James Roberts of Midway landed the 68-pound, 1.6-ounce dolphin on April 26. He was fishing over Deli Ledge approximately 80 miles east of St. Catherines Island, according to DNR’s Coastal Resources Division, which administers the Georgia Saltwater Game Fish Records Program.
March 31, 2022, Dolphinfish Research Program— Last November marked the third field expedition for the Dolphinfish Research Program to Tropic Star Lodge to determine the horizontal and vertical movements of dolphinfish in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean (ETP). This field expedition and research is funded by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation.
During the most recent expedition, a total of 12 satellite tags were deployed, and the program received data from 9 so far with 2 more scheduled to report in May. Since 2018, researchers have deployed 20 satellite tags on dolphinfish ranging in size from 36″ to 56″ fork-length. When combined with TSL’s conventional tagging participation, which has amounted in the tag and release of 572 dolphinfish, of which 20 have been recaptured, a preliminary dataset is taking shape that shows both fine scale and broad movements, habitat use, and fishery dynamics in this part of ETP. Detailed updates on the progress of the research and program expansion in the ETP are available here. A special thanks goes out to the entire TSL staff as well as the captains and mates for their help in making this effort possible!
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
Fish Anytime Between July 12th and July 20th!
There is nothing worse than being excited to fish a tournament only to have the weather not cooperate. The hours spent organizing gear, preparing bait, and pre-fishing your plan, can end up a fruitless effort thanks to Mother Nature. This is one of the reasons that the Montauk Canyon Challenge has become such a popular tournament in the Northeast. When you fish the MCC, you literally get to choose to fish anytime between July 12th and July 20th!
“We’ve really grown in popularity from where the tournament started and a lot it has to do with the flexibility in when you’re allowed to fish,” said Rich Lucas, one of the MCC’s tournament directors. “We also had 44 boats last year compete and we gave away over $250,000 in cash and prizes. Everyone loved the Awards Dinner and Party.”
Last year’s tournament also netted a record number of fish thanks to a hot bite. More than 150 BigEyes, 150 Yellowfin, and several white and blue Marlin were caught during the event. The heaviest tuna caught was 210.1lbs.!
Anglers are allowed to choose to fish either two 19-hour day trips or can do one 38-hour overnight trip. All boats will return to Gurney’s Yacht Club in Montauk for an official weighing.
The cost of entering a boat into the Montauk Canyon Challenge is $1,600, but anyone who registers online before May 15, 2019 will receive a $300 discount.
Below are the 2019 prizes for the MCC:
$25,000 1st Place Top Tuna
$5,000 1st Place Yellowfin Tuna
$1,000 2nd Place Yellowfin Tuna
$2,500 1st Place Albacore Tuna
$1,000 2nd Place Albacore Tuna
$2,500 1st Place Top Three Yellowfin
$1,000 2nd Place Top Three Yellowfin
$1,000 1st Place Mahi Mahi
$1,000 1st Place Mako Shark
$1,000 1st Place Swordfish
$1,000 1st Place Wahoo
$500 Top Female Angler
$500 Top Junior Angler (14)
Visit the Montauk Canyon Challenge website to view the Calcutta’s and the full list of rules and regulations with the tournament.
Proceeds from the MCC also go to help Maggie’s Mission, a non-profit charitable organization that is focused on raising awareness of pediatric cancers, funding ground-breaking research, and helps families affected by these awful diseases. Maggie’s Mission was created in honor of Maggie Schmidt who was a beautiful and vibrant young lady who was suddenly diagnosed at the age of 16 with a very rare and aggressive cancer. The MCC is proud to help contribute to such an effective and compassionate organization.
On July 20th, the last day of the tournament, an Awards dinner and after-party will be hosted for everyone at Gurney’s Yacht Club from 6:30pm – 10:30pm. Last year’s party had everyone dancing until the late hours and we only expect it to continue this year!
MCC main sponsor Staten Island Yacht Sales will have several boats on display at the tournament including some of the newest Viking Yachts available. “Both the Viking 58 Convertible and the 38 Billfish will be available to tour for everyone in the Montauk Canyon Challenge,” said Jay Hendrix, Vice President of SI Yachts. “Both Vikings arrive in early Summer so they will be ready for the season up here in New York assuming they last that long.” The Viking 58C made its debut at the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show last November and boasts a 165-square foot fighting cockpit. The new 38 Billfish just made its premier at the recent Viking VIP event in February and has improved the already popular design of the 37 Billfish.
“We are shooting for more than 50 boats this year to fish the MCC,” continued Rich Lucas. “Everyone I’ve talked to that participated in previous years is fishing it again because they had so much fun. It’s a friendly tournament that has a flexible schedule, and you can win a heck of a lot of money. We hope to see a lot of new faces this year and don’t forget to take advantage of the early bird registration discount!”
Panama’s Tropic Star Lodge has been a staple of the sportfishing landscape since 1963. The present is a very interesting time at Tropic Star.
This all access pass provides a look at one of the most unique and historic fishing operations in the world:
Read Tradition and Trajectory at Tropic Star in our latest issue of InTheBite
Users Can Now Access or Download ROFFS Reports When Offshore
Reston, Va. and Melbourne, Fla. – mazu, a leading marine technology and satellite communications brand and ROFFS™ (Roffer’s Ocean Fishing Forecasting Service), a scientific consulting company, announced today they have entered a partnership. Now with the free mazu SportFishing app, anglers can view and download their ROFFS fishing forecast hot spots while offshore. Information from ROFFS is digitally overlaid directly onto detailed sea surface temperature (SST), chlorophyll, current and altimetry charts in the mazu SportFishing app for iPad.
ROFFS provides a variety of the high-resolution satellite-derived fishing oceanographic analyses that are customized for local, recreational and tournament anglers. These analyses are specialized for pelagic fish like tuna, marlin, wahoo, dolphin, sailfish, swordfish, spearfish, shark, kingfish and bluefish. ROFFS professional oceanographers analyze multiple real-time oceanographic datasets including but not limited to; ocean currents, SST, clarity, ocean color/chlorophyll, plankton, frontal boundaries, species habitat of targeted fish, and bottom structure to guide users to the most productive waters for a successful fishing trip. This data is integrated into hot spot locations detailed on an oceanographic map and a comprehensive text description that is easy to understand and use.
SportFishing users can download their report straight from ROFFS website or by their emailed PDF from ROFFS by simply clicking the “Open With” button at the top right and select “Copy to mazu”. The app will automatically open and populate the fishing hot spots onto the screen. Each location is selectable to see the ROFFS analysis about that fishing spot. SportFishing is accessible over satellite for offshore use via mazu m2500 hardware, those users are also able to receive ROFFS reports and updates while offshore and out of cellular or WiFi range.
“We are thrilled to be the first sport fishing technology to offer the exclusive details of ROFFS analysis data in a digital format,” said Craig Myers, director of product management, mazu. “The mazu SportFishing app already offers vital detail and features that no other service provides. By combining ROFFS in-depth analysis onto a free and intuitive platform for users to display makes the SportFishing app absolutely essential for every angler.”
“We are very excited to partner with mazu in this endeavor,” said Matthew Upton, president and owner, ROFFS. “We are trying to create a better experience for our users. By having our analyses more accessible in an intuitive georeferenced platform, combined with all the real-time data and satellite capabilities that mazu provides is going to be a gamechanger for our clients.”
“Super Fresh” brings you InTheBite’s culinary adventures. This was fishing with Captain Asael and first mate Harol on the “Miss Spain” out of Tropic Star Lodge in Piñas Bay, Panama. How would you prepare this mahi mahi?
(George Town, Cayman Islands ) The Cayman Islands’ latest entrant into international fishing tournaments, Cayman Billfish Rundown, will take place May 14 – 17 2019, hosted by Hurley’s Media, Dart and The Residences at Seafire.
This inaugural multi-day fishing tournament will have one of the largest guaranteed prizes of the region’s competitive fishing circuit with a guarantee of USD$270,000 in prizes. In addition to the large cash prizes, Cayman Billfish Rundown will take place during the islands’ Carnival Season featuring the colorful CayMAS Parade. Tournament headquarters and weigh station will be at Camana Bay, one of Grand Cayman’s most prestigious addresses. The festivities will start around 4pm each day with the return of the boats to the harbor at Camana Bay.
Potential prize winnings are over USD$520,000 which includes the USD$250,000 insured for breaking the local Cayman Islands blue marlin record of 584lbs. The tournament also offers 21 added entry categories, to include billfish, yellowfin tuna, wahoo and dolphin, making the jackpot one of the largest in the Caribbean.
Unique to this event is the USD$10,000 Award to the Captain of the boat with the most billfish release points.
Randy Merren, Managing Director of Hurley’s Media, said this tournament has been over a year in the making and pleased to see the event taking shape. “Cayman Billfish Rundown is a sportfishing tournament to attract both overseas and local participants and will re-introduce big game international tournament fishing to the Cayman waters,” Mr Merren said. “Cayman is known for its beautiful weather, cuisine, diving and amazing beaches and is convenienctly located a direct route from the Panama Canal, US, and around the Caribbean.”
“Cayman is a very attractive destination and we view this as an opportunity to attract visitors who spend their time off shore on fishing trips and may not have had Cayman on their radar. We have scheduled this tournament at a time of year when the fishing is plentiful, when there is a break with other tournaments and to coincide with CayMAS carnival which takes place the day after the awards ceremony, we want to showcase all Cayman has to offer.”
“The 2019 Cayman Billfish Rundown is the perfect reason for avid international sportsfishermen to plan a trip to the Cayman Islands. Dart and The Residences at Seafire are pleased to join Hurley’s Media as presenting sponsors of this premier Caribbean event and welcoming both visiting and local anglers to Camana Bay,” said Pilar Bush, Executive Vice President Marketing at Dart Enterprises.
Cayman Billfish Rundown has also teamed up with world renowned marine artist and angler, Carey Chen, to provide his expertise and ensure this event is executed to a high standard.
“Cayman has some of the best fishing in one of the most beautiful and successful islands in the Caribbean. I am honored to be part of this tournament and am looking forward to this being an unforgettable event,” Mr Chen said.
“I fish tournaments throughout the US, Caribbean, Mexico and Central America and always enjoy the fishing in Cayman as well as the hospitality given while visiting. I’m excited for the opportunity to work with Mr Merren on the event and encourage boats to sign up.”
“Whether traveling with family or a group of friends, Cayman offers our visitors a wide range of accommodations choices from award winning hotels to luxury rentals allowing our visitors to relax and beyond the great fishing, enjoy world famous culinary offerings, indulgent spas, a host of attractions, amenities, watersports and carefully curated shopping experiences from artisans markets to luxury boutiques”, Bush said.
Registration for the Cayman Billfish Rundown is now open. Early registration before March 1 2019 is USD $2,500 and after March 1 is USD $3,000. For more information about this event, visit www.caymanbillfishrundown.com.
Eligible species for the tournament includes Billfish (Blue, Sail, White and Swordfish), Tuna, Dolphin and Wahoo.
Cayman Billfish Rundown has designated the Alex Panton Foundation as the beneficiary charity of the tournament. Their mission is to improve the mental health of children and young adults in the Cayman Islands through advocacy, awareness and support while raising awareness of mental illnesses with a particular focus on anxiety and depression. Participants will have the option during registration to donate a percentage of their winnings to the foundation. www.alexpantonfoundation.ky
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
The Hatteras Village Offshore Open, Orange Beach Billfish Classic, and Production vs. Custom Shootout are all InTheBite Sanctioned Tournaments that finished up this past weekend (May 15-20). Here is a look at the final results.. Congratulations to all the winners!
Hatteras Village Offshore Open-
Winner Capt. Bull Tolson on Sea Toy: 1st Place – Levels I, II & IV and total of 800 pts.
Orange Beach Billfish Classic-
Winners: Captain Jason Buck and Angler Katie Gonsoulin on the Done Deal with a 740.6lb Blue Marlin.
Production Vs. Custom Shootout-
Winner Capt. Ricky Spikes of Free Spool, a 62′ Viking – With 6 Blue Marlin and total of 2400 pts.