It’s not too late to shop for DAD! We’re offering our Father’s Day Special- 2 for 1 subscriptions. Our latest June issue is hitting the docks now. Everybody loves fishing with Dad. Give him a year’s subscription on us! Happy Father’s Day from InTheBite.
Captain Ann Johnston is something of a legend on the Texas sportfishing landscape. As Capt. Kerry Fritz puts it, “Everybody knows Ann.” In 1971, Johnston was just the second woman ever to be commissioned captain in the State of Texas. Since that time Ann has run charters out of Freeport, Texas and fished the Texas tournament scene for more than four decades. She fished Poco Bueno every year from 1972 to 2017 – an incredible streak of some 45 years.
While her dedication and love for fishing speak for themselves, were you to have guessed, she would have been one of the least likely people around to become a renowned saltwater captain. Growing up in the Texas panhandle outside of Amarillo, Johnston was raised driving wheat trucks and combines. “The first time I came to Houston it was with a friend who had breast cancer. She went to MD Anderson Medical Center. My husband and his friend decided they wanted to go fishing in the Gulf, so I came along. I grew up catching catfish in Lake Texoma,” Johnston recalls.
The experience made a lasting impact and soon Ann and her husband, Doug, moved to the Gulf Coast with their boat in tow. “The boat was 32’ long. I tell everybody that I fell in love with the boat and then I fell in love with him. On January 4th, we’ll be married 50 years,” Johnston relates. Upon moving to the Gulf coast, both Ann and her husband obtained their captain’s licenses. “Admiral Welty commissioned me. He must have been 90 years old at the time. I was sure he would faint and fall on me before we were through,” Johnston says with a laugh.
As a charter boat on the upper coast of Texas, much of Jonhston’s business was directed toward red snapper and king fish, with species like cobia (ling if you speak Texan), grouper and dolphinfish mixed in. In most years, she’d run three or four marlin trips. “We commercial snapper fished for a long time. We sold our permits about 15 years ago,” Johnston recalls. “When we started out there were no electronics or GPS like there are now – just the old Lowrance units you had to stick your head into. Boats used to follow us around because they thought we had the snappers numbers… and we did. We got our first snapper numbers from the shrimpers. We’d bring them out food and things and they’d tell us where the snags were.”
In describing her career, Captain Ann Johnston expresses the characteristic humility known to folks from west Texas. While she might not say it, her career leaves a legacy that influenced many on the Texas coast. Captain Kerry Fritz runs the Sea Dog, a 60-foot Hatteras, out of Galveston. He grew up in Freeport and has known Johnston for years. “Did she tell you about the time she was pulled over by a wahoo? She was fighting a big wahoo and the gaff man missed it and she was pulled over. She went down about 100-feet before she got out of the rod harness.”
“There are not too many lady captains as salty as her. Through the years, she’d run five or six days per week. One year at Poco, she had what could have been the winning marlin sharked at the boat. They brought in just the head,” Fritz says. Another year, Johnston finished fourth at Poco Bueno, weighing a whole fish on that occasion. More than just a great captain, Johnston is known for her generosity. “She’d help anybody… She has shown a lot of people the ropes.”
Captain Ann’s generosity and caring nature is reflected in her customer base as well. “The oldest customer I have has been fishing with me for 30 years. We have a lot of them who have fished with us for 15 years,” Johnston says. “Being a lady captain was tough at first. I’d have to keep the guests from jumping off the boat because they weren’t used to fishing with a lady captain. But once they fish with me, they stayed with me. I take really good care of my people. I can usually tell who’s going to get sick and who won’t when they get on the boat. If someone looks like they will get sick, I’ll bring them up on the bridge to sit with me. If someone does get sick, I’ll take them down and wash their face with cold water and let them sleep in the master bedroom. We also help our customers with their fishing technique.”
While any captain who spends more than four decades on the water has seen a prank or two, Johnston’s relationship to dock pranks is unique. “For the first few years, they were always pranking me! We’ve always had to park in the shed, so we’d have to raise and lower the outriggers to get in and out. They’d always tell me something was sticking up or a rope was hanging off, just to see if I’d get mad,” Johnston recalls of her early years on the helm. Even now, after boat deliveries to Mexico and fishing more than most will ever do, Johnston still gets a bit of skepticism about her being a lady boat captain. “The number one thing, every day, someone always says, ‘Let’s see how she does putting the boat in the slip.’”
As for a fishing story? When asked about her best day on the water, Captain Ann’s response is telling. “Every day is a good day as far as you get to fish.” This sentiment is one shared by Captain Ann’s family as well. “We are just a family that loves to fish.” In addition to Ann and her husband each holding captain’s licenses, their son and two of their grand daughters also hold their tickets. “My son runs a 110’ yacht between Florida and New York. He doesn’t fish as much as he used to, but he really loves it,” she says.
The latest iteration of Ann’s Dream is a 54-foot Hatteras. Ann ran the previous edition, a 46-foot Hatteras, for 32 years. She has caught her share of fish, but one trip stands out. “One time we had a two-day marlin charter. The guys didn’t show up with any food, so before we left the dock, I had to get groceries,” she recalls. Once offshore, Johnston and crew trolled around one of Texas’ most productive rigs.
“We were circling the buoys around Cerveza and hooked a 219-pound and a 515-pound blue marlin and caught them both in about an hour. The first one (the 219-pounder) was gut hooked so we brought it onboard. The second one, the guy hollered so much that we brought it in, too. I really didn’t want to, but he said he wanted to get it mounted. He sent the head off to Pflueger but he didn’t pay for it. That’s how I got stuck with a marlin!”
LINES ARE IN THE WATER FOR DAY 4!
61st Annual Big Rock Tournament- There’s a total of 184 boats entered and the 2019 overall purse is a record-breaking $2.86 million!
Good luck to all the participants! Check back to InTheBite for updates or follow the tournament live through Reel Time Apps.
Day 4, June 13- Updated as of 11:40a.m.
UPDATE: There is 1 boat fishing today, Paved For, tight lines guys!
Day 3, June 12
1 of 3 blue marlin releases ANNIE O has racked up so far this week- putting them 1st in the Release Division
Day 2, June 11th
DAY 1 , JUNE 10TH
June means summer. Summer means tournaments. Nothing says tournaments quite like InTheBite.
Grab a copy of the latest June Issue, hitting the docks now!
White’s Tackle is a full service tackle store located in Ft. Pierce and Stuart Florida. The staff are knowledgeable anglers who’ve fished the globe learning the secrets from the best captains and crews, and will be glad to pass them on to you. For over 90 years White’s Tackle has been outfitting inshore and offshore anglers from all over with the best tackle and service imaginable. If you have any questions feel free to call the Fort Pierce Store at 772-461-6909 or the Stuart Store 772-266-4010 or send an email to: email@example.com
AIRMAR Technology Corporation, the leader in the manufacture of transducers, is a proud sponsor of the Captain of the Year East Coast Division.
When it comes to transducers, there is much more to it than meets the eye. In this edition of InTheBite Dock Talk, Airmar’s Marketing Director Craig Cushman provides an overview of how to determine the best package of transducers for your sportfishing program.
InTheBite presented the AIRMAR East Coast Division Captain of the Year award at the Bohicket Billfish Tournament captains meeting. Congratulations to Captain Alan Neiford and crew aboard Mister Pete, they had an awesome year! In addition to the recognition he receives from InTheBite, AIRMAR rewarded an additional prize of $2,000 because the boat was equipped with an AIRMAR transducer.
This year marked the 25th Anniversary for the Hatteras Village Offshore Open with Top Dog, captained by Ryan Knapp and a new boat to the tournament, taking 1st place. They released a Blue Marlin on Day 1 and cemented their win with 2 more Blue Marlin releases on Day 4 and weighed a 455.5 lber. They walked away with $30,047.50. Marlin Gull placed 2nd and Sea Toy, last year’s winner, finished up in 3rd. 29 boats fished this year and everyone had a great time as they competed for a $160,395 purse.
This year’s tournament proved quite exciting with some quality Blue Marlins being brought to the dock:
‐ Day 1: Wall Hanger ‐ 563.9 lbs. (Captain Gray Blount/Angler Chris West)
‐ Day 2: Marlin Gull – 507.7 lbs. (Captain Kenny Midgett/Angler Josh Brown)
‐ Day 2: Piracy – 655.9 lbs. (Captain Chris Russell/Angler Curtis Struyk)
‐ Day 4: Top Dog – 455.5 lbs. (Captain Ryan Knapp/Angler Kyle Dickerson)
Piracy was the top money winner walking away with $56,780 earned on their 655.9 lber. $24,650 of it was earned in Level 4 – Biggest Blue Marlin and the other $32,130 was earned in Level 7 – Additional Biggest Blue Marlin, which was a new level in the HVOO this year which payed out for both 1st and 2nd at a 60%/40% split and cost $3,000 to enter. Wall Hanger took home 2nd place in Level 7, winning $21,420, plus another $5,950 for having the most release points on Day 3.
In Level 3 ‐ Meat Fish Division, Hatteras Fever II took 1st in the Dolphin category with a 44.4 lb. Dolphin and 2nd went to Sea Toy with a 38.6 lber. Outlaw took 1st in the Wahoo category with a 21.7 lb. Wahoo and Release took 2nd with a 16.1 lber. No yellowfin tuna were weighed in. Daily Billfish Release winners were Top Dog (Day 1 & 4), Sea Toy and Wall Hanger and Daily Meat Fish winners were Tuna Duck, Hog Wild, Sea Toy, Hatteras Fever II, Outlaw and Release. Total numbers for the tournament included 4 Sailfish Releases, 2 White Marlin Releases, 10 Blue Marlin Releases and 4 boated Blue Marlin.
The tournament again this year had some great sponsors including the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau as a Grand Slam Sponsor, and Atlantic Packaging and Bonze Lures as Blue Marlin Sponsors. White Marlin Sponsors included Western Branch, Gregory Poole, Bayliss Boatworks, Jernigan Oil, Bray’s House Moving, Flying Fish Ink and Carolan’s Bay Shore Construction. Point Click Fish joined us with their Mobile Command Center and Bonze Lures who was new to our tournament came with their trailer which featured a great display of their lures, hooks, shirts, cups, etc. and were all for sale. Mark your calendars for next year and plan to get in on some awesome Hatteras Billfish Action– May 12 – 16, 2020!!!
Pompano Beach, Fla. (May 13, 2019) –The competition was tight and the bite was hot for the 21st Annual Mercury/SeaVee Pompano Beach Saltwater Shootout on May 11th. 113 boats and over 700 anglers turned out for the record setting tournament. The kickoff party was a blast with a live performance from Mr. Stix & the Spurience and DJ Select hosted the party inside while anglers won great prizes from tournament sponsors on the Spin-to-Win wheel, Blue Moon Fish Company delivered a decadent food experience and Hooter’s kept the free drinks flowing from Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Bacardi, Hillbilly Bourbon, Landshark Lager & Seven Daughter’s Wine. The IGFA continued their mission to teach 100,000 kids to fish in 2019 with a classroom full of kids and hands on instruction that included a free fishing rod courtesy of Fish Florida Tag Agency plus a gift certificate for a fishing trip aboard Fish City Pride drift boat in Pompano Beach.
Pre-fishing reports in advance of the Shootout had teams prepared for a hot day of fishing in the first leg of the PBSC summer series. Bryce Statham and his Blue Moon fishing team posted a great catch with 221.4 pounds of fish on board their Mercury powered 34’ SeaVee. They popped the champagne on stage in celebration of the first place win and their $25,336 payday! Pierce Statham was also the top male angler with 127.6 points. Team Digger Rich was the only other team to break the two hundred pound threshold with four kings and four tuna that weighed in at 214.1 pounds to secure the second place spot overall and a check for $10,840. Big fish have a reputation for big payouts in the PBSC tournaments and the 2019 Shootout was no exception. Angela Davis landed a 44.6 pound cobia with her teammates on team Reel Synergy. The cobia turned out to be the heaviest fish of the tournament and the second largest payout with a check for $20,598 to the team.
As the fish continued to hit the scales on the Bass Pro Shops weigh stage, records were bound to be broken. That is exactly what happened when pee wee angler, Daniel Accardi of team Sir’ Reel, weighed his catch that included two huge African Pompano plus three bonito for a total of 115.3 pounds and a new pee wee record in the Shootout! The top junior angler title went to Benjamin Dixion of team Fish Scales with 62.2 pounds. In association with tournament charity, Perry J. Cohen Foundation, and Bass Pro Shops, Benjamin also won the safety first award and received a complete safety kit including an epirb, handheld GPS and other life-saving boating equipment. Melanie Chojnacki, team High Gear, was the top female angler with 128.3 pounds.
The top 5 in the Shootout were rounded out with Slob City in 3rd with 192.4 pounds, Young Guns in 4th with 190.7 pounds and High Gear in 5th with 187.2 pounds. Young Guns was the top SKA team with a 40 pound king and a bonus $1,890. The big king also won them the Angler Armory pound for pound contest and an additional $4,000. The 2019 Shootout touted some impressive stats that included a 100 pound average for the fleet, over 150 pounds weighed in by each of the top 15 teams and over 9,000 pounds of fish in total to hit the scales!
A $200,000 purse made for a great turnout at the awards ceremony hosted by Bonefish Mac’s at the Pompano Beach Civic Center. In honor of Mother’s Day, Bonefish Mac’s presented each mom with a rose and champagne mimosas and they also had the opportunity to win some great prizes in a Mother’s Day raffle. Both the KDW Jackpot and Pick 3 calcuttas did not have a winner at the Shootout, which means they will roll over into the Saltwater Slam on June 8th where the KDW is expected to exceed $30,000 and the Pick 3 will eclipse $50,000!
For a complete list of Saltwater Shootout results, visit: https://www.bluewatermovements.com/tournaments/summer-series/shootout/results/
Next up in the Pompano Beach Saltwater Circuit is the Mercury/SeaVee Pompano Beach Saltwater Slam. Early registration remains open for the Saltwater Slam until May 23rd at midnight. To register online visit: https://fish.bluewatermovements.com/login.aspx?ReturnUrl=%2fHTMLClient%2f
The kick off to the Furuno Gulf Coast Division— the Orange Beach Billfish Classic— is officially underway. Check out InTheBite.com for updates…
Source: Gulf Coast Triple Crown Enews —
Grander Marine & Invincible Boats Present The 2019 Gulf Coast Triple Crown Championship
Celebrating its ninth season in 2019, the Gulf Coast Triple Crown Championship, The Most Sought After Championship in Sportfishing will feature a couple of important changes to the series, including new sponsors. Grander Marine and Invincible Boats are coming aboard as the new 2019 Presenting Sponsors. The pairing is a good synergy on several levels.
“I personally like to fish the Triple Crown tournaments and have been part of a team that was in contention previously,” says Grander Marine owner and angler Chris Bazor. “Our company sells new boats, brokerage boats and offers service, so sponsoring the series is a good way to help fellow contestants and promote our business. We’ll be competing aboard a 40 Invincible catamaran this season, so we figured why not? The owner of Invincible Boats is a passionate offshore angler too and the company builds some of the best quality mono-hull and catamarans in the sport-fishing industry, so it was a natural partnership.”
Grander Marine has a showroom and full service facility on Canal Road in Orange Beach, Alabama. Another satellite facility is scheduled to open later this summer. In addition to being the Gulf Coast dealer for Invincible Boats, Grander Marine also carries a full line of premium fishing and pleasure boats as part of its line-up. The Blue Marlin Grand Championship, the final leg of the five-tournament series, is held at The Wharf Marina in Orange Beach.
GCTC Director Scott Burt also commissioned a commemorative trophy that will be on permanent display at The Wharf Marina’s Outfitter’s Store. Created by marine metal artist Frank Ledbetter, the perpetual trophy will sit atop a rotating base and will feature all previous Triple Crown Champions. The team trophy, another stunning marlin sculpture crafted by Ledbetter, will be awarded annually to each champion.