It’s no secret that sailfish populations are on the rise. Thanks in part to the requirement of circle-hooks in tournaments, as well as the industry wide penchant to promote catch and release, during prime seasonal migrations South Florida sailfishing rivals that of any exotic destination around the world. All season long anglers were experiencing amazing action as the result of conservation methods put into place. Acrobatic sailfish were delighting competitive crews and tournament directors along the entire coast. The highlight of the season was Reely Tight posting 58 releases in a single day. That is until the K-Rock Klassic came to town this past March.
In its 5th year, the K-Rock Klassic commemorates the life of Captain Kevin Llorente. Kevin tragically lost his life in 2006 and his positive outlook and passion for the ocean was contagious to everyone he touched. Through the efforts and participation of this memorial billfish tournament, Kevin’s legacy lives on.
Unbeknownst to them they were in for a real treat with quite possibly one of the greatest days in South Florida sailfishing history.
Conditions for this prestigious event were some of the best ever seen off South Florida’s fertile coastline. Kevin must have been looking down on the fleet because teams were in for a real treat. No one thought the conditions would lead to an all out slugfest for the field of 15 of the most professional sailfish teams in the country, but that’s exactly what it turned out to be.
This two-day test of skill is an all-release billfish tournament with IGFA rules applying when hooking, fighting and releasing all billfish. Leaders are to be a maximum of 15 feet and a 20 lb. maximum rating for mainline is required. Tournament approved non-offset circle-hooks are also required, with teams allowed to have a maximum of six lines in the water at any given time.
After checking out of Dinner Key on Friday morning, the fleet went racing to the grounds for what they were expecting to be a great day on the water. Unbeknownst to them they were in for a real treat with quite possibly one of the greatest days in South Florida sailfishing history. The bite was on and never slowed, with releases pouring in over the radio all day long. When the call came for lines out of the water at 4:00 Get Lit was leading the way, taking the daily calcutta with an incredible 29 releases, which included an estimated 100-pound blue marlin. The rest of the fleet didn’t fare too bad either, with the top five boats putting up an astounding 129 releases combined!
Saturday offered more unbelievable action, with Wound Up releasing 25 sailfish for Saturday’s daily calcutta. While most crews would consider Get Lit’s 29 releases a once-in-a-lifetime catch, on Saturday they had another banner day hoisting 21 release flags. Talk about a great two days on the water. When it was all said and done the field of 15 boats released a total of 446 fish! With a 29 fish per boat average, competitors helped propel the K-Rock Klassic to a new tournament record.
Topping the event for the second consecutive year and third time overall was Coral Gables’ own Get Lit with 50 sailfish and one blue marlin. Get Lit was awarded $37,902 for their efforts. Captain Quinton Dieterle commented, “This is a great win for us. We’re off to a hot start and look to continue our success throughout the season.”
Captain Dieterle couldn’t be more on point, as this was their third tournament win of the 2011 season. With 29 releases in the Mayor’s Cup, 37 releases in the Silver Sailfish Derby and 51 releases in the K-Rock, the sailfish fanatics on Get Lit are clearly doing something seriously right.
Taking second place with 50 releases was Wound Up, led by Captain John Dudas. Rounding out the top three was Jichi, captained by Scott Leon with 48 releases. While 2nd and 3rd Place are no doubt respectable in such a tough competitive environment, both of these totals would certainly take top honors on any other day of the year. The top three boats caught an unbelievable 149 fish over two days. Many tournaments don’t reach this number of fish over the course of the entire event, which makes the total number of fish for this event stand out even more. The top junior angler was James David on Jichi with four releases and the top female angler was Janene Claus on Qualifier with 11 releases.
The K-Rock Klassic was inaugurated in 2006, when sadly, the tournament’s namesake Captain Kevin Llorente lost his life. One of South Florida’s best known and most well respected captains, Kevin prided himself in the profession and truly enjoyed helping others along the way. His positive outlook and passion for the sport were contagious and Kevin taught everybody the difference between making a living and making a life, to make the most out of everything, and to truly live each day as if it were the last. By participating in this event, we can all continue to make a difference, as he did. For complete results and info on how to participate in the 2012 event, visit krockklassic.com.
The K-Rock Klassic is the brainchild of many people who Kevin touched during his life. What better way to honor his legacy than to host a tournament for the sport he loved. In addition to his love for sport fishing, Kevin was well known for helping those in need. Therefore, proceeds from the K-Rock Klassic benefit The Kiwanis Club of Little Havana and The Kiwanis of Little Havana Foundation. Through the foundation, Miami-Dade County’s youths will lead the way to a brighter future.