A brisk bite marked Friday’s opener of the 2014 Yamaha/Contender Miami Billfish Tournament with the fleet of 37 boats releasing 130 sailfish.
The five-man team on Reel Karma, skippered by Ryan Alexander, caught and released 10 sailfish to take a one-fish lead over runner-up Asian Pearl II with nine. Third-place 4 Aces also has nine, but Asian Pearl leads on time.
The fourth- and fifth-place teams, Bouncer’s Dusky and Team Fishless/Fine Awards, each scored eight. The sixth- through eighth-place boats — Miss Britt II, Just Do It and Rock Star — each has seven. Ninth-place Thomas Flyer has six and Jichi rounds out the top 10 with five.
Reel Karma’s Zeb De Tuya is top angler with five releases.
Alexander said his team kite-fished with live herring and goggle eyes in depths of 120 to 150 feet south of Fowey Light.
“We kind of picked at them all day, one or two every hour — mostly singles and one double,” Alexander said. “It was a good bite. We’ll just try to repeat today.”
The fleet will be joined on Saturday by more teams competing in the tournament’s one-day, outboard-only challenge.
Besides releasing billfish, all teams can score points for weighing kingfish, dolphin, wahoo, cobia, and tuna.
The winners in a host of categories will receive their prizes in ceremonies following Saturday’s weigh-in at Miami Beach Marina.