addition to getting registered, anglers also took the opportunity to dig into the free food in preparation for the weekend of action that awaited them on the water.
At the crack of dawn on day one, anglers from across the United States gathered just north of the Pompano Beach pier. Before the event could get underway, EKFT committee members, along with the coast guards, perform a kayak and gear inspection. They not only made sure that all the anglers were complying with the rules, but also that everyone had the necessary safety equipment. Dandee Donuts also made sure that everyone had enough coffee before hitting the water. During the golden hour, which was between 9am and 10am, anglers not only landed four Sails back to back, but also lost a few. Landing the first Sailfish of the tournament and taking the lead on day one was Richard Chavis, an angler from New York. Richard actually hooked up on a Sailfish double header, which both got away much to his dismay. This would have given the New Yorker an even bigger lead early in the day.
After returning to Pompano Beach on day two anglers were greeted with another beautiful morning and could get down to some serious angling without interference from the elements. The result was a constant buzz from the radios as anglers called in for their Sailfish to be documented. It was Benny Scoca, a local South Florida angler, who caught a Sailfish Smackdown record breaking four Sailfish during the two days of the competition. Benny walked away with the honor of being the EKFT Sailfish Smackdown Champion and his pockets were $3,500 heavier thanks to the award from Turbo USA.
Rob Rodriguez and John McKroid went on to earn second and third place respectfully after each of them landed two sailfish on day two. For his efforts, Rob won $1,000 and John $500, courtesy of the donation by Nautical Ventures. Fourth place went to Richard Chavis from New York, with a 3-night all-inclusive package for the 2017 EKFT Battle in the Bahamas as his prize. Mitchell Terk Murphy was awarded fifth place, which also came with a nice pair of Costa Sunglasses. Sixth place went to Nick Weber, an Indiana native, who is also known for the mammoth 39.1 lb grouper that he caught in the 2016 Battle in the Bahamas. However, on this occasion it was Andrew Imes from North Carolina who brought in a huge 24lb Kingfish, which won him the $3,000 RAILBLAZA USA Kingfish Calcutta.
There can be no doubt that the Sailfish Smackdown is a great destination tournament for anglers across the globe. One only has to look at the top 6 Sailfish Smackdown rankings for the past four years, which were all held by out of state anglers.
Spencer Jones was there on behalf of YakAngler. Be sure to watch the recap of his trip below.