Texas Triple Crown Billfish Series, Port Aransas, Texas—In its inaugural year, 52 teams participated in the newly created Texas Triple Crown Billfish Series. Team Smooth Move out of Port Aransas, Texas, took the title of Texas Grand Champion this summer.
A perpetual trophy was awarded to Smooth Move boat Captain Brian Phillips; mates Matt Reed and Gerardo Guadamuz Sunday, August 9, 2020 at Fisherman’s Wharf in Port Aransas. The trophy features a beautiful blue marlin sculpted by world-renowned artist, Kent Ullberg.
The Smooth Move 59’ Spencer is owned by Porter Trimble. Captain Phillips shares credit with his team for the win, “Well, to me, it’s all about the crew. If you don’t have the right people in the cockpit, it ain’t happening.”
Captain Phillips says his team caught everything that bit. But the win, he said came down to one bite, one fish—a white marlin. “If we hadn’t caught that one fish, we wouldn’t have won. It all came down to that one fish. That fish put us over the top.”
Three Texas Gulf Coast billfish tournaments comprise the series. The tournaments include The Lone Star Shootout, Port O’Connor, TX; Texas International Fishing Tournament (T.I.F.T.), South Padre Island/Port Isabel, TX; and the Texas Legends Billfish Tournament, Port Aransas, TX. (Billfish include blue marlin, white marlin, and sailfish.)
The accumulation of points from each tournament’s top 10 billfish boats or teams determined the Grand Champion team boat, captain, and first mate, plus 2nd and 3rd place winners. This year’s 2nd place team is Draggin’ Up. Captain Kevin Deerman lead the 74’ Viking owned by Chris Heule. Third place was awarded to team Walk West with Captain Raleigh Morrison and owner Riley Rhodes, on a 55’ Viking.
Points were compiled from the Lone Star Shootout, hosted by the Houston Big Game & Fishing Club, and the Texas Legends Billfish Tournament. The 81st T.I.F.T. was postponed in 2020 until the first weekend in August 2021.
Inspired by the East Gulf Coast Series, which includes Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida Gulf Coasts and ends in mid-July, the Texas Triple Crown provides more interest and incentive for billfish anglers to participate in the three Texas tournaments. The first tournament in the series, The Lone Star Shootout, begins after the East Gulf Coast Series ends. “We are extremely pleased with the turnout for the Texas Triple Crown Billfish Series,” shares T.I.F.T. Executive Board Member, Matt Kauffman. “With 52 teams participating and competing this summer, we are really looking forward to Summer 2021.”