When it came to billfish releases during the 2020 Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic, the Born2Run team was on fire. The crew received the top release score for 10 blue marlin releases worth 6,000 points. There were a total of 107 billfish releases during the two-and-a-half-day tournament with more than 50 boats entered.
The team that was out on the water those three days has been together for about six years or so. This included Born2Run owners, Dana and Lisa Foster, as well as Capt. Myles Colley, Mate Tyler Maxwell, Mate Robert Bonifay, Mate Doug Franklin, Mate Alex Pinney and Mate Brian “Beaver” Paul.
And the 10 releases have been on the Born2Run’s horizon for some time. Already veterans of the MGCBC, the team has had several notable release numbers, as well as kill division placements in the past, according to Colley, who adds that, as a whole, they’ve seemed to do well when it comes to catch and release, with it maybe even being their strong suite when compared to just catching larger fish.
According to Colley, the majority of the time the crew is going after marlin, which means going for the rigs—in this tournament that ended up being about four or five in a roughly 20-mile area—in addition to live baits (something Colley noticed most other boats in the tournament were using as well), and this tournament was no different with blackfin tuna and skipjack tuna being used.
“We get a lot of practice doing that,” Colley says in reference to marlin fishing. “So everybody’s dialed in and we catch them quick and get them back out quick. It helps that everyone’s on the same page and knows their roles, knows what to do…it definitely helps having the same experienced crew for several years.”
For everyone on the Born2Run, a 72′ Viking based out of Pensacola, Florida that has fished in the MGCBC for years, the day started out with a roughly 100-mile run with lines in at 2 p.m. Once they reached a favorable spot they started marking a fish and at 2:08 p.m., the crew had their first fish hooked up. With the first release of the day the team went for another resulting in two releases for Thursday.
“We saw a few other boats catching fish and knew it’d take quite a few to win the tournament,” Capt. Myles Colley said. “We started talking about it and decided that night to stay in that same area.”
The decision would be a smart move as Friday saw four releases for Born2Run. One catch ended up being a fish with a tag, a first for the team. After recovering the tag it was back to business as usual and four billfish were totaled by the end of Friday.
On the final day, the stakes were high as the numbers came in.
“We were listening on the radio and listening to everyone talking and knew that some boats had six or seven fish,” Colley says. “And at the time we were feeling pretty good, we had about eight at the time and were trying to get to ten.”
As the clock ticked down and the release numbers jumped from eight and then to nine, their tenth fish was on the line only to come off. About five minutes to lines out, just when they were about to run out of time and with a couple of baits left, a blue was on the line and they released their tenth billfish of the tournament.
“We were all pretty excited about that,” Colley says. “It was pretty special; ten’s a number you don’t really see in the Gulf very often.”
In total, Robert and Doug ended up catching a marlin each while Dana reeled in the eight others.
But despite the notable win, the fishing keeps going. The next stop for the Born2Run team is the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic. But Colley does offer up advice for any newcomers, or anyone who just wants to add some flags to their boat, for the next tournament:
“Trust what you see and stay there and hang out; if the conditions look good, stick to what you know.”
Do you have any comments or questions for us? We’d love to hear from you.