Captain Jason Holtz gave InTheBite a full tour of the customized 54′ Pursuit from Scarborough Boatworks in North Carolina. The Pursuit is headed to Kona, Hawaii.
Omie Jennings “Sportsman” Tillett, 90, of Wanchese, NC crossed the bar on Friday, July 5, 2019.
A native of Dare County, he was born March 9, 1929, to the late Theresa Wescott and Hiram Gregory “Sambo” Tillett.
Along with his father and brother, Tony, Omie pioneered the Outer Banks’ offshore charter fishing industry. Captain of the Sportsman out of Oregon Inlet, his boatbuilding skills were renowned.
In January 2009, Omie was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest civilian honor in North Carolina, for his exceptional accomplishments and exemplary service as a citizen in his community. A member of the International Game Fish Association’s Hall of Fame, he was the 2010 Dare County Living Legend.
Above all, Omie was ‘topped off’ with love for the Lord. His signature “woooo” and holy ghost hugs were as well-known as his skills as a captain and boatbuilder. He began every morning by blessing the fleet which started a tradition that continues today.
Omie is survived by his wife, Patsy Tillett; daughter, Gail Lane (Ricky) of Manns Harbor, NC; four grandchildren, Wendy Fearing of Indiantown, FL, Woody Fearing, Jason Midgett, and Lauren Gornell (Chris) all of Manteo, NC; and six great-grandchildren, Taylor Midgett of Manteo, NC, Logan Midgett of Gastonia, NC, Mary Ann Fearing of Wilmington, NC, Omie Gornell of Manteo, NC, Brody Midgett of Gastonia, NC and Evelynn Midgett of Gastonia, NC. Also, surviving is his sister, Sarah Wynn Austin (Barry) of Hatteras; brother, Tony Tillett (Dianne) of Manteo, NC; and several nieces and nephews.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a daughter, Karen “Dolly” Tillett; grandson, Grant Buckner; sister, Polly Tillett; and brother-in-law, Jack Tillett.
A funeral will be held at 6:00 pm on Tuesday, July 9, 2019, at the Whole Ministries Center (826 ER Daniels Rd, Wanchese, NC 27981) with Pastors Stephen Wescott and Kenny Midgett officiating. Private burial will take place at Tillett Cemetery. The family will receive friends and relatives Monday evening from 6:00 until 8:00 pm at Twiford Colony Chapel (500 Budleigh St, Manteo, NC 27954).
Memorial donations may be made to Dare County Boat Builders Foundation – Omie Tillett Scholarship Fund (PO Box 1473, Manteo, NC 27954 or online at www.dcbbf.org) or The Gideons International (PO Box 140800, Nashville, TN 37214 or online at www.gideons.org).
Twiford Funeral Home, Manteo is assisting the family with arrangements. Condolences and memories can be shared at www.TwifordFH.com.
Twiford Funeral Home (Manteo)
500 Budleigh Street, PO Box 595,
Manteo, NC 27954
As competitors headed offshore Monday for the start of the 61st annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament, a final review of all entries confirmed 184 boats were entered and set to compete for a RECORD PURSE of $2,869,050. The previous Big Rock record — set last year — was $2,560,925.
By the end of the week, anglers racked up 156 releases: 83 blue marlin, 54 white marlin, 17 sailfish and two spearfish. A total of 14 blue marlin were boated and weighed, resulting in a 91% overall release rate. DOC FEES and crew scored the 61st release of the 61st Big Rock to win the tournament’s special $6,100 prize. Competitors battled for $284,750 in weekly release prize money and $282,625 in daily release prizes! The Dolphin Winner-Take-All category reached a record $361,250 payout after increasing the level to $2,500 earlier this year!
TOP DOG became “Top of the World” on Day 6 when it landed a record breaking 914-pound blue marlin to WIN the 61st Annual Big Rock Blue Marlin tournament! TOP DOG captain Ryan Knapp of Ocean City, Md., and angler Todd Dickerson, fought their catch for more than five hours and then needed an additional 90 minutes to get the 15-foot fish partially into their 60-foot Buddy Cannady. Dickerson’s catch crushed the Big Rock’s previous record of 831 pounds set in 2000 by the SUMMERTIME BLUES. [Read more…]
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!!!
In a tournament marked by rough seas and windy squalls Captain Brent Gaskill from North Carolina guided his team aboard the 64’ custom Jarret Bay to a comfortable victory during the three days of fishing in the prestigious Casa de Campo International Blue Marlin Classic 2019, first leg of the Dominican Billfish Triple-Header Series.
But, “it was not as easy a victory as some might think” said a smiling Captain Gaskill. “We had to work very hard and travel far for the win” he added referring to the standings after day one. They stood in third place at the end of the day edged out based on time of the last release by the winners of the daily, the team aboard another Jarret Bay, Mama Who from Mississippi, and the Brazil-Venezuela team aboard the 72’ Merritt, Business Stinks. All three teams had released two blue marlin on that first day.
However, the leader situation was quickly resolved on day two when Builder’s Choice released two blue marlin within the first hour after lines in and added a third in the afternoon that day winning the daily while Mama Who and Business Stinks had no releases for the day. “After day two we never looked back” said a proud Harris Huddle, Builder’s Choice owner and winner of the Top Individual Angler Trophy who incidentally was followed by his team mate, Dominican Luis Selen, who earned the Second Place Individual Angler Trophy.
When the dust settled at lines out on the third and final day of competition the Team/Boat standings stood with Builder’s Choice in First Place with a three day total of seven. blue marlin releases, Mama Who in Second Place with a total of four blue marlin releases and Business Stinks in Third Place with two blue marlin releases. Coincidentally the same three teams/boats had finished first, second and third the previous year but in a different order with Mama Who as the winners.
In the individual angler standings as already mentioned Top Angler was Harris Huddle followed by Luis Selen in Second Place both aboard Builder’s Choice and in Third Place was Mama Who’s Trey McMillan. Top Lady Angler for the second year in a row was Mama Who’s Elaine ‘Lainey’ Jones. Teams and Individual anglers took home a small fortune in cash awards and sponsor luxury prizes.
We gratefully thank our Title Sponsors Casa de Campo Resort & Villas as well as our very gracious hosts Marina Casa de Campo for their hospitality. Save the date for the 2020 7th Annual Casa de Campo Blue Marlin Classic when the tournament will take place will take place April 1st thru the 5th. Don’t miss it!
Sure, tying up the boat might seem like an afterthought. To the experienced captain with 30-years’ experience, that is exactly what it is – especially when you’re coming and going out of your home slip and have your lines marked and set, just the way you like them. There are however many nuances to tying up the boat and much to learn for a new mate or boat guest. When travelling to a new, unfamiliar marina there are an added set of variables. The following provides some real-life perspective from professionals on tying up your ride in various scenarios.
Theory and Practice
While the variables involved in getting safely into the slip vary widely, there are a few universals. Captain Harry Schafer runs the 66-foot enclosed bridge Viking, Sea Wolf, based in Jupiter, Florida. He has been working on boats since 1974. “Every time you dock, especially in a different area, you have to deal with wind, current, other boats and obstructions – you have to consider that,” Schafer says. “Exactly how you’ll dock is slip-dependent. It is different for pilings, floating or stationary docks. When you’re approaching the dock, ask the dock master what side you’ll approach so you can prepare and put out the fenders, if you’re using them.”
In the days before bow thrusters were as common on sportfishers as salon sofas, lines were central to controlling the bow when coming into or leaving the dock. “Coming up as a mate, spring lines were always beat into my head,” says Capt. Jon Brooks. Brooks runs the Palm Beach-based Ditch Digger, a 72-foot Viking. Early in his career Brooks worked for Capt. Timmy Hyde on the Good Grief. “The Good Grief was 53’ long. We had a 70’ spring line. Without bow thrusters, we used the spring lines to pivot coming into and going out of the marina. Our slip was right against the bulkhead. We could spring to the starboard bow pole, run it to the box cleat – moving it to the spring cleat as we pivoted.”
On commercial docks, where ships are measured in hundreds of tons, the dock line is still king. “The first vessel I worked on was a 130’ salvage boat with a single engine called the Hickory. It was built in Bath, Maine in 1932,” says Capt. Harry Schafer. “When coming in, we would approach the dock with lines attached. We would run lines out of the hawsers with monkey fists tied to the end of them. We’d throw the ropes to guys on the dock and ratchet the boat into place. There were winches fore and aft that would lock the boat into place. Big ships still do this.”
Finer Points from a Carolina Charterman
Captain Brynner Parks runs the Smoker, a 58-foot Custom Carolina out of Oregon Inlet Fishing Center. “I am 59 now. I’ve been fishing since I was 13,” says Parks. Parks provided his list of basic do’s and don’ts. “When you have teak in the cockpit or on the covering boards, you want to keep the ropes off of the teak. You can tie the ropes high enough to pylon to keep the ropes from burning the teak or rubbing the oil out of it.”
“When you get your spring lines on, you want them both to be pulling evenly. You want the lines to come tight at the same time so that they halve the load,” says Parks. “When it comes to hurricanes, it is a matter of personal preference. Some loop on the pylon, some loop on the cleat. I like to loop on the cleat – my cleats are on the covering board, not through the hawser hole. Whichever way you choose, you try to make everything even and in unison. You want to either deal with the boat or the dock, not one rope tied to the boat and one tied to the dock.”
Parks also outlines a couple things to avoid. The first applies to the angle of the rope to the cleat. You want to keep a 30 or 45-degree angle to the cleat. Don’t tie off to the pylon so high that you get a 90-degree angle,” Brynner advises. “You also want to match the size of the rope to the size of the boat. You don’t want a ½” or 3/8” rope for a 60’ boat.”
Hurricanes put as much strain on those responsible for keeping a boat safely tied as anything in the world. The Outer Banks of North Carolina, with marinas situated on sounds, add their own special set of hurricane-related variables. Captain Joey Belton runs the 61-foot Billy Holton, Haphazard, out of Pirates Cove.
“When it comes to tying up the boat, you need to determine the direction of the wind and favor that side. That’s the problem with hurricanes, the wind comes up from one direction and switches to the other. When the winds change with the hurricane, it shifts the water. Coming from one direction the wind pushes water up the Sound, when the wind shifts it can draw the water out of the sound,” Belton explains.
As the water level rises or falls, a vessel’s position relative to the dock can change. “On the one hand, you worry about boats getting higher than the flairs on the bow pylons. If that happens, when the water level drops the boat can fall the pylon, sending it through the flair. At yards like Spencer’s, their pylons are so high that this could never happen,” Joey says. “On the other hand, you also worry about the stern getting stuck under the dock when the water level drops. If the water drops and the boat shifts under the dock, it can get stuck when the water rises again.”
To avoid either of these scenarios, Belton offers the following, “You want to keep the boat as centered in the slip as possible. Sometimes we’ll babysit the boat through a storm.” As the conditions shift within the course of the storm, you will need to make adjustments to the lines. “You want to wrap the line around the cleat before you make a hitch. Otherwise, the lines will cinch down so tight that you can’t remove them.”
If you’ve ever spent time around guys that run cows or make a living in the rodeo, you may have wondered why some of them are missing fingers. The reason: ropes can be dangerous. Like a rope thrown around livestock, a dock line snapped tight by a lurching wave or current can eat a finger in a hurry.
“We have a lot of guests on the boat, I tell them all to step away from the cleat. I’ve seen more injuries trying to help with docking than anywhere else,” says Captain Jon Brooks. “One injury example is trying to put the line on the cleat. When your docking, just loop the line over the cleat – run it through later (once the boat is stationary and situated). People put the loop through the cleat and get their hand caught in the bight.”
When asked for his most important considerations when docking, Brooks’ concern for safety is clear. He advises mates to be aware of their situations and to be sure to coordinate their efforts with what the captain is doing. “Make sure that I know what you are doing before you start moving lines out the cleat,” he says. A lack of coordination between mates and captain can result in injury. If the captain moves the boat in one direction to loosen one line as it is untied from the dock, another may snap taught. A mate, or guest, who gets a hand caught between a loop and cleat by a sudden movement is a surefire trip to the ER.
Captain Harry Schafer adds, “Mates have to learn to be careful running up the side of the boat.” Whether its being caught between the side of the boat and the dock or getting a hand caught between the transom and the dock, there are plenty of ways to get hurt while docking.
“Be prepared. Have your spring line ready, your bow and stern lines ready. Generally, you’ll put your aft spring on first, then your forward spring. Then the bow or the stern, depending on your situation,” Schafer continues. “Be alert to the situation – there may be wind and current. Ask the captain what he wants to put on first, this can change according to the situation. Generally speaking spring lines are important to keep you from moving forward or aft. You’ll put your stern lines first if the wind is from the back.”
Brooks offers a couple of additional points of reference that are useful. “When untying the boat, untie the slack lines first – the windward side last. This will save time in the morning… When you are pulling out, make sure the line makes it onto the dock or the marina. The captain can get wrapped up in the marina if lines stay in the water.”
Lines at the Marina
Most of the captains who contributed to this article carry two sets of lines. Their travel lines are stowed on the boat and used in transient slips and on trips. A boat’s dock lines will stay in their home slip.
“Basically, you have the bow, stern and spring lines. Lines set at the marina remain constant. You can use the bight end on the cleat or vice versa,” Schafer says. Marking lines is a common practice that makes life easier on everyone involved. Captain Brynner Parks describes his approach when working with a new mate. “Get the boat tied up where you want it. Put electric tape to mark the rope where it fits correctly, this gives you a good guideline of where to start.”
Capt. Jon Brooks describes his approach to docking at a fixed pier. “I like to mark our lines. We spend a lot of time in Isla (Mujeres). There is a terrible surge there and you have to put the tag end on the boat. We take two or three colors of electrical tape – one for each level: normal, slack or surge. The marks allow one guy to make adjustments by himself. This is great, especially when it’s 3 am and you are rubbing on the dock.”
“At a floating dock with surge, we are tied hard to one side of the pier. As it moves, the tide moves the boat, pier and everything. All the ropes are on the starboard side – nothing on the port. In this case we use Mega-Fend yacht style fenders with covers. They are mega light and make all the difference.”
Confusion at the Dock? Knot Ever Again
In terms of common sense, not-so-exciting topics in boating, tying the boat up might rank up there with bilge pumps and drawer pulls. With any luck, and a bit of coordination, may all of your docking experiences be run of the mill. Because while it’s low on the excitement meter, tying up the boat ranks pretty high on the list of things that are better off not screwed up.
LA ROMANA DOM. REP.
March 18th 2019
For the second consecutive year, the North Carolina team wins the Marina Casa de Campo Open fishing tournament. The crew and anglers aboard the Builders Choice are champions of the third version of the Marina Casa de Campo Open, organized by Marina Casa de Campo and directed by Robert “Fly” Navarro.
The team aboard the Cabana (Fenwick Island, DE) won second place and the team aboard the Auspicious (Palm Beach, FL) won third place. Elaine “Lainey” Jones (Mama Who) won the Lady Angler category. The tournament ended with 21 Blue Marlins and two White Marlins released for 23 Billfish released in the two days of fishing.
The MCDC Open had 12 sport fishing boats competing, all the participants and guests enjoyed the various activities that started with a welcoming cocktail in the Casa de Campo Yacht Club, home of the perpetual tournament trophy.
On the first fishing day, 12 Blue Marlins were released, out of which five were released by the champions, followed by Cabana with two Blue Marlin releases and Fa-La-Me with one Blue Marlin and one White Marlin. The first day of the tournament ended with a BBQ at the Yacht Club accompanied by good music.
The second fishing day had lines in the water at 8:00AM; fishing began with a Blue Marlin double, released by Shark Byte at 8:50AM. Cabana released a Blue Marlin at 11:56AM, which automatically positioned them in second place. The three Blue Marlins released by Auspicious were released in the afternoon and placed them in third place, the last one being released just an hour before the end of the tournament.
The awards ceremony was celebrated in La Romana Country Club with a fabulous dinner and an after party with a live band and a DJ.
Marina Casa de Campo would like to extend its gratitude to all the participants and sponsors of the event. Next year the tournament will be held from March 12th-14th with more interesting novelties that will make this tournament a must during the 2020 Casa de Campo Fishing Season.