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
$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
45th ANNUAL WHITE MARLIN OPEN – Fishing Has Begun!
The 382 boats that registered for the 2018 White Marlin Open fishing tournament will be competing for a world record fishing purse of $5.45 million (estimated) during the 5-day event held in Ocean City, MD Aug 6-10. The 45th edition of the “World’s Largest Billfishing Tournament,” has all the elements to produce even bigger fish stories than before. Lottery sized winnings, great weather and warm water inside of the canyons could combine to label the 2018 Open as the most dramatic ever. Similar conditions of warm water and calm seas occurred in 2016 when over 1,000 white marlin were caught and released.
The White Marlin Open awards money for catches of white and blue marlin, tuna, wahoo, dolphin and shark. It is the billfish that bring the biggest prize money and last year’s event awarded two anglers over $1.5 million dollars each but tuna are nearing the $1,000,000 mark as well. The top tuna in 2016 and 2017 earned $750,000 and $860,000 respectively and a new tuna entry level for 2018 added another $380,000 to the tuna category.
About 40% of the boats that entered the Open are local to Maryland and 35% from Atlantic coast states of NJ, VA, and NC. Florida is well represented again this year and the WMO also got boats from as far as Texas, Massachusetts and the Bahamas to travel to Ocean City to match their skills with the Atlantic coast boats.
Monday’s weather forecast should have the bulk of the boats go fishing which means a busy morning at the inlet and a lot of action at the Harbour Island scales from 4:00 PM until 9:15 PM.
For live tournament coverage: https://whitemarlinopen.com/
2018 LONE STAR SHOOTOUT FINAL RESULTS –
Owner: Ben Heilker
Captain: Ray Dunn
Top Captain Award: Captain Ray Dunn
Top Mate Award: Mathew Grimes
Load & Go
Owner: Tom Herrlich
Captain: Monte Love
Owner: George McMahon
Captain: Ray Peterson
Wayne Timmermann Memorial Top Angler Award: Andy Lack (Mechanical Man)
Top Female Angler: Julie Coulter (Deez Nautz)
Top Junior Angler: Mack Watson (Fool’s Gold)
Owner: Ben Heilker
Captain: Ray Peterson
Load & Go
Owner: Tom Herrlich
Captain: Monte Love
Owner: Centurion, LLC
Captain: James Rae
615 lb Blue Marlin
Angler: George McMahon
478.5 lb Blue Marlin
Angler: Trevor Lott
472 lb Blue Marlin
Angler: Taylor Savage
147.5 lb Tuna
Angler: David Denbow
107 lb Tuna
Angler: Josh Jones
102 lb Tuna
Angler: John Pasentine
Congratulations to InTheBite Contributor Brad Goodrich for reeling in the winning fish at the 2018 POCO Bueno Tournament. The fish went 720 pounds, Brad spent 5 hours and 20 minutes in the chair to make it happen. Brad was working on the 74 Spencer, Smooth Move, with Captain Brian Phillips. Congratulations to all involved.
Offshore Division Winners:
1st – Smooth Move @ 720lb
2nd – Done Deal @ 587.5lb
3rd – Draggin Up @ 575.5lb
Blue Marlin Caught:
Smooth Move @ 720lb
Done Deal @ 587.5 lb
Draggin Up @ 575.5lb
Mad Props @ 465lb
Rebecca @ 443.5lb
Photo Courtesy of Poco Bueno Fishing
Offshore Largest Fish
Wahoo: Lady Adele @ 61lb
Dorado: Chase This @ 32lb
Tuna: Relentless Pursuit @ 105.5lb
Blue Marlin: Smooth Move @ 720lb
Catch and Release
1st – Tenacious: 4 Blues @ 2000 pts
2nd – Booyah: 2 Blues, 1 Sail @ 1100 pts
3rd – Relentless Pursuit: 2 Blues @ 1000 pts
Team Shockwave awarded the 2018 Blue Marlin Grand Champions over the weekend with a 795.6lb Blue Marlin caught by angler Austin Blakeney, Cheers to Capt. Marco Gaona & the team!
Trouble Maker out of Kona, HI wins the 2018 Blue Marlin World Cup
148 boats participated in the 2018 blue marlin World Cup. Boats started fishing in Papa New Guinea and the Gold Coast of Australia on the afternoon of July 3rd Eastern Time Zone. As time passed across the globe, boats continued to fish. A fleet of 38 boats in Bermuda catching and releasing 26 blue marlins that did not meet the minimum weight of 500 pounds. The World Cup also had a new record of 25 boats fishing the Gulf of Mexico
Nearly 26 hours after the first boat wet their lines in Australia, The Trouble Maker out of Kona Hawaii called in their hook up at just after 6 PM Eastern time. With many boats catching and releasing small blue Marlin the Trouble Maker continued to fight for over 2 1/2 hours until they boated a blue marlin that measured 120 inches with a 64-inch girth. At approximately 9:30 pm Eastern Time Trouble Maker’s blue marlin weighed in at 760.5 pounds.
Trouble Maker’s blue marlin was the only qualifying blue marlin weighed in this year’s tournament. They won the tournament cash plus the optional Big Blue Challenge, making it just over a $1 million payday and bringing the World Cup title back to Kona, HI
The Blue Marlin World Cup is a one-day shootout held on July 4 each year. Blue marlin are the only eligible species, with a required minimum of 500 pounds, in a winner-take-all format. Teams fish from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. in their respective time zones around the world, producing a very exciting event that has attracted a tremendous following on social media.
Tournament director, Robert “Fly” Navarro, says the World Cup team is already planning for a bigger and better tournament next year. Note the date on your calendar, and sign up early to match your blue marlin fishing skills against the rest of the world.
Miramar Beach, Florida –It was the blue-water version of David vs. Goliath. A group of high school buddies competing aboard a loaner boat topped 90 other professional teams by landing the largest blue marlin in the 2018 Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic. Angler Will Beard boated the 699.2-pound blue marlin after a nearly two-hour fight. Beard, of Fairhope, Alabama, and Todd Terreson, Mac Waller, Ritchie Prince and Pete VanLingen comprised the rest of the crew aboard Can’t Deny It, run by Capt. Bo Keough. Doug Terreson owns the 48-foot Viking based on Ono Island, Alabama. Beard was named top angler and the team is splitting $131,040 in prize money for its efforts. The backstory is even more incredible.
Beard, Terreson and the rest of the team wanted to fish the Classic after graduating from high school this spring. Doug Terreson agreed to loan his boat with fuel and gear, provided the teenagers paid the $6,000 base entry fee. Todd Terreson would act as mate and veteran skipper Keough was a late addition. The team managed to scrap together the entry fee but couldn’t afford any of the optional jackpots that would have boosted their overall winnings considerably.
Trolling a weed line 120 miles south of Destin, Can’t Deny It hooked the winning fish on a chugger lure, the only blue boated on a lure during the 2018 contest. The other four weighed fish were taken on live bait. The team also released another blue and a white marlin and boated qualifying tuna, dolphin and wahoo during the trip.
“Nobody slept much last night,” Beard said before Sunday’s awards ceremony. “It’s finally sinking in what we accomplished. I’m very grateful to Mr. Terreson for giving us this opportunity.”
“I asked them if they knew they had gone up against the best pro crews in the Gulf and won and they all looked at me with wide open eyes,” Keough added with a laugh. “Doug and I stayed up on the bridge and the boys did it all from the cockpit. It really was something.”
The field of 91 boats, with an average size of nearly 60 feet, was vying for $2,040,200 in overall prize money. In addition to the tournament cash awards, teams could enter optional jackpots at various levels up to $10,000 in the blue marlin and release categories. This scenario contributed to the other historic news of the 2018 contest.
Owner/angler Dana Foster, Capt. Myles Colley and the rest of the team aboard Born2Run, a 72 Viking based in Pensacola, Florida, was named the Top Release Team and Crew after releasing four blue marlin. Born2Run won the biggest check of the tournament, $328,885, demonstrating the skill required in catching multiple billfish and the intrinsic value in releasing them unharmed. Born2Run’s payout is the largest ever in the Gulf of Mexico for an all-release score. The other team members included mates Robert Bonifay and Tyler Maxwell, plus anglers Doug Franklin, Lisa Foster and Bryan Paul, all of Pensacola. The prize money included first place in every release division jackpot. Dana Foster was also awarded the Top Release Angler trophy.
Reel Fire, owned by Chris Ferrara was a late arrival to the scales Saturday night. Angler Connor Ferrara whipped a 665.2-pound blue marlin to capture second-place honors. Capt. Chris Blanchet was at the helm of the dark blue 70-foot Viking convertible. Reel Fire won $308,124 for their fish.
Sydney Turner-Bankston, fishing aboard her father’s 72 F&S, You Never Know!, captured the third-largest blue marlin of the week at 640.8 pounds. Thomas Turner, Sydney, Capt. Joey Birbeck and the team earned a payout of $264,407 for that fish and two blue marlin releases. Sydney was named the Top Lady Angler for 2018 and You Never Know! was the second-place Release Team.
Breathe Easy (Capt. Patrick Ivie and owner Matt McDonald) and angler Rick Olsen didn’t go home empty-handed after catching a 518-pound blue on a live tuna. The Orange Beach-based team won $201,375 in jackpots. Chef Emeril Lagasse, Capt. Brad Benton and the crew aboard Aldente, a 70 Viking based at the Baytowne Marina in Sandestin, weighed the fifth blue marlin of the tournament. Lagasse’s blue tipped the scales at 475.7 pounds. Nick Diblasio added the second-largest tuna at 168.6 pounds and Aldente won second in the Top Crew division.
Past ECBC champion Done Deal, a 70 Viking owned by Jon Gonsoulin and run by Capt. Jason Buck, narrowly missed setting the new tournament record in the tuna category. Katie Gonsoulin whipped a 190.2-pound yellowfin, off the all-time mark by less than 1/2 pound. She also released two blues, good for third place in the Release Division, for an overall payout of $131,703. Angler Will Kaelin, fishing aboard Donny D III (Capt. CJ Pinney) landed the third-largest tuna at 168.4 pounds, which was worth $16,148.
Wes Kennedy captured the largest dolphin at 42.9 pounds. Kennedy was fishing on Ultimate Lure (Capt. Dusty Parrish), to earn $68,540. Nick Jusko on Pullin’ Wire (Capt. Steven Gay) came in second in the dolphin division with a 39.8-pound bull, while Chad Wandrick on Soggy Dollar (Capt. BJ Teems) was third with a 39.1-pound fish.
Seth McGonigal was the top wahoo angler at 63.8 pounds. McGonigal was fishing aboard Jubilee (Capt. Joe Morgan), earning the team $41,405. Tom Horstman was right behind with 60.1 pounds on BackDown2 with Capt. Gary Jarvis, while Neil Foster, owner and angler aboard Intense rounded out the division with a 56.4-pound wahoo.
Brothers Houston and Clark Adams were named the Top Junior Anglers for billfish and gamefish, respectively. The two were competing aboard Gunnslinger, a 60 Hatteras run by Capt. PeeWee Moore. In addition to the five weighed blue marlin, another 43 were released, along with 12 white marlin and one sailfish. The 54 game fish boated included 22 dolphin, 20 yellowfin tuna, 11 wahoo and one big-eye tuna.
“What an absolutely incredible week,” said ECBC Tournament Director Adam Alfonso. “We had two great stories with Can’t Deny It and Born2Run, nearly broke the tuna record and did set new tournament records with 91 boats and more than $2 million in prize money. I’d like to thank all the teams for fishing with us again this year, our fantastic sponsors and the entire staff for making our 16th year such a memorable success. We look forward to welcoming everyone back June 19-23, 2019, here at the Baytowne Marina at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort.”