InTheBite’s got another good one coming your way,
April/ May Issue– HITTING THE DOCKS NOW.
InTheBite’s got another good one coming your way,
InTheBite’s got another good one coming your way,
April/ May Issue– HITTING THE DOCKS NOW.
Fish Tank was the clear and undisputed Series Champion of the 2019 Los Sueños Signature Triple Crown, finishing with an almost unbelievable 17,400 points (144 sails, 6 marlin). Kudos to the team and especially to Laura Jessen who, despite a broken foot, released 6 sails this tournament alone and 34 sails over all three legs!
Los Sueños Resort and Marina, located at Playa Herradura on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific Coast, held the third and final leg of its sixth annual Los Sueños Signature Triple Crown billfish series, presented by Chantilly Air, March 27-30, 2019. Forty seven of the best and most competitive teams came together to release a total of 1,234 billfish over three days.
Going in to this event, the reports were that fishing was slow with 3-6 fish a day being average. We were pleased to see the teams find the fish when the radio went off with an early bite on Day 1 and ended with a nail-bite inducing finish on Day 3. With 100 points awarded for each sailfish release and 500 points for each marlin release, marlin always end up making a difference for the podium finishers. After all the scorecards were reviewed, a three-leg Triple Crown total of 3,945 billfish were released (3,820 sails and 125 marlin) – or 444,500 points achieved by the 51 teams that participated this year, 38 of which were registered in all three events. [Read more…]
Miami Beach, Fla. (Mar. 18, 2019) – The party moves south, as the highly anticipated grand finale of the Quest for the Crest Sailfish Series, Final Sail, closes out in Miami Beach this year on April 3-7. A hefty purse in excess of $800,000 is not the only prize teams have their eyes on. The prestigious burgundy jackets are also awarded to the top overall team at this final leg of the series. With an elite fleet of competitors, this world title is as tight as the lines, but the leader will be cut soon and just one team will claim their spot in the competitive sailfishing hall of fame.
Major payouts aren’t the only attraction for teams at Final Sail. This grand finale takes place in Miami Beach, with an exciting kick-off party overlooking beautiful Biscayne Bay and a Resorts World Bimini sponsored “Casino Night” where anglers compete on the green felt to help raise money for the tournament charity, Fishing for Muscular Dystrophy. The kick-off party is held Wednesday, April 3rd at the incredible DoubleTree by Hilton Grand Hotel Biscayne Bay. With a “day of rest” in between, competition starts on Friday, April 5th with lines in at 8 a.m. Following lines out on day one, teams can unwind for happy hour at the famous Monty’s Restaurant in Miami Beach Marina with complimentary drinks and food. Day two of competition is Saturday April 6th and tensions will be high as the final scores determine both the winners of Final Sail and the Quest for the Crest series.
With a total purse exceeding $1.9 million dollars, several boats have claimed six figure prizes at each stop for the series. With a current payout approaching $350,000 and a winner-take-all format, the Release Round Up has the undivided attention of every team and many spectators heading into Final Sail. Run the table in Final Sail and your team will have a shot at a payday in excess of $500,000. Five teams were in arms reach of the jackpot in the last tournament, Sailfish Challenge, and two of those teams needed just two more releases to win the massive jackpot. The signature category is broken into four rounds of fishing (morning and afternoon) over the two-day competition. In each round, a random number between 1 and 6 is drawn at the start of the round and represents the minimum number of sailfish a team must release during the 4-hour round in order to advance to the next. A team must advance through all four rounds and have the most releases in the final round among their competitors in order to claim the jackpot.
The results of the first two legs in the series have been diverse, with Utopia taking first place for Operation Sailfish with 14 releases, MDALA only a release behind with 13, and Kluch/Reel Easy taking 3rd place with 12 releases. Sailfish Challenge was a nail-bitter to the end. Native Son, one of the final five in the Release Round Up at the Challenge, secured 1st place with 20 releases. Team Good Call followed closely behind in 2nd with 19 releases and Kluch/Reel Easy snagged back-to-back 3rd place finishes with 18 releases. Their consistent performances earned them the lead in the series standings with 56 points followed by Bar South in 2nd place with 51 points, and one of the center-console favorites, team Showtime in 3rd place with 49 points on their 39’ SeaVee.
Claiming the world champions title and the burgundy jackets requires dominant performances and most importantly – consistency. As the final sailfish tournament of the season, teams know what is at stake. Who will rise to the occasion? The 7th annual Final Sail will be one to remember and the tournament of the season you won’t want to miss!
2019 Final Sail Details:
The Final Sail kick-off party is held on Wednesday, April 3 at the beautiful DoubleTree by Hilton Grand Hotel Biscayne Bay in Miami Beach. Competition days are both Friday, April 5th and Saturday, April 6th, followed by an awards ceremony Sunday, April 7th at the DoubleTree Grand Hilton Hotel ballroom. Tournament registration is available online at www.FinalSail.com and remains open until the conclusion of the kickoff party on April 3rd.
For more information on Final Sail, visit www.FinalSail.com or call 954-725-4010. The entire Quest for the Crest schedule and series standings can be found at http://www.questforthecrest.com
Ready for a Spring Break? Check out the March issue of InTheBite, hitting the docks now!
KEY LARGO, Florida Keys — Team Seraphim of Ocean Reef, led by Captain Jerry Pohl of Miami, Florida, tallied 12 sailfish releases to take top honors at the two-day Billfish Championship, a main event of the Jimmy Johnson Fishing Championship Week that ended March 9 in the Florida Keys.
The Seraphim team earned $405,000 in overall prize money for the victory, as well as authentic, custom-designed Jimmy Johnson’s NBC Championship rings for each team member. [Read more…]
The 56th Annual Buccaneer Cup Sailfish Tournament was held January 23 to 26, 2019 in the Palm Beaches. This year an additional fishing day was added to the format giving teams the choice to fish any two. With two days of near ideal conditions, and a much-anticipated bite pushing into the area from the north, teams were rewarded with steady fishing. After the entire field of top competition teams taking a lay day on Thursday, all 39 boats hustled to release 180 sailfish on Friday and Saturday, The prize, a purse in excess of $352,000, the prestigious and beautiful Buccaneer Cup trophies for the top three boats and anglers, and bragging rights for placing in one of the oldest and most enduring billfish tournaments in the world. Add to that the knowledge that the tournament proceeds benefits the Recreational Fishing Alliance and The Billfish Foundation, there was a lot at stake.
Courtney Bowden, currently in her sixth year at the reigns of the Buc Cup, did a spectacular job running one of the best organized and classiest billfish tournaments on the coast. Along with her team of volunteers, including staff from TBF and RFA, she has made the Buc one of the most exciting and talked about tournaments of the season. The comradery displayed by the teams in attendance proved to everyone that the Buc is most definitely back!
The 56th Buccaneer Cup opened with the Captains meeting on Wednesday held outdoors at the recently completed Tiki Bar at the Sailfish Marina. The meeting was sponsored by the Viking Yacht Company and HMY Yacht Sales. Robert “Fly” Navarro emceed the meeting and went through the rules which included a few changes in 2019 to give the teams more flexibility and fishing options. The meeting included raffle items provided by the long list of tournament sponsors included such as items as Engel Coolers filled with goodies, Costa del Mar sunglasses, Maxel Reels, Tsunami rods and lures, Caza Offshore knife kits and gear donated by Atlantic Marine Electronics (AME), AFTCO, Hi-Liner Offshore Tackle, Grand Slam Sport Fishing, Outrigger Yacht Products, and Mustad.
The competition teams made the unanimous decision to lay on Day One, opting to fish Friday and Saturday which, based on the forecast, held the best conditions of the three available fishing days.
Day Two opened with grey skies, and light east winds and a strong bite with 14 sails being released within the first hour. Martha D called in the first release of the tournament just 17 minutes after lines in at 8 AM. The live baiters seemed to have the edge as Old No. 7, and De-Bait-Able took an early lead, but dead baiters Polarizer and Krazy Salts also made runs to claim the top spot for the day and the Calcutta dailies. By lines out, Old No. 7 racked up 10 releases on live bait for 2,000 points, followed closely by De-Bait-Able just 200 points off the leader. The top dead baiters filled out the leader board with Polarizer and Krazy Salts in the 3rd and 4th spots aided by a late bite that saw six releases in the final 30 minutes of fishing before lines out at 3:30.
Day Three saw a drop in the wind and accompanying slowdown in the action, but the live baiters continued to push their advantage. Based on radio chatter, fishing was best in a small area to the north of Jupiter Inlet. De-Bait-Able, with Capt. KJ Zeher at the helm, put on an astonishing clinic the final day amassing a total of 4,200 points by lines out bringing their two-day total up to 21 sailfish releases and leaving the competition in their wake.
Tournament staff utilized Reel Time Apps for accurate, up-to-the-minute scoring that was available to teams and tournament enthusiasts by simply downloading the free app. The program was linked to the official radio room computer scoring team and updated minute-by-minute allowing teams to follow the leader board throughout each fishing day. At tournament’s end the radio logs were matched against the boat’s catch logs and Reel Time Apps and then verified by video confirmation.
The winning boats were De-Bait-Able on top, Old No. 7 securing second place, with Sandman just 200 points behind in third. The competition was a nail biter between the top boats and was capped by a great run by Wrapped-Up breaking out of the pack in the final hour of the tournament trying valiantly to catch the leaders. In addition to several Calcutta categories, Old No. 7 also won the Charity Calcutta which includes an entry fee to the 2019 Buc Cup. They have been a regular in the tournament the past few years and no doubt the crew will be back next year trying to top their second-place finish.
The top angler trophies went to Bill Bryan on the Old No. 7 in first, beating Chris Weaks on the De-Bait-Able in second by time (both had 1,400 points), and Sandra MacMillan on the Sandman taking third as well as the Top Female Angler, which was also a tie broken by earliest catch.
The Buccaneer Cup Tournament cash award for the Most Points on Live Bait ($10,000) went to the De-Bait-Able team, which pocketed $110,800. Most Points on Dead Bait ($10,000) went to Polarizer, the team receiving a check for $66,610 in total purse for their win. The InTheBite Top Captain loving cup was awarded to Captain KJ Zeher, who skippered the De-Bait-Able to victory.
New for 2019 and created in memory of a long-time participant in the Buccaneer Cup, the Walter Johnson Award trophy for the largest meat fish went to the Bertram 61 for their 34-pound dolphin landed on Day 2. Pat Healey explained that the award was created as a posthumous honor that recognized his love of catching meat fish, and for his contributions to the development of the MTU engine, which has become the standard in sportfishing boats, during his tenure as the top executive at Johnson & Towers.
The awards banquet was held at the Sailfish Club of Florida and sponsored by MTU Marine Power, Florida Detroit Diesel Allison, and Johnson and Towers. The awards dinner was emceed by Robert “Fly” Navarro. Pat Healey, President of Viking Yachts and member of the RFA Board of Directors, presented Ellen Peel of the Billfish Foundation with a $5,000 check to aid the organization in its ongoing efforts to advance the science used for billfish management and assessment.
This event would not be possible without the generous support of its sponsors including MTU Diesel, Florida Detroit Diesel Allison, Johnson & Towers, Viking Yachts, HMY Yacht Sales, Yamaha Outboards, Jupiter Beach Spa & Resort, Contender Boats, American Custom Yachts, Akzo Nobel-Interlux Paint, Seakeeper, Garmin, Cummins Marine Power, American Venture Boats, Bahama Boat Works, Christi/Travelers Insurance, Atlantic Marine Electronics, American Fishing Wire/Hi-Seas, Release Marine, Viking Service Center, The Buccaneer Marina & Resort, Reel Time Apps, Sailfish Marina, and Outrigger Marine Products.
We look forward to seeing all our teams and more next year for the prestigious 57th Buccaneer Cup where we can make sportfishing history again.
Kicking off this year’s Los Sueños Signature Triple Crown with the 1st annual Ladies Only Tournament Los Sueños Resort and Marina, located at Playa Herradura on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific Coast, held the first leg of its sixth annual Los Sueños Signature Triple Crown billfish series, presented by Chantilly Air, January 16-19, 2019. A total of 44 of the world’s most competitive billfishing teams comprised of 210 individual anglers challenged each other over three days of fishing, releasing a total of 648 billfish, including 582 sails and 66 marlin for a per boat average of 15 billfish releases.
LADIES ONLY ONE-DAY TOURNAMENT
Held on Tuesday, January 15th the first annual Los Sueños Ladies Only Tournament, presented by Chantilly Air and sponsored by Maverick and Galati Yacht Sales, brought together 49 individual anglers participating on 17 boats. It seemed like a clear battle between Family and Friends and D.A. Sea who were tied both for points and on time just half an hour before lines out. Fish Tank (anglers Laura Jessen and Michelle Keeney) surprised everyone though, calling in a marlin hook up which they went on to release at 4:04 pm for the win, having released 8 sails and 1 marlin for 1300 points. D.A. Sea (anglers Valerie Dunn, Susan McCart, and Judy Duffie) ended up second with 1100 points with 6 sailfish and 1 marlin release, and Family and Friends (anglers Jackie Kopp, Kristin Feller, and Andrea White) rounded out the leaderboard in third with 1000 points after releasing 10 sails. Awards were presented the following day and the ladies took to the stage to receive their cash prizes and trophies, sponsored by Gray Taxidermy. A total of $27,500 was handed out, 50% going to first, 30% to second, and 20% to third. Individual angler points follow the ladies through the Triple Crown and will be tallied to their total scores from that event to determine the Top Female Angler Overall. So far, Jackie Kopp of Family and Friends is well in the lead with 700 points from the Ladies Only and 1500 points from the first leg of the Triple Crown.
TRIPLE CROWN DAY 1
It was Numero Uno who fittingly released fish “numero uno” of the tournament at 8:05 am on Day 1, January 17th. By 10:00 am the competitive fleet of 44 teams and 210 anglers had released 89 billfish, including 84 sails and 5 marlin. Tarheel took an early lead with 800 points, over The King and I and Blue Eagle, each with 700 points. The King and I showed their stripes early with 1800 points by noon, taking a 600 point lead over Tranquilo with 1200 points and Outlaw with 1100 points. Over 40 fish were released in the next two hours, but the leaderboard changed very little, with The King and I releasing one more sail for 1900 points, Tranquilo staying steady with 1200 points, and Outlaw rounding out the top three, also with 1 more sailfish release for 1200 points. Although The King and I ended the day in first with 2000 points, there was definitely some jockeying in the latter part of the afternoon; Wire We Here ended up releasing 6 sails and 2 marlin for 1600 points and second place, and Blue Eagle released the same fish for the same points, just 13 minutes later to take third for the day.
TRIPLE CROWN DAY 2
The King and I had a slow start to Day 2 with zero releases by 10 am, but managed to hold on to their first place spot. Wire We Here released four sails in the same period to tie The King and I with 2000 points, just 1 sailfish release and 100 points ahead of Reel Pushy. By noon the fleet had released a two-day total of 380 billfish and Fish Tank had pushed The King and I down to third on time after Wire We Here, both with 2100 points, and taking top spot with 2300 points. Family and Friends were keeping their name in front of spectators, taking top spot with 2600 points by 2 pm, followed by Fish Tank with 2400 points and Reel Pushy in third with 2300 points. By the end of the day Family and Friends had earned enough points after releasing 7 sails and 2 marlin for a two-day total of 2600 points, to keep their first place position. Reel Pushy released 7 sails and 2 marlin on Day 2 for a two-day total of 2500 points, and Fish Tank rounded out the top three with 2400 points after releasing 9 sails on Day 2. The top 9 teams were all within one marlin and one sail of the lead going in to Day 3.
TRIPLE CROWN DAY 3
Day 3 followed the same trend as the first two days with a good morning bite. By 10 am the fleet had released 61 billfish for a three-day total of 522 billfish (469 sails and 53 marlin). The King and I were vying for the leaderboard and had amassed 3300 points to take first over Reel Pushy in second with 3100 points, and Tranquilo in third with 2800 points. At noon it was still anyone’s game. Fish Tank was in first with 3500 points. The King and I was in second, now with 3400 points, and Reel Pushy in third with one more sailfish for 3200 points. The 2 pm leaderboard would end up being a prediction of the Leg 1 finishers, showing Fish Tank in first with 4200 points, The King and I in second with 3400 points, and Reel Pushy in third with 3300 points. Fish Tank went on to release four more sails, ending the day – and the tournament – with 4600 points. The King and I and Reel Pushy kept the same points, Reel Pushy tying with Tranquilo on time, but releasing their last fish two hours before.
Lightspeed, 47-foot Cabo
Homeport: Honokohau Harbor, Kona
1,250 points include: Kona Throw Down, 1st Place; Firecracker Open, Heaviest Marlin, 667.5-pounds; Hawaiian Tournament Series, 1st Place.
Congratulations to Captain Rob Ellyn for winning the 2018 Hawaiian Division Captain of the Year award. Ellyn, running the 47-foot Cabo Lightspeed out of Honokohau Harbor in Kona, is no stranger to the Captain of the Year (COTY) award or the winner’s circle. In the five-year history of the COTY in Hawaii, the captain has won the award twice, winning it in 2014 and 2108. The two-time COTY champion fished against a field of renowned Hawaiian captains. Winning the accolade twice, when fishing against notable captains such as Kerwin Masunaga, Marlin Parker, McGrew Rice, Stymie Epstein, Kevin Nakamaru, Carlton Taniyama, Gene Vanderhoek, Shane O’Brien, Teddy Hoogs and Jeff Kahl just to name a few, is quite an accomplishment.
In 2018, InTheBite sanctioned 11 major tournaments in the calm, marlin-rich waters of Kona, Hawaii. Using the COTY scoring system, Ellyn won the honor by earning 1,250 total points. He racked up 500-points with the heaviest blue marlin, a 667.5-pounder, in the two-day Firecracker Open. He then won 500 first-place points by winning the Kona Throw Down, a three-day event that coincides with the World and Kona Cups, when his angler Rick Shedore tagged and released eight blue marlin.
The day the tournament season ended, Ellyn had 1,000 COTY points and was tied with two other excellent Kona captains. Veteran Capt. Carlton Taniyama, on the Five Star, who won first-place in the Rock and Reel and the Lure Maker Challenge. Shane O’Brien on the Strong Persuader, a young captain who has been on fire in both Kona and Cabo the past couple of years. O’Brien won first-place points in Hawaii by winning the Skins Marlin Derby and the Big Island Marlin Tournament.
When the points were tallied for Jody Bright’s Hawaiian Tournament Series, a total of seven major tournaments, Ellyn won the Series top boat award, and Lightspeed angler Rick Shedore won the Series top angler. The 250-points for winning a tournament series put Ellyn over the top to win the COTY with 1,250 points. It is worth noting that Rick Shedore was the defending 2017 Series Champion angler as well.
Congratulations to both Capt. Carlton Taniyama, on the Five Star and Shane O’Brien on the Strong Persuader. I would consider them in a second-place tie. Capt. Teddy Hoogs on the Bwana takes the third-place position with 900-points.
The Lightspeed is armed with two great anglers, owner/angler Rob McCarthy and Rick Shedore. McCarthy and Shedore have only been fishing in Kona together for the past two years, but they have great chemistry. Ellyn has known Shedore for a long time. The two were good friends when Ellyn used to fish in Mexico. Ellyn says, “Communication is the key,” for the good juju onboard the Lightspeed. Congratulations also goes to the 2018 Lightspeed crew members, Travis Ota, Scott “Scooter” Fuller, and Chris Storrs.
I asked the humble, salty captain – who immediately went elk hunting in Idaho after the tournament season was over – about his thoughts on winning the COTY for the second time. He said, “I would like to thank Rick and Rob for the opportunity to fish the tournaments. Without them it wouldn’t be possible. Again, a big thanks to Rob McCarthy for giving us the opportunity to fish in such an awesome fishery. If you haven’t fished Kona, you should.”
Like I always say whenever anyone asks, “When is the best time to fish Kona?” The answer is simple – “Anytime you can.” Nice going Rob! – by Mark Johnston
Todd Davis won the 2019 Subscriber Giveaway to fish with Captain Glenn Cameron aboard the Floridian, a 60′ Sportsman, out of Stuart, Florida. Congratulations!