Central Florida’s 11th Annual Saltwater Classic – A Huge Success

By  //  May 1, 2012

Capt. Joe Palermo, Jeremy Williams, and Darren Fields with their hang for the day.

BREVARD COUNTY • PORT CANAVERAL, FLORIDA- Over the years the Saltwater Classic Tournament has become very popular throughout Central Florida, due to the “free” entry fee and heavy sponsorships. This 11th year was no exception.

Although the ocean becomes a “zoo” on this special day, I try and fish this tournament every year, either with a charter or just fun fishing.  This year I decided to take a few buddies to target specifically Amberjack and Kingfish.

Jeremy Williams with a 51lb Amberjack caught aboard the Sea Wrangler

Our first stop was a piece of bottom 50 miles northeast of Port Canaveral. As I pulled up, the screen blacked out with Amberjack and the hunt was on. We immediately kept our allowed one Snowy Grouper, and 2 nice Amberjack. After releasing 15 others, we were able to catch a 51 pounder to fulfill our 3 person limit. Although probably not a winner, I was satisfied to move on to our next plan, kingfish.

After running inshore to a wreck in 65ft, we loaded up with live Spanish Sardines, Blue Runners, and Cigar Minnows caught on Sabiki Rigs. During this time of year the big kingfish come to the shallow waters to spawn and are often caught very close to the beach or on structure just offshore, so we headed to some hard bottom in 45ft.

It did not take long to realize that this move would pay off. Immediately, the water came to life with Kingfish “skyrocketing” every bait presented to them. It was every man for himself with my three-man crew tripled up most of the 45 minutes that we fished. Although we did not catch any giants that would seal the deal of a payout, we did end up with several 20 pounders and a 32 pounder.

When it was all said and done, we were on the board in first place for Amberjack for about 20 minutes. In the last 15 minutes of the weigh-in there were 4 fish weighed that knocked us out of the running.

The end results were impressive for every category.

Chris Bucalo, Caitlyn Payne and Zak McCool with the money fish.

Chris Bucalo, owner of the 34ft Prescription, swept 1st and 2nd Kingfish with an impressive 53 and 45 pounder caught north of Port Canaveral while slow-trolling live baits. Although there were some impressive fish weighed, there were very few Kingfish caught throughout the contestants.

Fishing in 150ft of water, Dan Filalosky took 1st place Amberjack weighing in at 69.7 pounds as well as the $4,500 Calcutta for overall biggest fish. Capt. Scott Bussen of the Relentless came in 2nd with an Amberjack just short of Dan’s, weighing in at 69.4 pounds.

K92.3 Verizon Saltwater Classic Results


  1. 54.2 – Lookin’ Back – Jim Barwick
  2. 31.1 – Krispy – David Reither
  3. 27.0 – Tiburon – Benjamin O’Neal


  1. 58.1 – Good To Go – Scott Lippert
  2. 49.2 – Tiara – Matt McAdams
  3. 29.6 – Fish Taco – Brandon Riffle


  1. 53.5 – Prescription – Chris Bucalo
  2. 45.3 – Prescription – Caitlyn Payne
  3. 38.0 – Snake Eyes – Bill Bright


  1. 45.5 – Frayed Knot – Frank Martin
  2. 26.0 – Snake Eyes – Bill Bright
  3. 24.7 – Last Fast – Bob Miller


  1. 69.7- Out of Hand – Capt. Dan Filalcosky
  2. 69.4- Relentless – Capt. Scott Bussen
  3. 68.0- Sea Venture – Beau Sheridan