The 20th anniversary of the Custom Shootout held May 12-15 at the Abaco Beach Resort and Boat Harbour assembled an exclusive fleet of 51 custom sportfish yachts – the finest found anywhere in the world. Competing teams represented 17 builders in an all-release format awarding 600 points for blue marlin, 150 points for white marlin, 100 points for sailfish, and 300 points for a single-day grand slam.
The weather in the Bahamas was outstanding for the first day of fishing, with Jarrett Bay’s hull #61 Jichi the first to strike with a white marlin release just six minutes after lines in. Capt. Jerry Owens and crew aboard the 60-foot B&D Turn It Blue released the tournament’s first blue marlin at 8:47 a.m. and kept the momentum going with a second blue marlin before noon and afternoon sailfish release to close out their 1,300-point day worth $55,930.
On day two heavy rains gave way to a constant drizzle and cloudy skies that lingered throughout the day. Despite the conditions, two-time InTheBite Captain of the Year Russell Sinclair aboard the 77-foot Bayliss Wave Paver was able to put together a memorable day for owner Jr. Davis. No stranger to the winner’s circle, Davis released a personal slam and bonus white marlin, with angler Doug Southworth adding an additional white release. Wave Paver’s daily efforts totaled 1,150 points with an additional 300 points awarded for the slam. Marlin Darlin released two whites and a blue for a 900-point day.
Day three dawned sunny skies and a leaderboard that was anyone’s for the taking. Wave Paver was unable to keep their momentum going, although a single sailfish release was enough for the team to secure a third-place finish overall earning $67,150. Marlin Darlin was back on the board in a big way, catching a slam by 1:15 p.m. giving them a total of 2,200 points for the first-place overall finish worth $192,630. With a single blue marlin caught on day one and two blues day three, the 85-foot Ricky Scarborough El Cazador with Capt. Paul Alderman at the helm jumped to second place overall worth $189,550.
Thank you to Skip Smith for another great event, and all the teams, boat builders, sponsors and everyone at the Abaco Beach Resort and Boat Harbour that made this a victory for the much-needed rebuilding of the Abacos. Enjoy our photo gallery from around the docks and on the water, and good luck to everyone competing in the Walker’s Cay Invitational.