This past weekend marked the kick-off of the 2021 South Florida sailfish season with the Dust’Em Off Sailfish Warmup kicking off their 8th year. Release Boatworks is a proud sponsor of this tournament not only to support the South Florida sailfishing community, but also because the tournament fundraises for a great cause. Dust’Em Off supports the Mahogany Youth Corporation, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering youth through fishing and marine biology education.
Tournament founder, Captain Ben Sharpe, is a product of Mahogany Youth and knows first hand how important having healthy mentors & self esteem building organizations are especially for underprivileged youth – he joined at age 14 and is has grown in his career as a successful Captain. It is a Miami based local grass-roots organization. The tournament is pleased to have raised $10,000 for Mahogany Youth the past two years and hope to continue providing support for this beloved community organization for tournaments to come.
A much-anticipated tournament known for its focus more on the experience of fishing with your crew, family, and friends, Dust’Em Off started off as “bar talk” between friends of Captain Ben Sharpe while venting about frustrations of formality and unreasonable entry prices amongst the tournament scene. This year, 56 boats competed for the prized champion belts and a total prize payout of $130,290, which is outstanding considering the low entry fee of $500 with the early bird special.
While Sharpe is still involved, trusted friend Courtney Bowden has now taken the helm as tournament director and does an incredible job keeping the tradition alive.
This is a pure sailfish tournament, and video validation is conveniently run through a tournament phone app instead of through SD cards.
Due to the popularity of this tournament, the Dust’Em Off committee also announced the start of the SPRING “Put’em Up” Tournament March 16-20, 2022 (Same format, one day of fishing, only boundary is Floridas South Atlantic Coast). Early Registration will open Feb. 1.
Here are the results for the 2021 Dust’Em Off Sailfish Warmup:
Out of 56 boats, 97 sailfish were released, 33 boats submitted releases for a total of 97 sailfish, making the boat average around 1.8.
Overall (also Pro-Division Standings)
- Weez in the Keys – 7 releases
- Hardway – 6 releases
- Irish Twin – 6 releases
- Off Course – 5 releases
- Team High-5 – 4 releases
- Profishent Junior’s – 4 releases
There were not have enough qualifying participants in order to host the charter division, unfortunately.
Top Angler – Scott Robins of “Weez in the Keys” – 5 releases
Top Lady Angler – Janette Aboujaoude of “Team High-5” – 2 releases
Top Junior Angler – Aiden Martinez of “Profishent Junior’s” – 2 releases
For more information, go here: https://www.dustemoffsailfish.com/
Thank you to tournament director Courtney Bowden, Captain Ben Sharpe, and everyone else who helped host this great tournament!
Written by: Lacey Hagler