SFC Gulf Division Takes Shape as the Atlantic Division Gears Up for the Northeast Atlantic Swing

Standing on the docks at for “The Catch” at Pier Sixty-Six prior to the 2024 SFC Billfish Championship Season, there were a number of questions that seemed to be on the minds of every SFC fan heading into the April exhibition event.

Can Rising Sons compete for a Championship, or are they a vanity for the league led by a celebrity superstar angler? Can Capt. Blake Bridges – the off season’s biggest name to change teams – emerge from the shadows of his Gulf peers and compete week in, and week out? Who will emerge as the lead horses in a fragmented Atlantic Division schedule?

As the league enters July, many of those questions have been addressed as the Atlantic Division prepares for, what after three years has now become, the “Northeast Atlantic Swing.”

Rising Sons sits atop the Gulf Division after two stops, and an impressive Week 1 victory at the Hurricane Hole Louisiana Open. A win that silenced critics, followed by a big outing at the Bay Point Billfish Open that has seemingly cemented an invitation to the Zane Grey Championship Playoffs.

Jaselyn, Toby, “Cricket,” and the Rising Sons team have now shifted their focus to achieving their first Division Championship and a first-round bye in the Playoff.

Capt. Blake Bridges has led Team Lifeline to their strongest season, finishing in 3rd place (T-3) in Grand Isle, followed by a 11th place (T-11) finish in Panama City Beach. Lifeline has remained one of the most competitive teams in the Gulf of Mexico this season, with impressive outings in Miramar Beach and Biloxi – an event where the team released five blue marlin in one day.

And while the Zane Grey Championship Playoff Committee is tasked with determining the 12-team field using criteria that accounts for the team’s performance in SFC-sanctioned competitions, it’s hard to imagine that Lifeline is anything less than a “bubble team” with two stops remaining in the Gulf Division.

In the next three weeks, the answer to that final question will be determined – Who will emerge as the lead horses in a fragmented Atlantic Division schedule?

 Here is what we know.

Sea Base “captured the flag” and notched a victory at the Walker’s Cay Open. As the winners of the season’s first “win and you’re in” event, Sea Base has punched their ticket to the 12-team playoff.

The winner of the catch-and-release division at the Oak Bluffs Bluewater Classic, July 9-13, will also clinch their spot in the Playoff. 57 boats have already registered for Cape Cod’s grandest offshore competition.

Capt. Rob Carmichael and team Lights Out are the favorites heading into the Northeast Atlantic Swing. Lights Out knows the canyons off Massachusetts as well as any team in the field, and they’re confirmed to qualify for the Playoff after registering for OBBC and the Tri States Canyons Shootout.

A “dark horse” in the Atlantic Division could be Capt. John Eren and team Shakedown, who are planning on competing in all three events between the Cape, Montauk and Block Island. Shakedown is a 40’ Cabo tournament boat out of Niantic, Connecticut, and by competing in all three Qualifying Events, they will give the Playoff Committee plenty to look at as they build their resume in July.

With back-to-back-to-back mega tournaments in the Atlantic Division in July, it’s difficult to imagine a scenario that doesn’t include five to 10 new teams entering the race and jockeying for one of the league’s 12 coveted playoff invitations.

Gulf Division powerhouses Team Supreme and Southern Charm / All In still need to compete in one more Qualifying Event to become eligible for the Playoff. SFC Insider reports that Southern Charm All In plans to qualify for the playoff at the Hurricane Hole Invitational.

As the SFC Season enters July, SFC Insider’s first Playoff Prediction illustrates what could be an incredible field for the debut of the Zane Grey Championship Playoffs in October:

The 12-team Zane Grey Championship Playoffs will be a “tournament inside of a tournament,” hosted alongside the Zane Grey Championship Invitational in Cabo San Lucas, October 19-21. ZGC Invitational registration is available online at, and the field will be limited to 30 of the league’s top teams – including the 12 teams selected to participate based on their 2024 SFC Season resume.

For more coverage of Sport Fishing Championship’s events, including the upcoming Northeast Atlantic Swing, fans are encouraged to follow live coverage of the qualifying events at and across all SFC official social media handles, including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and TikTok.

Media Contacts:
Courtney Hueston
Director of Marketing

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