KEY WEST, Fla. Lights Out moved to the top of the 76-team field Thursday during the second day of fishing at the World Sailfish Championship off the Florida Keys.
Led by Captain Chester Sims of Key Largo, Fla., the Lights Out team released seven fish Thursday, adding to Wednesday's 14 releases for a total of 21 and eclipsing first-day leader Barefoot based on time of release.
"We're getting closer and closer," Sims said. "We had a slow start and then a flurry of bites for a couple of hours, and took advantage it."
Lights Out teammates include owner Bill Haugland of New York; Guy Moseley of Key Largo, Randy Weichbrodt of Long Island, N.Y., and Richie Kornahrens of Long Island.
According to Sims, plans call for resting and making some small repairs to the boat Friday, the tournament's weather day, before the final fishing day Saturday.
"We're going to take a look Saturday morning and try to find some clean water and some easterly current, and go fishing," Sims said.
Team Barefoot, guided by Captain Kris McKenney of Fort Lauderdale, tied Lights Out's 21-fish two-day total, but ended Thursday in second place after releasing Thursday's final catch nearly two hours after Lights Out's final release.
"We released five fish in the morning, but the bite was really slow in the afternoon, at least for us," said McKenney.
The Barefoot contingent scored six fish Thursday and 15 Wednesday. The team consists of boat owners Jim and Eve Sullivan of Fort Lauderdale; anglers Chad Moss, Justin Lord and Carl Patrignina and mate Jeff Izanec of Fort Lauderdale; and anglers Dan Walsh of Cooper City, Fla., and Eddie Moss of Pompano Beach, Fla.
The Advanced Roofing team surged into third place in the standings Thursday after ending Wednesday in seventh. Guided by Captain Jeff Scott of Pompano Beach, Advanced Roofing scored nine releases Thursday, adding to Wednesday's 10 for a total of 19 releases.
Tournament director Mike Weinhofer tallied 142 sailfish releases Thursday and revised Wednesday's release count down five to 265 for a two-day total of 407. Wednesday's release tally was still the largest ever for the contest since it began in 2003.
For more information, go to Worldsailfish.com.