By Mark Johnston
Lightning strikes twice, as Captain Kerwin Masunaga wins InTheBite’s Captain of Year [Read more…]
By Mark Johnston
Lightning strikes twice, as Captain Kerwin Masunaga wins InTheBite’s Captain of Year [Read more…]
Captain Harvey Shiflet runs the Anticipation, a 61’ Spencer (hull number 2). The [Read more…]
Capt. Art Sapp, Liquid
Homeport: Hillsboro, Florida
Boat/Power: 39-foot Sea Vee/Quad Mercury Verado 350 hp
Wins to Date: Silver Sailfish Derby, 1st Place, 500 Pts.
Tackle: Rods – Custom aide by Leeward, 20 pound class; Spinning Reels—Okuma Azores;
Conventional Reels—Okuma Andros
Like most boats fishing the South Florida sailfish series, Captain Art Sapp and the Liquid planned to kite fish during the Silver Sailfish Derby. When the winds died down and conditions were no longer right for the kite, Sapp utilized his boat and the experience of his team as keys to victory.
In The Spread
The first day brought enough wind to fly the kites and team released two sails on four bites. This was standard practice. After the morning of the second day, however, the winds died and plans changed. “In the morning we saw a couple of free jumpers and ran to them with the kites out, but the kites didn’t work,” Sapp explains. “We spent most of the day running to feeding fish on the surface and casting them live baits.” When not slinging to actively feeding fish, the team bump trolled live baits. All told, the team caught nine sails out of 18 bites.
Sapp credits victory to two factors. “It’s our fourth year fishing together and we have a great deal of team unity,” Sapp says. “It also helps that our anglers are really good when casting to fish. This is not always the case.” The team Sapp describes is made up of Jim DeMarco (first mate), Keith McDonald (owner/angler), and anglers Rob Degnin, Steve Dougherty, Mike Gula, Jacob Lepera, Jim Steel, and Carl Schactor.
The second component to victory is the boat itself. The Liquid is a brand new 39-foot Sea Vee that allows Sapp to get on the fish in a hurry. Upon seeing fish on top 300-400 yards away, the center console made it possible to get to the fish in a hurry. “We were fishing in a pack of big sportfishers and they couldn’t run to the fish as well as we could,” Sapp concludes.
Captain Scott Fawcett has become one of the top ranked captains in Florida. His knack for finding fish and then staying with them has paid big dividends for anglers lucky enough to fish with Fawcett. His humble demeanor on the dock is a contrast to his focused business-like approach to keeping his anglers in the bite. Enjoy this look back at a tournament win earlier this year for Fawcett, which appeared in our print publication in March 2016 issue.
Capt. Scott Fawcett, Trust Me Too
Homeport: Stuart, Florida
Boat/Power: 62-foot Titan/ 1650 CATs
Wins to Date: Gold Cup Team Fishing Tournament, 1st Place, 500 Pts.
Tackle: Finnor Marquesa 30 reels, Blackfin Off the Chain Sailfish Rods
For anyone who is tired of hearing the same lineups winning all of the sailfish tournaments, just give Captain Scotty Fawcett a call. Fawcett runs his Off the Chain Fishing Charters out of Stuart, Florida. Six out of the last 14 or so years he has been hired by the same group of charters to fish the Gold Cup. This year, the group wanted a larger boat than Fawcett operates himself so he leased the Trust Me Too from Captain Steve Castellini.
With Castellini in the tower, mate Matt Coppoletta in the pit, Fawcett directed anglers Clark Beaty, Walker Royal, Mike Ivancevic, and Gunnar Askeland to 14 sailfish releases over three days to take home victory. “They are really good clients. They are experienced fishermen, who don’t really get the chance to fish much anymore. They usually charter me for this tournament,” Fawcett describes.
In The Spread
The first day of the tournament, the anglers and crew learned the boat but didn’t tally too many points. The action picked up for the team, who trolled hooked ballyhoo and ran mullet dredges. On the afternoon of day three, Fawcett put the team on a quad. Successfully releasing all four of the fish vaulted the hybrid team into the lead, a lead they would not surrender.
Fawcett credits his first mate Matt Coppoletta for his consistency throughout the tournament season. The Trust Me Too went 14 for 14 during the Gold Cup. According to Fawcett this incredible ratio is due in large part to the gear deployed—Finnor Marquesa 30 reels paired with Blackfin sailfish rods. As the architect of this unlikely winner circle story, Fawcett describes the tournament—charter guests on a leased boat—as a “weird situation,” but it was certainly one that produced results.
June 20, 2016
2016 Captain of the Year Cup Mid Year Update
The Big Game tournament scene is in high gear as we approach the mid summer point. So who is lighting up the tournament scoreboards so far? Below is a run down on the top teams in each division. “Knotted Up” is the theme of this years Cup race. No lead is safe at this stage in the competition.
East Coast Division– Captain Bobby Garmany on the Sportin Life sits in the top position by a narrow 100 points over six boats tied for second with 500 points. Plenty of tournament action ahead with the Mega Dock in South Carolina and then a swing north to North Carolina, Virginia Beach, Ocean City, Md and Cape May, New Jersey.
Here’s how the look right now.
Capt. Bobby Garmany, Sportin Life, 600 Points
• Carolina Billfish Classic, 2nd Place, 300 Pts.
• Georgetown Blue Marlin Tournament, 2nd Place, 300 Pts.
Capt. Mark Rogers, Rascal, 500 Points
• Carolina Billfish Classic, 1st Place, 500 Pts.
Capt. Jon Henry, Cat Baby, 500 Points
• Hatteras Village Offshore Open, 1st Place, 500 Pts.
Capt. Trey “Cricket” McMillan, Game On, 500 Points.
• Georgetown Blue Marlin Tournament, 1st Place, 500 Pts.
Capt. Harvey Shiflet, Anticipation, 500 Points
• Bohicket Invitational, 1st Place, 500 Pts.
Capt. Mark Annis, Ashley Lauren, 500 Points
• Big Rock Largest Marlin(621.4 lbs), 1st Place, 500 Pts.
Capt. Bryant Montague, Bank Walker, 500 Points
• Big Rock, 1st Place, 500 Pts.
Gulf Coast Division- Captain Devin Potts and the Sea Mixer team are leading this division with two first place wins in Alabama and Mississippi and look who is knocking on the door with first place wins. It’s still anyone’s game and the Texas contingent is getting their hooks ready for a big tournament bite in July and August.
Capt. Devin Potts, Sea Mixer, 1000 Points
• MBGFC Memorial Day Tournament, 1st Place, 500 Pts.
• MGCBC(Biloxi), 1st Place, 500 Pts.
Capt. Mike Roberto, Share-E, 500 Points
• Orange Beach Billfish Classic, 1st Place Heaviest Marlin, 500 Pts.
Capt. Jeff Shoults, Mollie, 500 Points
• Orange Beach Billfish Classic, 1st Place, 500 Pts.
Capt. Shelby Johnson, Quick Time, 500 Points
• MBGFC Memorial Day Tournament, Heaviest Marlin, 500 Pts.(806 lbs.)
Capt. Matt Mauldwin, Click Through, 500 Points
• Cajun Canyon Billfish Classic, Heaviest Marlin, 500 Pts.
Capt. Joey Birbeck, You Never Know, 500 Points
• Cajun Canyon Billfish Classic, 1st Place, 500 Pts.
Capt. Johnny Dorland, Cotton Patch, 500 Points
• MGCBC(Biloxi) Largest Marlin, 500 Pts.
Capt. Shane Obrian, Wild Hooker, 500 Points
New Orleans Billfish Tournament, 1st Place, 500 Pts.
Contender Florida Division- Captain John Dudas and the Sandman team are sitting in the lead with 800 points with a win in the Final Sail and second place in the Sailfish Challenge. The final events in Florida could decide who takes this division and we’ll have to wait for the Fall sailfish migration before this division is said and done.
Capt. John Dudas, Sandman, 800 Points
• Sailfish Challenge, 2nd Place, 300 Pts.
• Final Sail, 1st Place, 500 Pts.
Capt. Luis Coll, Utopia, 550 Points
• Final Sail, 2nd Place, 300 Pts.
• Quest for the Crest Series Winner, 250 Pts.
Capt. David Grubbs, Grand Slam, 500 Points
• Pelican Yacht Club Invitational, 1st Place,
Capt. Art Sapp, Liquid, 500 Points
• Silver Sailfish Derby, 1st Place, 500 Pts.
Capt. Scott Fawcett, Trust Me Too, 500 Points
• Gold Cup Sailfish Tournament, 1st Place, 500 Pts.
Capt. John Millroy, Kathy Joe, 500 Points
• Buccaneer Cup, 1st Place, 500 Pts.
Capt. Jerry Pohl, Seraphim, 500 Points
• Sailfish 400, 1st Place, 500 Pts.
Capt. Gene Lebron, Jichi, 500 Points
• Sailfish Challenge, 1st Place, 500 Pts.
Hawaii Division- Captain Al Gustavson on Topshape is off to good start with a first and second place finish in June. Last years winner Captain Kerwin Masunaga on Rod Bender is once again off to great start sitting in second. With the Hawaii bite continuing to improve this division will certainly crown a deserving winner. Unlike other divisions this fleet competes day in and day out against each other. Stay tuned for another great season.
Capt. Al Gustavson, Topshape, 800 Points
• Rock and Reel Tournament, 1st Place, 500 Pts.
• Hawaiian Open Big Game Fishing Tournament, 2nd Place, 300 Pts.
Capt. Kerwin Masunaga, Rod Bender, 600 Points
• Rock and Reel Tournament, Heaviest Marlin 500 Pts.
• Hawaiian Open Big Game Fishing Tournament, 3rd Place 100 Pts.
Capt. Marlin Parker, Marlin Magic II, 500 Points
• Hawaiian Open Big Game Fishing Tournament, 1st Place, 500 Pts.
International Division– This world-renowned division has some of the biggest names in sportfishing traveling the global tournament scene. Captain Jon Duffie and the Agitator team crushed the fleet in Costa Rica this year and lead the division with 1550 points(on time). In second place is Captain Tommy Lynskey and the Uno Mas team who made an impressive showing in the Bahamas this year. Unfortunately a couple events in the Bahamas did not meet the 12-boat minimum in order to qualify for sanctioned tournament points. Bermuda is getting ready to crank up with plenty of points to be earned. We look forward to exciting action.
Capt. Jon Duffie, Agitator, 1550 Points(on time)
• Los Suenos Triple Crown Series Champion, 250 Pts.
• Los Suenos Triple Crown Series, Leg 3, 1st Place, 500 Pts.
• Los Suenos Triple Crown Series, Leg 1, 2nd Place, 300 Pts.
• Los Suenos Triple Crown Series, Leg 2, 1st Place, 500 Pts.
Capt. Tom Lynskey, Uno Mas, 1550 Points
Capt. Kevin (KP) Paul, Lo Que Se, 800 Points
• Custom Boat Shootout, 1st Place, 500 Pts.
• Custom vs. Production, 2nd Place, 300 Pts.
For all the sanctioned tournament updates and scores Click Here
May 20, 2016 Orange Beach, Alabama: For the second straight year the Gulf Coast Captain of the Year Award was presented by Publisher Dale Wills during the Orange Beach Billfish Classic kick-off dinner party. Captain Robbie Doggett, who runs the 95-foot Jim Smith Relentless Pursuit, gladly accepted his 2015 Captain of the Year award among family and friends during the first event of the 2016 Gulf Coast tournament season. “It’s not just me on this team, its the whole crew including the boat owner who actually runs the boat more than me when we are fishing. We mostly lure fish and he loves driving,” says Doggett. The crew included deckhands Mike Akiu, Jerry Morrison and Chip Stiebing. Doggett won the Gulf Coast division by 250 points over Captain John Brennan on Portafino. Captain Doggett’s wins included:
Capt. Robbie Doggett, Relentless Pursuit, 1750 Points
Louisiana’s Cajun Classic Billfish Tournament director Steve Thomas took it upon himself and had a Taiga Cooler custom wrapped with the Captain of the Year logo. “It was our tournament which sealed the title for Doggett and the Relentless Pursuit team and I wanted to show my appreciation for not only fishing and winning my event but also supporting the effort by InTheBite,” said Thomas.
Capt Robbie Doggett joins Done Deal’s Captain Jason Buck 2014’s Gulf Coast Captain of the Year.
Each year InTheBite sanctions the most competitive Big Game events in the Gulf. For each 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finish the team captain is awarded points- 500, 300 and 100 respectively. In addition, 250 bonus points are awarded for winning a Championship.
To follow the 2016 Captain of the Year Cup Click Here
Captain of the Year Glenn Cameron (2011) recently won the first ever Bahamas White Marlin Roundup fished April 28-30, 2016. Fished out of Marsh Harbour in the Abacos, Capt. Cameron found the White Marlin before others in the fleet and never relinquished the lead. Congrats to Cameron and the Floridian crew. If you are interested in fishing with Capt. Cameron he is available for charter out of Stuart, Florida.
To visit his website Click Here
See White Marlin Roundup for final score Click Here
Congratulations to Ronnie Fields, winner of the 2015 Top Tagging Captain, Atlantic Blue Marlin & Top Release Captain, Atlantic Blue Marlin! Ronnie has reported billfish tags and releases from around the world. This past year, he spent raking in big numbers on “Big Oh” in Cape Verde, amazing work!
InTheBite is proud to present Captain Russell Sinclair of the Wave Paver with the 2015 Captain of the Year Cup award for the International Division. The reception was held on Saturday March 5th at the Ocean Club Marina in Port Canaveral, Florida. Growing up in Port Canaveral, Sinclair was able to bring the trophy home—quite literally. Listen in as the boat owner Jr Davis tells stories about the team and Captain Sinclair’s acceptance speech.
The reception provided a fitting conclusion to the banner 2015 that Sinclair and the Wave Paver enjoyed. The Wave Paver lit up the International Cup Division, setting an incredible pace highlighted by victories in the Custom Boat Shootout and a Bahamas Billfish Championship series title. Sinclair’s 1,950 points beat the nearest competitor, Captain Victor Julio Lopez of the Tranquilo, by 550 points.
We anticipate reading much more of Sinclair’s success. Congratulations.
Special Thanks to:
Donnetta Sicilia and Ocean Club for hosting the event
Mark Vanderhoeven SailtAirVideo.com
Smith Merritt Insurance
InTheBite Captain of the Year “Biggest Marlin” Cup Winner
InTheBite would like to congratulate Captain Mat Bowman on the Northern Lights for [Read more…]