CAPT. JOHN DUDAS, Sandman, 1,000 points
Buccaneer Cup, 1st Place – 500 pts.
Jimmy Johnson’s Quest for the Ring, 1st Place – 500 pts.
CAPT. JOHN DUDAS, Sandman, 1,000 points
Buccaneer Cup, 1st Place – 500 pts.
Jimmy Johnson’s Quest for the Ring, 1st Place – 500 pts.
South Florida (January 16, 2020) – Brought to you by Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla., the 9th Annual Jimmy Johnson’s “Quest for the Ring” Championship Fishing Week (JJFISHWEEK) expanded its boundaries and took over all of South Florida, March 3-7, 2020, with fishing options available in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and Key Largo spanning over 112 miles, and hosting the ultimate parties at the iconic new Guitar Hotel at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fl. Annually boasting the World’s RICHEST guaranteed purse, this tournament, led by the newest pro hall of fame inductee, Coach Jimmy Johnson, hosts the largest fleet in South Florida and is ALL about the RING, presented annually by Contender Boats, powered by Yamaha Outboards, and fueled by Papa’s Pilar.
98 teams joined together for 5 days of events and the ultimate sportfishing experience, which included a 2-day Billfish Championship, featuring a Catch & Release Division hosting 82 of the 98 teams, and a Weighted Division, with tournament days taking place Thursday, March 5 and Friday, March 6, from three official marinas: Ocean Reef Marina, Miami Beach Marina, and Bahia Mar Marina. 435 sailfish and 1 white marlin were released and 65 fish were weighed in.
The winners were decided by a nail-biting :26 seconds. Additionally, the tournament week included a private Hard Rock tournament and a 1-Day Celebrity Charitable Pro Am, which was supposed to occur Saturday out of Papa’s Pilar Captain’s Quarters at Bahia Mar in Fort Lauderdale, but unfortunately due to weather, was turned to a simulation competition at PLA, the new interactive game bar at Seminole Hard Rock.
The event week started Tuesday night with a Kick Off at Daer Rooftop, presented by GlassTech, Captains Meeting at The Comedy Club, presented by American Custom Yachts and Seakeeper, and Private Invite Only Champions Dinner at Abiaka, hosted by LPL Financial and Papa’s Pilar. Wednesday was a pre-fish day, which ended with dockparties at all three host marinas. Friday started the weekend events at Hard Rock with a Weekend Kick off and Celebrity Meet & Greet at Daer DAYCLUB, presented by KM Relief and Hines Securities and, Saturday closed out the week at the Hard Rock Event Center for the Ultimate Gifting Suite, hosted in part by Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, featuring over 40 sponsors gifting complimentary gifts to all registered anglers of the tournament, who walked away with $7,000+ gifts per team, and the over the top Closing Awards Bash, hosting 1,400 members of the fishing community for the final celebration.
The guaranteed payout for the Billfish Championship is set as a hybrid payout, annually guaranteed at $1Million and based on boat entry, accrues for every 10 additional paid teams above 85 in the Catch & Release Division. Addition to the Billfish Championship payout, the Hard Rock tournament includes a $500,000 prize payout, and $100,000 were gifting to charity with the Celebrity Pro-Am simulation competition tournament for a total of $1.6 Million in prizes gifted throughout the event week.
This year’s tournament top honors in the Catch & Release Division went to:
The 2020 Champions with 12 releases winning a total of $238,000 and another RING in Coach Johnson’s RING OF HONOR: SANDMAN
The 63’ Spencer registered to Fort Lauderdale with Captain John Dudas at the helm from Miami, Fl and owner Sandra MacMillan from Minneapolis, MN receiving Top Female Angler, featuring anglers Domi Adams, Alex Castalonos, Jeffrey Liederman, Ryan Montesino, Robbie Ramirez, receiving Top Master Angler, and Robbie Watick.
2nd Place for a total of $195,000 with 12 releases: De-Bait-Able, the 62 Viking out of Palm Beach with Captain KJ Zeher at the helm and owned by Mike Walsh
3rd Place for a total of $66,500 with 11 releases: ReelEstate / Shell Yeah, the 39 SeaVee out of West Palm Beach, with Captain Dallas Twist and owner Todd Minnick
4th Place for a total of $100,000 with 11 releases: Reel Easy, the 62’ Viking out of Jupiter, Fl with Captain Jon McIntyre
5th Place for a total of $47,000 with 10 releases: Marc Sherry Fishing Team on the CaribSea, 46’ Guthrie out of Islamorada owned by Kenny Spaulding and chartered by Marc Sherry, owner of Old Homestead Steakhouse
6th Place for a total of $23,000 with 10 releases: Smile Maker , the 37 Freeman owned by Dr. Bill Sullivan and captained by James Chappell out of Islamorada
7th Place for a total of $6,000 with 10 releases: Weez In the Keys, the 58’ Merritt out of Miami Beach, Fl captained by Chris Zelinski and owned by Scott Robins
8th Place for a total of $120,000 with 9 releases: JICHI, the 61’ Paul Mann out of Coral Gables, Fl captained by Hannibal Moya and owned by Luis Isais
Additional prizes were awarded to PRICELESS, DOUBLE DIAMOND, WET DREAM, JUST DO IT, FISH TALES, SERAPHIM, BAR SOUTH, HARDWAY/DOING IT ALL, FROST BITE, LUNATICO, OUTNUMBERED, AND TAR BABY.
On the weighted division:
The Overall winner with an aggregate weight of 66.5LBs weighing in a 35lb Kingfish and a 31.5lb Kingfish,
For a total winnings of: $42,500 : TEKEZE CHARTERS
The 34 SeaVee out of Islamorada is captained by Charles Hertel, Angler Amanda Gale, Emily Gale, Ryan Hullihan, Patrick Jackson, Tommy Twyford, and owned by Harris Katz, out of Coral Springs, Fl.
2nd place weighing in an aggregate weight of 59,5 for their kingfish winning a total of $20,000: ONE MORE Sportfishing, a 43’ Everglades led by Captain Brandon Singh and owned by Patrick Lewis out of Atlanta, Ga.
Additional prizes were awarded to BELOW ME, OSH-IT, HELLREYZER, TOUCH OF GREY, and ADVANCED ROOFING/SAILSMEN.
In the Hard Rock division:
The overall winner with a total of 114 points was team: OSH-IT , a 72’ Viking led by Captain Jim Puller and owned by Marc Osheroff .
Additional prizes were awarded to BIG SMOOTH, CATCH 23, TOO MANY MARTINIS, and CHASIN’ TAIL.
The Celebrity Pro-Am was attended by some of Coach Johnson’s former players and friends and the tournament saw some celebrities throughout the billfish tournament participants, to include Jonathan Vilma, DJ Williams, Brian Griese, Russell Maryland, Alex Gonzalez, Worldwide Wes, Desmond Howard, Brett Romberg, Bennie Blades, Charles Johnson, Twan Russell, Michael Jordan, Michael Vick, and Willie Young Jr.. Thanks to KM Relief and Hines Securities, the Celebrity Pro-Am gifted $100,000 in charitable monies to Tranquil Shores Foundation, Fishing for Muscular Dystrophy, and the University of Miami.
10Reel Life :9
11Fish Tales :9
13Wet Dream :9
15Lights Out :9
16Frost Bite :9
The 57th Annual Buccaneer Cup Sailfish Tournament was held January 22-25, 2020 off of Palm Beach. A total of 160 sailfish were released, The prize, a purse in excess of $250,000, the prestigious and beautiful Buccaneer Cup trophies for the top three boats, and bragging rights for placing in one of the oldest and most enduring billfish tournaments in the world.
Add to that the knowledge that the tournament proceeds benefits the Recreational Fishing Alliance and The Billfish Foundation, made the event all that more important. Teams fish a format giving them the choice to fish any two out of three possible days. With a cold front pushing through just before the first day, teams were rewarded with steady fishing. Although damp conditions put a damper on day two a northwest wind kept the bite consistent through lines out on the last day.
Courtney Bowden, currently in her seventh year as director of the Buc Cup, did a spectacular job running one of the best-organized and classiest billfish tournaments on the east coast. Along with her team of volunteers and committee members including staff from the RFA and TBF, she has made the Buc one of the most exciting and talked about tournaments of the season. The comradery displayed by the teams in attendance proved to everyone that the Buc Cup is most definitely back! Having team after team noting this was the most fun tournament they had fished in a while.
The tournament opened with the Captains meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 22 held outdoors at the recently completed private Tiki Bar at the Rybovich Marine Center (North). The meeting was sponsored by Yamaha, the Viking Yacht Company and HMY Yacht Sales. Robert “Fly” Navarro emceed the event, with his signature electric energy. Although it was cold and damp, participants raved about the pig roast dinner, texting Bowden, “it was the best food they have ever had at a Captains meeting.”
A few changes were made for 2020 adding an all-new TBF tagging category and junior angler award. The meeting included raffle items provided by the long list of tournament sponsors, featuring: Engel Coolers filled with goodies, Costa del Mar sunglasses, Maxel Reels, lures, AFTCO, Hi-Liner Offshore Tackle, Grand Slam Sport Fishing, Avid sportswear, Outrigger Yacht Products, Kohler, Kraft Power and Mustad to name a few.
The majority of the fleet decided to fish on day one, and lay on Friday. Leaving Saturday which, based on the forecast, held the best conditions of the three available fishing days.
Tournament Director (Bowden) wrote; “This year each day was a wild card. And we never knew who would pull into the lead at any point. The Wicked Wahine slayed day one with consistent releases and 2400 points on dead bait. Team Two Cats was not far behind having consistent days on one and two. But Sandman is the team who came out on top with a total of 2800 points on live bait taking the lead in the last hour of the tournament and taking home over $131,900!
In addition to the top three teams, Team Good Call, took home the first-ever sailfish tagging award with a total of 7 tags deployed safely and in accordance with TBF guidelines. History was also made by Jill Yates, of The Eights Eights who became not only our top female angler but also the TOP OVERALL ANGLER of the tournament, making her the first female top overall angler in the history of the Buccaneer Cup.
“We had a phenomenal group of competitors and teams this year! History was made, fishing was consistent and you certainly won’t find any other tournament having this much fun on the radio” said Bowden.
To add to the excitement, Sportfish Outfitters provided a chase boat for one day and the Buccaneer Marina generously donated the use of their helicopter and pilot for the official photographer, Steve Momot of @ah360views to take aerial photos of the fleet on the final fishing day! And what an exceptionally beautiful day it was!
The winning teams flooded The Sailfish Club of Florida on Palm Beach Island, Saturday Jan. 25 to receive their awards and celebrate with a full surf and turf buffet that the historical club is known for, seating over 250 guests for the awards dinners and taking home some very large checks and the coveted Buccaneer Cups!
“Thanks for putting on a great tournament! It’s come a long way in the past few years thanks to your dedication. Well done!” – Richard Robinson (Southern Run) “Just wanted to congratulate you on an amazing job coordinating the Buc Cup. It was my first time competing and in comparison to other sailfish tournaments you do a top-notch job. Bravo to you and your volunteer staff”. – Juan Ruiz (Team Gypsea)
“What a fantastic event this was! We were so incredibly happy to be a part of a very prestigious venue with great fishermen! The Buccaneer Cup is a high-class event and we loved being a part of it. Thank you, Courtney for a spectacular event – we will see you next year!” – Frank Fini and Gerrard Weigold (Double Diamond/ Outnumbered)
“Thank you for putting on an awesome weekend for us, we all had a blast. And, the best food I’ve ever had at a captain’s meeting too. This will surely be one of our regular yearly tournaments now.” – Taylor Sanford
The top angler trophies went to Jill Yates on the Eight Eights, who also took home the top female angler award.
Top 3 teams: Sandman, Wicked Wahine, Two Cats
The Buccaneer Cup Tournament cash award for the Most Points on Live Bait ($10,000) went to the Sandman, which pocketed $131,950 total. Most Points on Dead Bait ($10,000) went to Wicked Wahine, the team receiving a check for $24,580 in total purse for their win. The InTheBite Top Captain cup was awarded to Captain John Dudas, who led team Sandman to victory.
New for 2020 the TBF top tagging team was awarded to Team Good Call with 7 total tags successfully and safely deployed with video validation.
The awards dinner was emceed by Robert “Fly” Navarro and Courtney Bowden. Pat Healey, President of Viking Yachts and member of the RFA Board of Directors, welcomed participants and spoke on the
importance of the support the industry receives from the RFA. Pat presented Ellen Peel of the Billfish Foundation with a check to aid the organization in its ongoing efforts to advance the science used for billfish management and assessment.
Great strides are being made by both organizations to ensure the longevity of our fisheries and industry. The awards banquet was sponsored by MTU Marine Power, Florida Detroit Diesel Allison, and Johnson and Towers.
Sponsors included YAMAHA OUTBOARDS, MTU Diesel, Florida Detroit Diesel Allison, Johnson & Towers, Viking Yachts, Viking Service Center, HMY Yacht Sales, The Buccaneer Marina, C. Nicklaus Starling, Jupiter Beach Spa & Resort, Downey Yachts, Contender Boats, American Custom Yachts, Akzo Nobel-Interlux Paint, Seakeeper, Garmin, Kohler, Electrosea, Sportfish Outfitters, Christi/Travelers Insurance, Atlantic Marine Electronics, American Fishing Wire/Hi-Seas, Release Marine, Reel Time Apps, Rybovich Marina, and Outrigger Marine Products.
2021 dates for the 58th Buccaneer Cup TBA.
First Place: Sandman, Capt. John Dudas, 2800
Second Place: Wicked Wahine, 2400
Third Place: Two Cats, Capt. Nathan Benz, 2400
First Place: Sweet Release/Buckalot, Capt. Chris White, 800
Second Place: Tar Baby, Capt. JP White, 700
Third Place: Hope, Capt. Floyd Leach, 500
Homeport: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
1,200 points include: Buccaneer Cup, 3rd Place; Sailfish Challenge, 1st Place; Jimmy Johnson’s Quest for the Ring, 1st Place; Final Sail, 3rd Place
Not only is Captain John Louis Dudas in contention for the Captain of the Year in Florida every year, Dudas was named InTheBite’s Captain of the Year in both 2007 and 2009. Add to Dudas’ consistency and skill in finding sailfish in tournament situations, the Sandman fishing team is powered by an owner and crew who are as dedicated to fishing as is perhaps [Read more…]
KEY LARGO, Florida Keys — Team Seraphim of Ocean Reef, led by Captain Jerry Pohl of Miami, Florida, tallied 12 sailfish releases to take top honors at the two-day Billfish Championship, a main event of the Jimmy Johnson Fishing Championship Week that ended March 9 in the Florida Keys.
The Seraphim team earned $405,000 in overall prize money for the victory, as well as authentic, custom-designed Jimmy Johnson’s NBC Championship rings for each team member. [Read more…]