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Sport Fishing Championship kicks off Atlantic division in St. Augustine

by Sport Fishing Championship 12 May 2023 00:19 UTC
Sport Fishing Championship (SFC) © Sport Fishing Championship

Sport Fishing Championship (SFC), the governing body of saltwater tournament fishing, announced today the beginning of the Salt Life Bluewater Tournament, set to start on May 11 in St. Augustine, Florida and be broadcasted on CBS Sports Network. This tournament kicks off the SFC Atlantic Division for the 2023 season.

This is the tournament's 51st iteration, but its first since its name changed from the Northeast Florida Marlin Association Bluewater Tournament due to partnership with Salt Life. The tournament carries forward this year with over half a century of tradition, dedicated competitors and an unparalleled fishery.

The tournament, hosted by the Northeast Florida Marlin Association, has its base at the Camachee Cove Yacht Harbor. Boats depart offshore in the early hours each day from Thursday, May 11 to Saturday, May 13, with lines out set for 4 p.m. each day. Awards will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Fans can tune in to catch all the action on CBS Sports Network from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Thursday, 3 to 5 p.m. on Friday, and 4 to 6 p.m. on Saturday. Coverage is also available on YouTube from 3 to 4 p.m. on Thursday, 2 to 3 p.m. on Friday, and 3 to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Additionally, the Salt Life Watch Party will be held on Saturday at the Salt Life Food Shack of St. Augustine from 3 to 5 p.m.

Last year's Bluewater Tournament presented competitors with serious challenges, including inclement weather, but did not deter Team Half-a-Buc from achieving back-to-back-to-back blue marlin releases with just three hours remaining on the final day. They earned their third straight win, making them "three-peat" champions, and celebrated by leaping off the back of the boat as the clock expired. This year, they're aiming to defend their repeat titles and claim the top spot yet again.

"We're very excited to have Salt Life be a part of this historic tournament," said Mark Neifeld, CEO and commissioner of SFC. "We're also looking forward to this event and keeping a close eye on Team Half-a-Buc as they look to turn their three-peat into a four-peat."

"We're thrilled to partner with the Sport Fishing Championship for the second year in a row by having our longest-standing and coveted tournament as a part of their series," said Scott Stanley, Tournament Director. "We're excited to having some new boats join us this year, and we're watching very closely to see if our repeat champions can defend their titles."

SFC tournament points accrue based on a team's placement in the final tournament standings, with the first-place team earning 3,500 points, the second-place team 3,000 points, and so forth. Placements in the tournament standings are determined from tournament-only points based on species of fish caught and released, with the highest consideration given to blue marlin, then white marlin and spearfish, and finally sailfish and swordfish.

The season schedule next brings anglers to Orange Beach, Alabama, for the Gulf Coast Masters Tournament from May 25 to May 28. Events thereafter include: the Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic in Biloxi, Mississippi, June 8-11; the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic in Sandestin, Florida, June 22-25; the South Jersey Yacht Sales Offshore Showdown in Cape May, New Jersey, July 6-8; the Oak Bluffs Bluewater Classic in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, July 12-15; the Tri-State Canyon Shootout in Block Island, Rhode Island, July 24-27; the Texas International Fishing Tournament in South Padre Island, Texas, August 4-6; and conclude with the San Juan International Billfish Tournament in San Juan, Puerto Rico, August 23-25.

To learn more about the Sport Fishing Championship Season, visit www.sportfishingchampionship.com.

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