It’s that time of year again. Football season has started. The tournament season is winding down for some, getting ready to ramp up for others. As the Gulf Coast transitions from live baiting every weekend to watching the SEC on Saturdays, we have the chance to look more closely at the Gulf Coast Captain of the Year Division race. It came down to the wire and was determined by the last event of the year.
Congratulations to the 2016 Champion– Captain Devin Potts of the Sea Mixer. Potts scored 1100 points on the year to earn victory in one of the most tightly contested races in the Captain of the Year Cup’s history. Potts’ 1,100 points came from first place in the Mobile Big Game Fishing Club’s Memorial Day Tournament (500), first place in the Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic (500), and third place in the White Marlin Shootout (100). How close was the race?
There were six captains within 300 points of the top spot. Captains finishing with 1,000 points include Jeff Shoults of the Mollie, Jimmy Crochet of the Conundrum, and Joey Birbeck aboard the You Never Know! Captains Logan Lovett of the Lisa Jo and Born2Run’s Miles Colley finished the season with 900 points. Jason Hallmark on the RiseUp finished with 800 points.
Just how close was the race? Going into the last tournament of the year—the White Marlin Shootout—three captains were tied atop the leader board. Devin Potts took third place in the Catch and Release Division, earning the 100 points that spurred him to victory. Captain Joey Birbeck, also with 1000 points heading into the tournament—missed the 500 points awarded for the heaviest marlin (and the Gulf Division title) by only 12 pounds.
For more perspective on the race, consider this: Captain Jason Hallmark finished 300 points back. Were he not to have had engine trouble—and gotten to the dock 2 minutes earlier in the OBBC, the 771.2-pound brute that he boated would have won the tournament and provided the points he needed for victory in the Gulf Division.
The story lines go on and on…