CURRENT STANDINGS: As of 2:15pm on Friday, August 17 (Day 4 Fishing) –
64′ Jarret Bay Builder’s Choice weighed in a 911 lb Blue Marlin on Day 1 (Aug 14) of the Pirates Cove Billfish Tournament.
Check back for updates. Last day of fishing Friday, August 17.
Draggin’ Up wins the 2018 Texas Billfish Classic!
The 3rd Annual Texas Billfish Billfish Classic (TBC), for the third year in a row, saw growth in participation and a substantial increase in prize money. The TBC fleet released eight Blue Marlin, one White Marlin and six Sailfish while weighing one Blue Marlin. The TBC is one of the fastest growing billfish tournaments in Texas and the only event to allow participants to leave at noon on Thursday and begin fishing right away the same day.
Draggin’ Up, a 74′ Viking from Houston, TX was the only boat to weigh a Blue Marlin on Saturday to claim top honors in the Blue Marlin division. Angler Sam Rasberry 119.5 inch Blue Marlin topped the scales at 514 pounds. “We were having a slow first day with no bites so decided to make a move for second day. We got the bite shortly after 9am,” said Draggin’ Up Captain Kevin Deerman. “We definitely knew the fish was a keeper after second set of jumps and got the gaffs ready. Great tournament and worked out for us betting heavy in the Blue Marlin kill pots!”
In the Catch and Release Division, Bimini Babe a 74’ Viking, took home top honors with three Blue Marlin Releases and one Sailfish, while Tico Time, a 65’ Hatteras released one Blue Marlin and two sailfish finishing in second place. Over-Ride, a 64’ Titan finished in third place releasing one Blue Marlin and edging out High Noon on time. The Bimini Babe Team were also crowned Champions of the Billfish Classic Cup. This new event was developed to reward competitive teams fishing in both the Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic and the Texas Billfish Classic. Owner Babe Appling, Captain Robert Jones and Team left with an extra $10,000 and custom art to commemorate the big win!
The Tuna category was won by Clark Miller aboard Smoker II with a 93 pound Yellowfin. No stranger to the podium, Kurt Pantle on $ea Dollar$ came in second at 90 pounds followed by Lee Bull on the REHAB at 50 pounds. A nice summer Wahoo raised the bar pretty high as Jasen Gast and the REHAB crew pulled up his 51 pound fish, barely topping the second place fish brought in by Tiger Neal on the Smoker II. Brian Wood, Draggin’ Up, came in third at 29 pounds. The Dolphin category was taken with the only qualifying fish at 23 pounds by Chris Gavlick aboard the REHAB.
The Top Lady Angler was Emma Griffith on Over-Ride and the Top Junior Angler Award was presented to Ethan Middleton on the Change Order.
Official 2019 Texas Billfish Classic Results
1st- 514.0 lbs. Draggin’ Up – Angler Sam Rasberry
Catch and Release
1st – 2,000 pts – Bimini Babe – Captain Robert Jones
2nd – 1,000 pts – Tico Time – Captain Mike Hester
3rd – 600 pts – Over-Ride – Captain Jacob Dawson
1st – 93 lbs – Smoker II – Clark Miller
2nd – 90 lbs – $ea Dollar$ – Kurt Pantle
3rd – 50 lbs – REHAB – Lee Bull
1st – 51 lbs – REHAB – Jasen Gast
2nd – 47 lbs – Smoker II – Tiger Neal
3rd – 29 lbs – Draggin’ Up – Brian Wood
1st – 23 lbs – REHAB – Chris Gavlick
Top Lady Angler
Emma Griffith on the Over-Ride
Top Junior Angler
Ethan Middleton on the Change Order
MTU offering Series 2000 M96L Captain Training classes
MTU is pleased to continue offering interactive and informal classroom style Captain Training classes at various East Coast Distributor locations.
Participants will have the opportunity to meet local service personnel and learn from MTU factory personnel about the following topics:
- Series 2000 M96 Engine Overview & Maintenance
- BlueVision | NewGeneration control & monitoring system
- Extended Warranty Coverage and other benefits available from MTU’s Premium Yacht Service
The next complimentary class will be offered September 13, 2018 from 9:00am – 3:30pm at Johnson & Towers, located at 2021 Briggs Rd, Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054.
Interested captains, brokers, or vessel owners can register here. Note class sizes are limited and preference is given to current and future Series 2000 M96 captains.
Old Salt 2: Captain Chip Shafer
A Legacy in Fishing
by Capt. Dale E. Wills
“I was going to medical school, so probably a doctor,” says Captain Chip Shafer when asked what he would have been if not a boat captain. While the title Captain may have won out over Doctor, Shafer’s medical aspirations manifest themselves while fishing. Chip orchestrates the many moving parts of a sportfish program—anglers, crew, and spread presentation—with the same calm, precise demeanor of a surgeon in the operating room. The result is clear. Ask anyone who has had the privilege of fishing with Captain Shafer at the helm and they all say the same thing: “He’s one of the best there is.”
Impact and Profile
Shafer needs very little, if any, introduction in our sportfishing circles. When it comes to fishing, Shafer has been there and done that. A charter captain for almost four decades, Shafer now runs a globetrotting private venture. Chip’s exploits in the captain’s chair would be right at home in a Hemingway novel. In addition to the truck load of tournament titles from his charter days, Shafer has guided fly angler Nick Smith to incredible numbers of billfish on fly – 18 blue marlin in a single day and two and half times that many striped marlin in a day, to name a few…
Perhaps even more impressive than his fish numbers is the long line of deckhands who were mentored under the overhang of Captain Shafer. Captains Mike Brady, Mike Everly, Arch Bracher, Dave (Big Wave) Warren, John Bayliss, Bull Tolson, Charlie Griffin, Jimmy Grant, Keith Biggs and Lawrence Rowland—and that’s just the beginning. You can’t find another captain who has had the incredible impact on this number of deckhands– many of whom continue to enjoy a prospering sportfishing career today.
Early Life and Career
Born and raised in Statesville, North Carolina, fishing has been a lifelong passion for Shafer. Chip recalls fishing backcountry ponds and lakes for brim and bass early in his youth. “I loved fishing in the ponds and just fishing for anything.” Eventually, like most of us, Shafer found the nearby saltwater- fishing coastal North Carolina.
After a year and a half at Duke University, Shafer joined the United States Marine Corps in 1967. In 1969 he was wounded in Vietnam. While recovering at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Shafer made the best kind of friend—one with a boat. They would often fish together off the beach for drum and mackerel. Eventually the two traveled offshore in search of pelagics.
After completing his military duties, Shafer was offered his first paying job as a deckhand by Captain Ivey Batten on a boat called Gulf Weed. That was in spring of 1973. “Fishing out of Odens Dock in Hatteras, I made $25 a day. The charter only paid $175 for a full day.” Reflecting on his early years in the business, “We had absolutely no laws of fishing in the ocean.”
The following season in 1974, Captain Emory Dillon on the Early Bird asked Shafer to be his mate. After a season with Capt. Dillon, Chip traveled south to Florida to expand his charter career.
In 1975 Monty Howell, father of current builder Ritchie Howell, bought a 42-foot Sheldon Midget boat to charter out of Stuart, Florida and Hatteras, North Carolina. In a tragic accident, the captain who was initially hired to run the boat was killed. Monty Howell then asked Shafer to run the boat. This turned out to be Shafer’s first captain’s job on the Temptress.
In 1976 he moved from Stuart to Fort Pierce, Florida and ran the boat for four years prior to purchasing it in 1979. In 1991, Shafer built a new Temptress—a 53’ Bobby Sullivan boat. He would fish the charter circuit—alternating between Fort Pierce and Chub Cay in the winters, Cancun in the spring and Oregon Inlet in the summer. Shafer charter fished until 2001.
“In 2001, I made the decision to go a private job, as I had always been in the charter business. I worked for Charles Nichols on the Liquidator. Two years later in the fall of 2002, I began working with Nick Smith on Old Reliable (first a 57 Spencer) then a 2005 64’ Bayliss. I still with Nick today,” says Shafer.
Lessons Learned from a Life on the Water
When asked about a lesson that has been particularly impactful, Shafer is reflective. “You have to give to receive, it’s something Omie Tillet instilled in me early in my career. You need to offer information in order to get information. If you look at the top captains, the willingness to share information with one another and having good open communication among their peers is inherit in each of them,” says Shafer.
“However, the mates are really not much different. I’ve always found that a good quality person, with good morals and intelligence will do well in this industry. It’s important to immerse a mate into fishing and then let them figure most things out for themselves. Mates share information with other mates and the crew network can really work to your advantage. Again, you have to give to receive. The biggest change is not long ago a majority of mates would work on a charter boat prior to working on a private boat. That’s not common anymore.”
Living a life around a dock, you can’t help but see some shenanigans go on among the crews. Capt. Shafer recalls that Lee Perry on the Deepwater was on the wrong end of a lot of dock jokes. “Every now and then Lee would open up his fish box and find a two-day old stinking shark inside. He’d get so mad he would say, ‘If I ever find out who did this, I’m going to cut their heart out with a watermelon knife.’”
Another silly prank was one Alan Foreman played on Lee. During the off-season Lee would work in the boat shop. Alan jokingly told Lee that the epoxy they were using looked so good that he was going to taste it sometime. One day, Alan showed up for work with a custard that resembled the epoxy and in front of Lee said, “Watch this, I’m going to try the epoxy today.” After taking a big spoonful, Lee was yelling at Alan in a panic “You are going to die! You are going to die! You can’t eat that…”
The Modern Captain’s Job
When asked about the challenges ahead for boat captains of today Shafer says, “Today the most difficult aspect of being a boat captain is the complexity and increase in the number of systems onboard. Everything is electronic and when something is not working, it can be a challenge to fix, especially if you are out of the country.”
Another change in the sportfishing industry relates to the charter dock. “Charter fishing is becoming much more challenging with the depth of fishing regulations. Charter jobs are not as common as before. I do think billfish populations are fine. The striped marlin fishing off Baja is as good as ever. I haven’t seen much change in blue marlin populations. Tuna fishing is cyclical like it always has been, and the only decline I see has been the dolphin populations. They are not as prevalent as years gone by. But also thinking back to what many call the good ol’ days, we had many days when we caught very little or nothing, too. Overall, offshore fishing is in great shape.”
When not fishing with Nick Smith chasing marlin around on fly, the IGFA Hall of Fame captain can be found walking a beach or fishing a pond when time permits. “It’s funny how I’m making a full circle in my fishing pursuits. I’m finding myself enjoying a bent rod on a bluegill or bass- just like when I was a kid,” says Shafer.
We also ask the featured captain in this Old Salts Rule to call out the next one – Captain Buddy Hooper you are on deck.
It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of fishing legend Captain Ron Hamlin over the weekend. His fishing career spanned decades and continents. His exploits in the early days of Venezuela are the thing of legend. Hamlin then travelled to Guatemala where he would be instrumental in popularizing circle hook use. Hamlin was recognized far and wide– by The Billfish, the IGFA and others. He was the first captain to reach the 20,000 billfish mark. His career and the legacy he leaves behind influenced the many he fished with. His work on popularizing the circle hook greatly decreased billfish release mortality– something that we can all be thankful for. InTheBite’s condolences are with Hamlin’s family.
$2.58 MILLION DOLLAR WINNER TOPS IMPRESSIVE 2018 EVENT
Two world records were set during the 2018 event. The $2.58 million-dollar payout was the most ever awarded for the catch of a billfish, and the $5.45 million-dollar purse was the most ever paid in any fishing tournament.
The Blue Marlin Category and the $924,936 purse was safely held all week by Joe Rahman from Wanaque, NJ as his 881-pound monster caught Monday aboard the Auspicious out of Palm Beach, FL was never challenged as it was the only qualifying blue marlin weighed the week.
The Tuna Division edged closer to anointing the first million-dollar tuna as Gary Sansburry from Hobe Sound, FL won $904,851 while fishing off the Buckshot out of Ocean City, MD. The 75.5-pound tuna was the biggest of a close group that split up the rest of the tuna purse of $1,300,000. The Blinky IV out of Freeport, MA was second with a 73.5-pound tuna weighed by angler Charles Matattal from Blackstone, Massachusetts good for $135,421. The Brass Monkey and Jake Pilkerton all from Leonardtown, MD did well with the 71-pound tuna caught on the first fishing day. It took the 3rd place tuna money and the top small boat tuna money good for a total of $215,916.
The Wahoo Division also saw a big winner come in today when Kevin Graybill of Morgantown, PA weighed a 63-pounder while fishing aboard the Over Board out of Ocean City, MD. The wahoo took 1st place money and, parleyed with winning the Small Boat Big Fish category gave Graybill a total of $115,271. The other wahoo money went to the Desperado from Virginia Beach, VA with $1,846, and the Canyon Hunter from Indian River, DE with $21,471.
Dolphin provided action all week with the top winners: Fin-Nominal from Indian River, DE – $19,464, Rigged Up from Manteo, NC – $18,646, the Moxie Boys from Ocean City, MD $16,646, the Sea Note out of Oregon Inlet, NC and the local Bonnie Lynn each took $15,300.
When most think of the White Marlin Open, they think of the excitement at the scales, the million-dollar winners, and energy of the crowds at the “World’s Largest & Richest Billfishing Tournament.” While that show plays out on the Big Stage at Harbour Island, the true test of man, machine and crew takes place out of the spotlight or the streaming lenses. The best anglers and crew aren’t necessarily measured by the money won or by the largest fish caught but buy the skills needed to catch and release the most fish.
This division is won by skill and teamwork and the sheer love of the sport. The exceptional white marlin fishing found off Ocean City, Md provides a great venue to compete against some of the best saltwater sports fisherman in the world.
The great fishing during the 2018 event created intense competition for the release divisions and the abundance of blue marlin tilted the advantage for those lucky enough to add blue marlin release points to their totals.
The Top Boats in the Release division were also the Top Release Boats for 2018 WMO.
The Viking 72 out of New Gretna, NJ topped all comers with 10 white marlin and 1 blue marlin released good for 875 points. The Billfisher was second with 12 released white marlin for 840 points. The Fin Planner from Oregon Inlet, NC had 11 white marlin releases good for 770 points. Uno Mas from Ft Lauderdale, Fl and Special Station from Palm Beach, FL each had 8 white marlin and 1 blue marlin release for 735 points.
The individual Top Angler awards are based on billfish points accumulated over the 5-day event. The Top Individual Anglers in the 2018 White Marlin Open are:
Ron Kawaja on the Fin Planner with 8 white marlin releases for 560 points. 2nd was Joe Rahman from Wanaque, NJ, 3 white marlin release and a 881-pound blue marlin boated for a total of 503 points while fishing aboard Auspicious out of Palm Beach, FL. Greg Lentz aboard the Trust Me Too had 3 whites, a blue marlin and a spearfish release for 455 points and Lawrence Julio fishing aboard Ocean City’s Rhonda’s Osprey also earned 455 points with 3 whites, a blue and a spearfish release.
*How does the prize money awarded in the White Marlin Open stack up against top individual awards paid in other major sporting events? The comparisons show that the White Marlin Open payouts do very well as they top almost every other professional sport in the world.
The individual award of $2.58 million dollars paid to Pascual Jimenez for his winning 83-pound white marlin was more money than was paid the winner of the 2018 Master’s Golf Championship, ($1.98 million), the 2018 U.S. Open Golf Championship, ($2.16 million) or any other major golf championship in history.*
The 2018 Kentucky Derby paid future Triple Crown Winner “Justify” $1.24 million for winning this year’s Derby. 2018 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods presented 2018 winner Jordan Lee the top of $300,000 for winning their top event. The few events that do pay more than the WMO top prize are Wimbledon and U.S. Open Tennis that are paying $2.96 million to the single’s men’s and women’s champion.
Full Leaderboard Results: www.whitemarlinopen.com
InTheBite Inside The Lines – Episode 8
Bringing you the latest information on all things bluewater!
-White Marlin Open Update
-Upcoming Old Salt Sneak Peak
-Hatteras Yachts Factory Tour
American Yacht Harbor is a full service marina in St. Thomas. A wonderful location, it is the jumping off point for the epic blue marlin bite on the fabled North Drop. Centrally located in the Virgin Islands, American Yacht Harbor provides access to the British Virgin Islands and the eastern Caribbean. A destination on every blue marlin fisherman’s bucket list, American Yacht Harbor is perfectly situated to make the dream of fishing St. Thomas a reality…
by Steve Katz
Despite the central importance of the transducer to the ability to view what is happening beneath the water line, transducers are commonly overlooked. Proof that the importance of transducers is often bypassed is evidenced by asking captains or owners how they decided upon the transducer they use. Ask enough and you are bound to hear, “All I really need to know about transducers, I learned from the guy on the boat the next slip over.” While asking the guy next to you might make for a quick study, it may not be the best way to learn about how to use your existing transducers or what to look for when purchasing a new transducer.
Our favorite fish finders, sonar, bottom machines, depth finders, sounders… whatever we call them, all operate using transducers. The transducer is in contact with the sea water below the boat and plays a major role in the quality of picture on the sounder display. Transducers come in many different sizes, types and mounting styles. Picking the correct unit for your boat and the display can be difficult, costly and confusing. This article will help you understand the basics of the types, sizes and mounting styles of transducers and make your next purchase a little easier.
Basic Operation and Types
Hiding beneath the transducer’s soft urethane face is one or more piezoceramic ceramic elements. These elements change electrical pulses sent by the sounder into sound waves or acoustic energy. Similar in function to a speaker and microphone all in one, the sounder transmits (or transduces) a signal into the water using the transducer as a speaker. Once the sound beam is emitted, the sounder stops transmitting and begins listening, using the transducer as a microphone to listen for reflected sound waves from objects below the surface. A transducer’s performance varies with the size, quantity and quality of the ceramic elements it contains. High power, high performance transducers have multiple elements inside the housing.
These elements are manufactured and tuned to operate on a certain frequency or range of frequencies, such as the traditional frequencies of 50 kHz or 200 kHz. The lower frequency range around 50 kHz is used in deep water, while the higher range around 200 kHz provides greater resolution in shallower water. We use low frequency in deeper water because lower frequencies travel deeper than higher frequencies at the same power output. Low frequency sound waves are larger than high frequency and can skip over smaller details that many anglers are looking for. Most manufacturers offer transducers that have both low and high (or medium) elements contained in a single housing, allowing a transducer to operate on multiple frequencies at the same time if desired. CHIRP transducers can operate over a range of frequencies, “sweeping” across the designed range. A typical CHIRP frequency range is 42 kHz-65 kHz for the low frequency and 150 kHz-250 kHz on the high side for the popular B275LHW CHIRP transducer.
The shape of the sonar beam also varies with frequency; traditionally low frequency has a wide beam resulting in a larger coverage area but with reduced resolution. Traditionally high frequency has had a narrow beam with more definition. Lately manufacturers have designed new ceramics that allow the high frequency to be much wider, often matching the beam angle of the low frequency, while ensuring a higher resolution sounder picture and covering much more water area beneath the boat.
There are two related size measurements for transducers. One relates to physical dimensions, the other relates to power handling rated in watts for traditional transducers. Generally, a higher power transducer is physically larger than a smaller one. The size of your boat and the available access at the mounting location are often the determining factor on what size transducer you can install. Cost is also a factor. The largest transducers cost upwards of a few thousand dollars. The transducer also has to be compatible with the display hardware.
Manufacturers often have a list of compatible transducers to choose from. Traditional sportfishing transducers range in power from 600 watts to 3000 watts with comparative power in the CHIRP products. Physical sizes range from as small as 3.5” in diameter to over 23” long. AIRMAR, the major transducer manufacturer in the USA, makes most of the popular sportfish transducers. It also manufactures transducers with up to 10,000 wattsand 100 piezoceramic elements for specialized applications.
How Do Sounders Detect Fish?
Almost all fish have an organ called an air bladder, or swim bladder. These bladders are filled with gas that help fish to adapt to the water pressure at different depths. This air bladder has density that is greatly different from that of the surrounding water and flesh and bone of the fi sh. This differential density makes what the sounder does possible. Sound waves emitted by the sounder bounce off the fish with a distinctive signal. Signals echoed from the swim bladder are what we are often really seeing on the screen of our sonar.
Learning about the fish you’re targeting, their habitat and food they eat can go a long way in helping you design a fish finder system that meets the needs of your fishing activities.
Putting It All Together
If you are looking to add or replace a transducer, you should start by figuring out what is the best frequency needed for the fishing you plan to do. If you will be deep dropping– look for a low frequency unit that can handle a lot of power to send the signals deep to the bottom. Sailfishing– look for a high frequency that will show high resolution of top of the water column where the sailfish are and also the baitfish they feed on.
Once you have selected the frequency and power, you will need to match up an installation style with your boats bottom to determine what is best. Locating a transducer where it
will always have clean undisturbed water is always the goal, though compromises are often necessary based on boat design, installation time and budgets. The final step is to match your transducer with a sonar system that meets your needs for performance, quality, reliability and price.