The 23rd Annual Orange Beach Billfish Classic (OBBC), kicked off the 2019 Gulf Coast Tournament Season with 48 boats chasing Blue Marlin and more than a $1M in prize money.
Relentless Pursuit, a 95′ Jim Smith, caught the winning fish shortly after the fleet departed Orange Beach on Thursday, May 16th. “We didn’t have a chance to do any pre-fishing before the tournament,” said Captain Robbie Doggett. “But we hadn’t been on the troll all that long when we got the bite we needed. What a way to start the season!”
Angler Dennis Pasentine, Jr. brought the fish to the boat in less than two hours and the crew started heading for Orange Beach to weigh their fish early the next morning. The team celebrated both the 116″ fish that weighed 658.2 pounds and team owner Dennis Pasentine’s birthday before a nice early morning crowd at The Wharf. The Blue Marlin would still be atop the leaderboard when the scales closed on Saturday night.
No other fish were weighed on Friday, but Saturday night saw two more Blue Marlin come to scales. Double J, a 42′ Freeman, saw their fish measure 107″ and 399.4 pounds. Current Alabama State Record holder for Blue Marlin, Chris Ferrara on the 70′ Viking Reel Fire, claimed third place with his 376 pound Blue Marlin which measured 108″.
Mollie the 66′ G & S from Destin, won Catch and Release and will have their name added to the Johnny Johnson Memorial Trophy, by releasing three Blue Marlin. Reel Fire also placed in the Catch and Release category with a second place finish by releasing two Blue Marlin.
Born 2 Run, a 72′ Viking from Pensacola finished in third place in Catch and Release by also releasing two Blue Marlin.
One of the highlights of this year’s tournament was the weighing in of two giant Bluefin Tuna. Hot Rod, a 56′ Viking from Sasser, GA, brought their 107″ fish in early on Saturday night to the delight of the crowd as the scale read 735 pounds. That fish was bumped to second place as the final fish of the night brought huge roars from the fans in attendance and those watching online.
Crawgator, a 61′ Viking from Venice, LA, caught their 110″ Bluefin late on Saturday and just missed setting a new Alabama state record with an 825-pound giant tuna. Tireless, a 44′ Cabo from Orange Beach, finished third with a 172.4-pound Yellowfin Tuna.
CE, a 65′ Hatteras from Point Clear, AL won the Wahoo division with a 58.0-pound fish. Crawgator also placed in the Wahoo division with a second place fish that weighed 45.2 lbs. and Relentless Pursuit also placed in multiple categories with a third-place finish in Wahoo at 40.2 lbs.
It was good to again see big Dolphin coming to the scales as a new tournament year begins. Lucky Dog, a 57 Bayliss from Destin, took first place with a 46.2 lbs. Mahi-Mahi. Second place went to A Team, a 43′ Viking from Galveston, Texas and third place was won by Breathe Reel Deep, a 52 Ocean from Orange Beach. Both fish weighed an identical 36.6 lbs.
The Top Lady Angler was Katie Gonsoulin on Done Deal as she released two Blue Marlin.
Thirty-Six Blue Marlin and three White Marlin were released in the 2019 Orange Beach Billfish Classic.
Official 2019 Orange Beach Billfish Classic Results
1st- 658.2 lbs. Relentless Purist- Angler Dennis Pasentine
2nd- 399.4 lbs. Double J- Angler Greg Gaubert
3rd- 376 lbs. Reel Fire- Angler Nathan Neames
Catch and Release
2nd- Reel Fire
3rd- Born 2 Run
1st- 825.6 lbs. Crawgator- Angler Bill Butler
2nd- 735 lbs. Hot Rod – Angler Stewart Fickel
3rd- 172.4 lbs. Tireless – Angler Gregg Trenor
1st – 58 lbs. CE – Angler Scott Cooper
2nd- 45.2 lbs. Crawgator – Angler Bill Butler
3rd- 40.2 lbs. Relentless Pursuit- Angler Johnny Pasentine
1st- 46.2 lbs. Lucky Dog – Angler Jarrett Johnson
2nd- 36.6 lbs. A Team – Angler Robert Sanderson
3rd- 36.6 lbs. Breathe Reel Deep – JC Jacobs
Top Lady Angler
Katie Gonsoulin on the Done Deal
Maverick Yachts of Costa Rica, Saunders Yachtworks Announce Joint Boat Building Venture
Costa Rica-based boat builder and U.S.-based refit yard to collaborate on new sportfish line
Gulf Shores, Ala. – July 10, 2018 – Saunders Yachtworks and Maverick Yachts of Costa Rica have entered into an agreement to build sportfishing yachts for the U.S. market. Maverick will construct the cold-molded hulls and vessel superstructure at the company’s facility in Herradura, Costa Rica. Saunders will outfit the yacht at its boatyard in Gulf Shores, Ala.
According to Saunders CEO John Fitzgerald, the company intends to offer the full model line of 36- to 50-foot Maverick sportfishing yachts for sale in the U.S., starting with the first 40-foot triple outboard walkaround in spring 2019.
“Maverick brings exceptional boatbuilding skills to the table, and we bring expertise in equipment installation, outfitting and after-sales service,” Fitzgerald said. “Once I toured the Maverick facility and saw their craftsmen at work, I knew we had a great opportunity to build something together.
“Everyone who visits Costa Rica to sportfish knows the reputation of Maverick Yachts. Their track record for durability, craftsmanship, and attention to detail speaks for itself. These boats have been raising fish off the Pacific Coast for years, and we are excited to make them more accessible to customers in the United States.”
“People love our yachts because they raise fish and have unmatched durability,” Maverick Yachts CEO Larry Drivon said. “We are thrilled to find a U.S. partner like Saunders who has an excellent reputation in the yacht service industry and whose insight can be adapted into our production process.”
Maverick Yachts in Costa Rica custom builds cold-molded yachts that are carefully designed by dedicated fishermen and constructed by some of the finest craftsmen found anywhere in the world. The complete boat is finished to a standard comparable to the most prestigious custom manufacturers in the United States. For more information, please visit www.maverickcostarica.com.
The Saunders family has been in the marine service business in coastal Alabama since 1959. With skilled technicians and craftsmen in all areas, Saunders manages projects ranging from routine maintenance to major refits and repowers. The company operates a full-service yacht yard in Gulf Shores that accommodates vessels up to 130 feet with a 165-ton lift. Saunders has a second location in Orange Beach with a 60-ton lift capacity and an outboard sales and service center. For more information, please visit www.saundersyacht.com.