Buccaneer Cup | Palm Beach Sailfish Tournament

The Buccaneer Cup

55th Annual Buccaneer Cup Will Be One to Remember! 

Viking 68 Takes Top Boat! 

Palm Beach, FL – The 55th Buccaneer Cup Sailfish Release Tournament was held January 25 to 27, 2018 and while conditions were challenging to say the least,  the teams that fought through the weather were rewarded with fishing that was off the charts.  Twenty-two of Florida’s top teams battled 25-30 mph winds to release hundreds of sailfish over the two day event that benefits the Recreational Fishing Alliance.
Courtney Bowden, well known on the Atlantic coast tournament circuit, assumed the reigns of Tournament Director for this year’s event and did a spectacular job from fielding questions about the looming weather report to running one of the best organized and classiest billfish tournaments on the coast.  Courtney, along with her team of volunteers, including staff from  The Billfish Foundation pulled off an amazing event!  
Day One began with a dicey run out the inlet and a wet, pounding run to the grounds.   Jim McGraph of Grand Slam Tackle, called “Lines In”  at 8am from the official radio room high atop the Jupiter Beach Resort and Spa.  It wasn’t long before Miss Annie called in the first release at 8:07 and the bite did not let up.  Within the first hour, 17 sails were released with several boats calling in doubles and triples.  Despite the ferocious winds and chop, by the end of the day, over 230 sailfish had been released.  Viking 68’s team pull ahead at the end of Day One with a 600 point lead but with a red hot bite, the leader board could easily swing based on who landed on a pod of sails.  
Day Two opened with similar grey skies and honking East wind but the strong bite continued with 14 sails being released within the first hour.   The live baiters  seemed to have the edge on Day Two with the Miss Victoria, Sandman and Two Cats making runs to catch the lead boat.   Two Cats radioed in a hook-up right before the “Lines Out”  call at 3:30pm. That fish turned out to be the release that would tie them at 7,500 points with the Viking 68.  Due to the tie in points, the timing of the releases ultimately decided the winner and tipped the scale to the Viking crew who landed their final fish to get them to 7,500 points at 3:03pm.  
Tournament staff utilized Reel Time Apps for scoring, which was linked to the official radio room computer scoring team and updated minute-by-minute allowing teams to follow the leader board throughout each fishing day. At tournament’s end the radio logs were matched against the boat’s catch logs and Reel Time Apps and then verified by video confirmation.

The top finishing boats were Viking 68 taking first, Two Cats in second with Sandman just 100 point behind in third but secured several Calcutta categories.   Truly a nail biting finish with some epic fishing. With Viking 68 also winning the Charity Calcutta which includes an entry fee to the 2019 Buc Cup, no doubt the Viking crew will be back next year trying for a repeat.  

The top angler trophy went to Tony Huerta on the Lo Que Sea in first.  Angler prize.
Sandra MacMillan on the Sandman taking second and the Top Female.
The Buccaneer Cup Tournament Cash award for the Most Points on Live Bait ($10,000) went to Sandman and the Most Points on Dead Bait ($10,000) went to Viking 68, which pocketed over $80,000 in total purse for their win. 
The  In The Bite Top Captain Trophy cup was awarded to Captain Ryan Higgins, who skippered the Viking 68 to victory.
The awards banquet was held at the Sailfish Club of Florida, emceed by Robert “Fly” Navarro.  Pat Healey, President of Viking Yachts and member of the RFA Board of Directors, presented Ellen Peel of The Billfish Foundation with a $5,000 check to aid the organization in its ongoing efforts to advance the science used for the management and assessment of billfish.
This event would not be possible without the generous  support of its  sponsors including MTU Diesel, Florida Detroit Diesel Allison, Johnson & Towers, Viking Yachts, HMY Yacht Sales, Yamaha Outboards, Jupiter Beach Spa & Resort, Contender Boats, American Custom Yachts, Interlux, Seakeeper, Garmin, Jarrett Bay Boatworks, Cummins Marine Power, American Venture Boats, Bahama Boats, Maxel Reels, Christi/Travelers Insurance, Atlantic Marine Electronics, American Fishing Wire/Hi-Seas, Tsunami, Release Marine, Viking Service Center, Reel Time Apps, Sailfish Marina, R&H Rods, Salt Life Optics and Outrigger Marine Products.
We look forward to seeing all our teams and more next year for the prestigious 56th Buccaneer Cup where we can make sportfishing history again.  
The full gallery of the Buc Cup Pictures can be viewed here!
Inquires for photo requests can be sent to Leonard Bryant at leonardbryant@hotmail.com