HAMILTON, Bermuda (July 30, 2019) – The 2019 Bermuda Triple Crown Billfish Championship saw 47 boats fish at least one leg of the series for a total purse of more than $1.2 million, plus trophies and prizes. Anglers caught 165 billfish, including 143 blues and 22 whites. The Bermuda Triple Crown has a strong following from elite billfish teams, with crews traveling from the Caribbean and United States to compete each year. In 2019, the Sea Horse Anglers Club Billfish Tournament had a record 38 teams participating.Team Reel Steel, this year’s Bermuda Triple Crown winner, was dominating throughout the three Bermuda Triple Crown tournaments, scoring 6,600 points from 12 blue marlin and three white marlin releases during nine days of fishing. The 66-foot Hines Farley was consistent in raising fish during all three events.
Utilizing a team effort, Reel Steel won two of the three legs of the Bermuda Triple Crown, including the Bermuda Billfish Blast and Sea Horse Anglers Club Billfish Tournament. They finished second place in the team division of the Bermuda Big Game Classic. The team consisted of owner Mike Verzaleno, Captain Jason Parker, mate Drake Cropper, John Cantiverii, Charles Coats, Kayla Verzaleno and Marc Verzaleno.
Runner-up Team Flyer, an 86-foot Merritt, scored 6,000 points in the Bermuda Triple Crown from 12 blue marlin releases. Team Flyer won the 2019 Bermuda Big Game Classic and was neck and neck with Reel Steel going into the third leg of the Bermuda Triple Crown. The team consisted of owners Kevin and Teresa Jaffe, Captain Bryce Garvey, mate Mike Overton, mate Mike Tarmey, Greg Axton, Dylan Jaffe, Gotzon Otxoa and Mark Woodbury.
Third place went to Team Big Deal, a 75-foot Spencer, scoring 3,700 points from seven blue marlin and one white marlin release. Big Deal had two top-10 finishes in the Bermuda Triple Crown to jump ahead of Team Pescador with 3,600 points. Team Big Deal consisted of owner Ed Russo, Captain Brian Rabbit, mate Ben Zafir, mate Sergio Vargas, Matthew Russo, Bill Pembroke, Kim Pembroke and Mike Pembroke.
All three teams entered the new Bermuda Triple Crown Jackpot at the beginning of the series, so each team received a check for their performances.
More than 200 anglers competing on 38 teams experienced three days of record fishing, releasing 91 blue marlin, 17 white marlin and a spearfish.
HAMILTON, Bermuda (July 8, 2019) – An army of fishing talent experienced flat-calm conditions offshore Bermuda for the 2019 Bermuda Billfish Blast. A total of 248 anglers on 42 boats fished hard for three days, July 4-6, competing for marlin releases and coveted qualifying blue marlin to weigh in. Three days of fishing produced 38 blue marlin and 10 white marlin releases during the event, with most blues ranging in the 200- to 400-pound class. After lines out on day three, Team Reel Steel totaled two blue and two white marlin releases to win the 2019 Bermuda Billfish Blast.
As the competition intensified each day, no one team was able to pull away from the pack. In fact, no team that won a Daily Marlin Release Jackpot finished in the overall top three. The blue marlin bite increased each day but wasn’t as spectacular as 2018. Day one recorded 10 releases, day two saw 12 releases, and day three logged 16 blue marlin releases. Blue marlin releases were worth 500 points, garnering all the attention, while species such as white marlin and spearfish scored 200 points.
DAY ONE, JULY 4
Team Bree, captained by Kyle Liane, jumped out to an early lead on day one of the Bermuda Billfish Blast. The team released two blue marlin (1,000 points) by anglers Karl Minzenberg and Randy Ringhaver. The two blues were enough to win both levels of the Daily Marlin Release Jackpot and control the leaderboard.
Team Waste Knot, captained by Michael Tickle, was close behind with 700 points from one blue and one white marlin. Angler Scott Poole caught and released both fish. Teams Freyja, Legacy, Flyer, Big Deal, Blank Check, Reel Addiction and Auspicious all had great days too, recording one blue marlin release. The leaderboard was tight after day one.
DAY TWO, JULY 5
Team Stacked Up, captained by Snick Akers, got in on the action in a big way during day two. The newcomers to the Bermuda Triple Crown landed a blue marlin and white marlin for 700 points to win both levels of the Daily Marlin Release Jackpot. Angler Mike Engelman was in the chair for both fish. Team Reel Steel, captained by Jason Parker, was close behind, landing a blue marlin and a white marlin. Although Reel Steel and Stacked Up both caught the same number of fish, for the same amount of points, tournament rules dictate whichever team caught their fish earlier breaks the tiebreaker.
After two days of fishing, Bree held the lead with two blue marlin releases (1,000 points). Teams Flyer and Legacy also had two blue marlin releases (1,000 points). Team Stacked Up and Reel Steel were behind the top three places with 900 points each. Just one white marlin release was the difference between the top five teams after two days of fishing. Also, after two days of fishing, no team landed a marlin to weigh for the Largest Marlin jackpots.
DAY THREE, JULY 6
On day three, two teams that blanked the first two days stole the show.
Team Uno Mas, captained by Brooks Smith, landed two blue marlin and a white marlin for 1,200 points on day three. Anglers Jeremy Cabillo and Drew MacDowell each caught a blue, with MacDowell also releasing a white marlin. Uno Mas’ second blue marlin made the team think twice about boating the fish. A lengthy fight and oversize head had the blue marlin close to the 500-pound mark. For their three releases, Uno Mas won both levels of the Daily Marlin Release Jackpot. The points they scored on day three had them just 200 points behind the eventual winners
Team Sea Angel, captained by BC Angel, hooked one fish all tournament — but that fish was a game changer. On day three, angler Austin Angel came tight on a blue marlin and fought the fish for less than 2 hours. When they got the fish boat side, the team made the right call to gaff the fish and boat it. Back at the weigh-in docks, the fish weighed 509 pounds, just 9 pounds heavier than the 500-pound qualifying weight.
The Bermuda Billfish Blast offers optional winner-take-all Largest Marlin jackpots at two levels. The team that catches the largest blue marlin over 500 pounds wins the entire jackpot if they enter levels one and two. In the past, if the Largest Marlin Jackpot wasn’t won on July 4, the jackpot money was awarded to the top three boats in the Overall Billfish Release Jackpot. Tournament rules changed in 2019 allowing teams to weigh-in qualifying blue marlin on days two and three if no fish were weighed the prior day. For their catch on day three, Sea Angel won both levels of the winner-take-all Largest Marlin Jackpot.
Team Reel Steel, captained by Jason Parker, scored 1,400 points to win first-place team, totaling two blue marlin and two white marlin releases. The team of anglers consisted of Mike Verzaleno, Marc Verzaleno, Drake Cropper, Big Mike Verzaleno and Charles Coats. They also won the first-place Overall Release Points Jackpot. Total Winnings were $77,400 and an invitation to the 2020 Offshore World Championship. Other prizes included King Sailfish Mounts trophies, Maui Jim sunglasses, VanMark Jewelry Designers marlin pendants, a Yeti cooler, Steve Goione prints, Release Marine custom trophy, Soundview Millwork trophies, Big-T lures and Bacardi spirits.
Team Sea Angel, captained by BC Angel, landed a 509-pound blue marlin to win both levels of the winner-take-all Largest Marlin Jackpot. The team of anglers consisted of Nolan Raunswinter, Randy Estes, Andrea Angel, Greg Angel, Austin Angel and Tyler Lindorf. Total Winnings were $100,800.
Team Waste Knot, captained by Michael Tickle, scored 1,200 points to win second-place team, totaling one white marlin and two blue marlin releases. The team also won second-place Overall Release Points Jackpot. Waste Knot anglers included Scott Poole, Ven Poole, Chelsea Poole, Scott Poole, Jr, Thompson Brown and Chase Dalce. Total winnings were $45,180. Other prizes included King Sailfish Mounts trophies, Steve Goione print, Big T Lures, Soundview Millworks trophies, Maui Jim sunglasses and Bacardi spirits.
Team Auspicious, captained by Edward “Cookie” Murray, scored 1,200 points to win the third-place team, totaling one white marlin and two blue marlin releases. The team also won third-place Overall Release Points Jackpot. Team Auspicious consisted of Kevin Stafford, David Soares, Carl Copeland, Joseph Rahman, Mark Brochu, John Copeland and John Given. Total winnings were $25,920. Other prizes included King Sailfish Mounts trophies, Steve Goione print, Big T Lures, Soundview Millworks trophies, Maui Jim sunglasses and Bacardi spirits.
Team Bree, captained by Kyle Liane, scored 1,000 points on day one from two blue marlin to win both levels of the Day One Marlin Release Jackpot. Team Bree consisted of Colin Murphy, Ian Fletcher, Randy Ringhaver, Royal Hendrix, Karl Minzenberg and Shelley Minzenberg. Total winnings were $33,600. Other prizes included King Sailfish Mounts trophies, Steve Goione print, Big T Lures, and Maui Jim sunglasses.
Team Stacked Up, captained by Snick Akers, scored 700 points on day two from one white marlin and one blue marlin to win both levels of the Day Two Marlin Release Jackpot. Team Stacked Up consisted of Scott Miller, James Nantz, John Seitzer, Mike Engelman, Heather Serriani, and Lisa Serirani. Total winnings were $33,600. Other prizes included King Sailfish Mounts trophies, Steve Goione print, Big T Lures, and Maui Jim sunglasses.
Team Uno Mas, captained by Brooks Smith, scored 1,200 points on day three from one white marlin and two blue marlin to win both levels of the Day Three Marlin Release Jackpot. Team Uno Mas consisted of Maria Smith, Sean Gallagher, Drew MacDowell, David Mothershed, Jeremy Cabillo and Jeremy Quinos. Total winnings were $33,600. Other prizes included King Sailfish Mounts trophies, Steve Goione print, Big T Lures, and Maui Jim sunglasses.
TOP ANGLER AND JUNIOR ANGLER
Angler Marc Verzaleno, of Team Reel Steel, scored 1,400 points to win the top junior and top angler of the 2019 Bermuda Billfish Blast. Verzaleno’s 1,400 points came from two blue marlin and two white marlin releases. His prizes included King Sailfish Mounts trophies, Soundview Millworks trophies, Steve Goione print, Big T Lures and Maui Jim sunglasses.
TOP LADY ANGLER
Angler Laura Russell, of Team Hit N Run, scored 1,000 points from two blue marlin, to win the top lady angler of the 2019 Bermuda Triple Crown. Other prizes included King Sailfish Mounts trophies, Soundview Millworks trophies, VanMark Jewelry Designers earrings, Steve Goione print, Big T Lures and Bacardi Spirits.
The 2019 Bermuda Billfish Blast tournament, presented by the Bermuda Tourism Authority, culminated in a highly popular awards banquet dinner in the Harbourview Ballroom at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess Hotel. More than 350 people were in attendance. The tournament awarded $350,000, plus trophies and prizes. For more information, visit www.bermudatriplecrown.com.