2017 Sailfish Smack Down 2nd Place!!!

Rob Rodriguez of South Florida Kayak Guide took 2nd place in the 2017 Sailfish Smack Down!

By Steve Waters February 21, 2017

​After catching the biggest dolphin in last year’s Extreme Kayak Fishing Sailfish Smack Down, Benny Scoca was sold on kayak fishing.
“I won a check and that just got me hooked,” said Scoca, of Sunrise, who had never fished a kayak tournament before.
He did even better this past Saturday and Sunday, catching and releasing a record four sailfish to win the tournament out of Pompano Beach and the Turbo USA $3,500 first prize.
Three of the fish ate live goggle-eyes and the other ate a live pilchard, which he got from tournament supplier Hillsboro Inlet Live Bait. The sails were caught on 20-pound spinning and conventional outfits.
Robinson Rodriguez was second with two releases and won $1,000 from Nautical Ventures. John McKroid Jr. won $500 for third place from Nautical Ventures with two releases.
Richard Chavis was fourth with one sailfish to win a free three-night stay and transportation to this year’s Battle in the Bahamas tournament. Mitchell Murphy was fifth and won sunglasses and Nick Weber was sixth and won a $100 AFTCO gift card. Andrew Imes caught a 24-pound kingfish to win the RAILBLAZA kingfish calcutta and $3,000.
Tournament director Joe Hector said a record 17 sailfish were released and another 22 were hooked and lost over the two-day tournament.
A licensed captain and freelance mate who does fishing charters and also competes in offshore tournaments, Scoca said that catching fish all the time from a boat got a little old and he lost his passion for the sport.
Fishing on a kayak is totally different. As he noted, you are the captain, mate, angler and gaff man on a kayak.
“You get in a kayak, you get that passion back,” Scoca said, adding that he has now fished in five kayak tournaments and finished in the money three times.
Scoca, 33, said a strong north current was an issue Saturday. Fishing in a Hobie kayak that he rented from Deep Blue Kayak Fishing Charters in Boynton Beach, Scoca hooked a sailfish in 140 feet off Pompano Pier where a lot of wrecks are located.
The fish dragged him out to 400 feet, where the current was 5 knots, and by the time he touched the leader to get the release, he had drifted almost to Deerfield Pier.
“It put up the toughest fight of the four fish I caught,” Scoca said.
That sailfish was the fourth and final one caught on Saturday and no one had more than one release. That meant that whichever of the four anglers caught the first fish Sunday would take the lead based on time.
“There were only four fish caught, so I was still pretty confident,” said Scoca, who added that the ocean was “glass flat” on Sunday. “I decided I wanted to go back to those same wrecks. I do charters on those wrecks.”
As soon as he got there, he hooked a sailfish and quickly released it to take the lead. He went back to the spot and immediately hooked a third fish and released it north of Hillsboro Inlet.
“At that point I knew I sealed the deal. My second fish would have won on time,” said Scoca, who needed 90 minutes to get south of the inlet.
He put a bait in the water, headed east and hooked his fourth sailfish in 90 feet. The three catches set a one-day tournament record.