KEY WEST, Fla., April 17, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Team Sandman finished Saturday releasing 6 sailfish, jumping from second place to win the 9th annual 2011 World Sailfish Championship. Captain Neil Orange and his crew released 17 for the tournament, outdistancing Team Lights Out by three fish. Team Sea Hunter/Conched Out made a late move to finish third with 12 releases.
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But the day belonged to Sandman, the 63-foot Spencer owned by Sandra MacMillan.
"It means a lot to us," MacMillan said. "We've had a really good year. But to win the World Sailfish Championship with kite baits is amazing."
The win means Orange, MacMillan and the rest of the crew will take home the lion's share of the $1 million purse. In all, 71 teams released 335 sailfish during the three-day tournament.
"2011 was our best event ever, as we topped the $2 million mark in charitable donations," said Chris King, Tournament Chairman. "When you have this level of competition, combined with the all the benefits for these amazing charities, it makes for a world class event."
Saturday started out quickly as five fish were hooked and released in the first 10 minutes. Sandman got in on the action at 8:14 a.m., releasing the eighth fish of the day, and tying Lights Out for the overall lead. Capt. Chester Sims and Team Lights Out jumped back out front at 9:28 a.m. MacMillan then released the first of her three releases at 9:49 a.m. and Sandman padded its lead the rest of the day.
Team Lights Out managed only two fish on the final day, but was enough to guarantee them second place for the second consecutive year.
Team Sea Hunter/Conched Out released two in the final 35 minutes for third place after not missing a fish the entire tournament, finishing 12-for-12.
For Team Sandman, the difference may have been fishing on Friday's off day. Orange said the team fished until about 5:30 or 6 p.m. and, more than anything, was able to rule that area out as a possible spot to begin Saturday.
It turned out that may have been the most important decision of the entire week.
"This is the biggest tournament of them all," Orange said. "What a great one to win. This is our fifth year fishing this tournament and we finally got it."
SOURCE World Sailfish Media Department