The 11th annual Cajun Canyons Billfish Classic, presented by H & E Equipment Services, is now in the record books, after both glorious weather and fishing. With a fleet of 46 boats, ranging in <!–more–>length from 28′ to 95′, our participants fished for a total purse of $593,100.00, plus trophies and prizes. Our festivities started Tuesday evening, May 26 with our Dock Party, sponsored by our host facility, Cypress Cove Lodge & Marina. Everyone enjoyed the boiled shrimp and smoked pork and a good time was had by all. Wednesday, May 27, was our official Registration Day, Captains Meeting, and Kick Off Party-the Mustad bags were a hit. As usual, we were slammed with last minute arrivals of boats. Mike Ballay of Cypress Cove and the Butler brothers at Venice Marina did a wonderful job juggling both slips and fuel and bent over backwards to be accommodating-thanks guys! Acme Oyster House lived up to their reputation at our Kick Off Party, sponsored by LeBeouf Towing, with crayfish étouffée, oyster bar, gumbo, fried fish, boiled shrimp, and of course bread pudding. Thursday, May 28, started a little slow (result of too much fun Wednesday night maybe?). Optional entries closed at 1:00 pm with a total payout of $593,100.00 with 46 boats. Father Gerry Stapleton from St. Patrick’s Cathedral of Port Sulphur, Louisiana visited to continue our tradition of the Blessing of the Fleet. At 4:00 pm, boats departed for the river, the rip, rigs, Mississippi Canyon and Green Canyon in the Gulf of Mexico.
Friday, May 29, our phones started ringing early, with Share E, a 76′ Viking with Captain Kevin Frelich calling in our first release, a White Marlin with Sherry Polk as the angler – the bite was on. We had 23 Blue Marlin releases and 4 White Marlin releases on Friday. Ono Ocean, a 66′ Ocean with angler/owner Palmer Long, calling in a 103″ Blue Marlin on the deck and coming to the scale. It was Mr. Long’s 100th Blue Marlin caught in the Gulf of Mexico, tipping the scales at 387.3 lbs at 5:30 pm. At 5:36 pm, owner Toby Berthelot of the 52′ Viking Rising Sons called in a 105″ fish, caught by Dr. Chris Cenac, in his cockpit, but was too far out in Green Canyon to make the scales before closing at 8:00 pm. Rising Sons had already released 2 Blue Marlin earlier on Friday. At 6:45 pm, Captain/Angler Kevin Beach, fishing his 37′ Freeman, Pale Horse, with triple Yamaha 350 hp outboards, calls from Moxy, “What time do the scales close?”. He made it in in an hour and two minutes to weigh in 3 Dolphin. Relentless Pursuit, a 95′ Jim Smith, with Captain Robbie Doggett and owner Dennis Pasentine, had called in three Blue Marlin releases on Friday, along with Chasin Tail, a 68′ Weaver, with Captain Clayt James and owner John Engquist, calling in three Blue Marlin releases. Born2Run, a 63′ Hatteras GT, with Captain Myles Colley and owner/angler Dana Foster also had two Blue Marlin releases.
Saturday, May 30, was a bit slower but not by much, with only 5 Blue Marlin releases. First, Born2Run called in their third Blue Marlin release, then, Pipe Dream, a 55′ Viking, with owner Randy Pipes called in a 104″ blue marlin in his cockpit. Not long after, Chasin Tail called in a 103″ Blue Marlin in their cockpit, then Relentless Pursuit followed with a 106″ blue marlin in their cockpit, all coming to the scales, along with Rising Sons 105″ Blue Marlin – it was going to be close! Acme Oyster House again outdid themselves at our Saturday night party, sponsored by Florida MarineTransporters, serving raw oysters, cajun jambalaya, Lima bean, Tasso, and shrimp soup, cajun jambalaya, fried fish, Natchitoches meat pies, and all the trimmings.
Relentless Pursuit, with angler Dale Artigue took first place Blue Marlin, weighing in at 508.1 lbs, paying them $97,875.00. Second place Blue Marlin went to angler Ransom Pipes, fishing with his dad, Randy Pipes, on their Pipe Dream, weighing in at 454.7 lbs, paying them $11,475.00. Third place Blue Marlin went to Dr. Chris Cenac on the Rising Sons, weighing in at 421 lbs, paying them $17,820.00.
Our Release division, sponsored by the good people at Release Marine, was won by Relentless Pursuit, with four Blue Marlin releases, all caught by Dale Artigue (total of five Blue Marlin for the tournament), won $83,250.00. Second place Release went to Chasin Tail, based on time, with three Blue Marlin releases, won $49,950.00. Our third place Release winner was Born2Run, with three Blue Marlin releases, won $33,300.00. All winners received gorgeous, custom teak-inlay Release Marine step boxes. As a result of Relentless Pursuit taking both 1st Place Blue Marlin and 1st Place Release, they jumped to 1st Place in The Gulf Coast Triple Crown Championship Series.
Our Wahoo division was won by Taylor Harvey, fishing with her dad Bob Harvey, on the 65′ Hatteras, Four Reel, with Captain Mike Gordy; her 1st place Wahoo weighed 71.5 lbs and paid them $5,400.00. Second place wahoo, was Tommy Bozeman, fishing with owner/Captain Brian Barnhill on his 50′ Post, High Risk; 2nd place weighed in at 53.8 lbs and paid them $7,290.00. Our third place wahoo was caught by Richard Alexander fishing on owner/Captain Johnny Dorland’s 60′ Hatteras, Cotton Patch; it weighed in at 52.5 lbs and paid them $2,430.00.
Our Tuna division was won by Shawn Thomas, fishing with Captain Mike Hester on the 65′ Hatteras, Tico Time; his winning yellowfin tuna weighed 127.6 lbs and paid them $20,250.00. Second place tuna, was owner/angler Bruce Ross on his 54′ Viking, Dorado, with Captain Rodney DeVillier, weighing in at 118.5 lbs, paying them $18,000.00. Our third place tuna was caught by owner/angler Chace Nelson, fishing on his 33′ Freeman, Freeplay, powered by Yamaha, weighing in at 111 lbs, paying him $29,250.00.
Our Dolphin division was won by Nate Dennis, fishing with owner Rocky Jones and Captain Scooter Porto on the 56′ Viking, Reel Addiction, weighing in at 42.2 lbs, paying them $8,550.00. Second place dolphin was angler/Captain/Owner Kevin Beach, fishing on his 37′ Freeman, Pale Horse, weighing a 37.1 lb dolphin. Third place Dolphin went to angler Jody Miller, fishing with Captain Hunter Forbes and owner Sean Ely on the 56′ Viking, Pour Intentions, weighing in at 34.2 lbs.
Our Top Female Angler Trophy, sponsored by The Roosevelt Hotel-New Orleans went to Laurie Jones, with one Blue Marlin release and a 22.7 lb Dolphin, fishing on Rocky Jones 56′ Viking, Reel Addiction. She was awarded a weekend stay at the historic Roosevelt Hotel, along with dinner at The Blue Room.
Our Top Youth Angler Trophy, in memory of Jim Peachey, was awarded to Gage Herberger, releasing his first billfish, a White Marlin, fishing with Jay Lauricella, on the 40′ Cabo, Duke.
Our Top Billfish Boat Trophy, the C.R. Bob Potter Memorial Trophy was awarded to Relentless Pursuit, with 2,508 points. As our Top Billfish Boat, they now have an invitation to fish the Offshore World Championship in 2016. Relentless Pursuit was also our Top Money Winning Boat at $229,545.00, plus a $4,500.00 refund in the $5,000.00 wahoo category. Their total check, $234,045.00.
During our tournament, we hosted a silent auction to benefit The Billfish Foundation and were able to raise $7,000.00 for them to carry on their good work, especially in the Gulf of Mexico. Thanks to Professional Sports Shop, Captain Kevin Beach, and everyone that donated and purchased items, it will be money well spent by The Billfish Foundation!
We would like to thank our loyal sponsors, old and new participants, the staff of both Cypress Cove Marina & Lodge and Venice Marina along with our tournament staff a wonderful week in southern Plaquemines Parish! See you in Venice next year or trolling the rip.