21 sailfish equal $260,770 prize purse

Team Sandman skippered by Capt. John Dudas of Miami released 21 sailfish to take top honors in the Final Sail tournament that ended April 17 in Key West.

Tournament officials said Dudas' team amassed $260,770 in prize money out of a total tournament purse of about $800,000.

The South Florida team consisted of boat owner Sandra MacMillan of Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach anglers Robbie Waddick and Corey Ryan, Jeff Liederman of Key Biscayne and Miamians Alex Castellanos, Robbie Ramirez and Dommie Adames.

"Everybody worked very well together and it was a total team effort," said Dudas, who reported that the group released 12 sails on the tournament's first fishing day, five on the second and four on the final day.

Dudas said the team scouted the area before the tournament and fished primarily off Sand Key Light, away from many of the other boats.

"We caught fish on free jumpers and we also caught them kitefishing," Dudas said.

Capt. Luis Coll of Fort Lauderdale led his team on the Utopia to second place with 18 releases. Team member Shane O'Connor scored six of them to earn the top male angler trophy.

In third place with 14 fish was 4 Aces captained by Joe Turner.

The tournament was the grand finale of the Quest for the Crest Sailfish Series that consisted of four South Florida tournaments. Team Utopia was named overall series winner, tallying 89 releases during the competition for elite billfishing teams.

A field of 36 boats fished the Final Sail, with anglers releasing nearly 300 sailfish during the three-day contest.