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