By Christine Patton
Best Ever Day On the Carma
The Florida Sailfish Cup tournament is a contest that runs from December thru May — each boat picks the 4 days that they will fish, and reports the 3 best days’ results — and with 75 days of fishing left to go, it’s too soon to tell who will win. But Carmen Sferrazza’s boat “Carma” picked the right day for their first posting, and are in second place after a remarkably stellar day.
Captain Tucker Ersek of the Carma is a native son of the Keys, fishing since he was 8 years old and even though he is only 24 years old now, he has an affinity for the job that is uncanny. He studies the conditions constantly to determine when and where to go. Sailfish are attracted to a specific combination of wind and currents, reportedly just before a cold front. He looks for the green water that Biscayne Bay dumps onto the edge of the reef. When this nutrient-rich water hits the north current of the Gulf Stream, it creates a natural boundary that holds baitfish and attracts sailfish, and when Tucker’s study of currents, winds and temperature conditions indicate it’s the right time to go, he makes the call. You may get notice at 8 o’clock at night, but you cancel whatever was on the schedule for tomorrow and you go out. In this case, it was a team of three dedicated anglers — Carmen, his wife Angela Basciano and Jodi Zifferer, a frequent co-conspirator, who were on deck.
They set out early and pushed south, and it was a good day right from the start. By 9 a.m., they had released 8 sails, and it continued like that all day. Working the greenish against the purple water, going down past Islamorada in seas of 2-3 feet, they handled double and triple hook ups.
They fished until the last hour, going through all their equipment and bait. Down to chewed up leaders on kite rods, they came home in the dark, in shock at the final count. They even ran out of sailfish release flags. Carmen says it was his best ever day, in 8 years of fishing regularly: boated 21, out of 30 shots.
At the end of the day, what was their celebration? A round of high fives, and then time to clean the boat…