Sea Toy has rare grand day out
The Bermuda Marlin Triple Crown continues to run apace — and at what a pace! This week, in grouchier seas than generally preferred, the Bermuda Big Game Classic came to a conclusion, one that few would have predicted.
Here’s how it broke down: Captain James Barnes’s Reel Lax established an amazing first-place position of 2,000 points from the first day’s fishing, having released four blue marlin and leaving most of the competition in the dust, as it were.
A bit of a catch-up came when Ricky Sousa Sr boated a fish on board his son’s Hot Spot that weighed in at 605lb, taking the day’s jackpot and picking up an additional 105 points over what a release would have scored.
Reel Lax remained in contention on day two, despite having lost the day to mechanical issues. Twenty-three blue marlin and three white marlin were released and Kyle Liane, fishing on board Captain Danny Hearn’s Blank Check, brought a fine 611-pounder to the dock, setting the cat among the pigeons in the race for overall big fish.
On the third day, Captain Jerry Owens’s Playmaker really came to life, releasing three more blue marlin to add another 1,500 points to the 1,700 accumulated over the first two days. With a total of 3,200 points, Playmaker would finish in first place overall with C’Est La Vie, skippered by Captain Alfred Miller, in second with 2,200 points, narrowly eclipsing Blank Check, which finished up with 2,111 points.
But the excitement was not due to end there. Captain Peter Rans’s Overproof hooked up late in the day and Jason Friedman found a battle on his hands. A battle that went for four-and-a-quarter hours before the big fish was boated and brought to the weigh station where a crowd had assembled in the expectation of something really noteworthy. They were not disappointed as Jason’s blue tipped the scales at 930lb, winning the third-day jackpot and overall largest fish jackpot.
The High Point Lady Angler for the tournament was Elaine Jones aboard Mama Who and the High Point Junior was Luke Fletcher on Waste Knot. The Largest Gamefish category was won by Bill Pullman fishing from Captain Eric Soderholm’s No Vacancy with a 51lb wahoo.
The overall catch by the 38-strong fleet consisted of 70 blue marlin, eight white marlin and three wahoo for a 2.05 average fish per team for the event. Still excellent fishing by any standard.
Was there a few days’ breather between the end of one tournament and the start of the next and final leg of the Triple Crown? No, not really. Although it would not be until midweek that the Sea Horse Anglers Club Billfish Tournament would commence, there were ample opportunities for the visiting boats in particular to scout out the waters and do what they did best. During those days, dozens of fish were raised, hooked and released with scores ranging up to as many as five shots in a day. There were double hookups and even a suspected treble; the bite was on. On Tuesday, while working the deep water off the southeast of the island, suddenly a preferred venue for many of the boats, Captain Bull Tulson’s Sea Toy hooked into something that was immediately apparent as being of full size.
And so it proved, when after some five hours, the fish was brought to the scales where it weighed in at 1,011lb — officially a grander and the type of fish that keeps Bermuda in the big names of sport fishing. If the truth be told, only a very few really large fish are caught and landed. Many fish estimated at well over 500lb are released to carry on and do their own thing. Some are tagged in the hopes that their eventual recapture will reveal something about the movements of these pelagic wanderers while others provided anglers with a few minutes of high excitement and then are set free, regardless of size.
Onward and upward, a record-sized flotilla of 33 boats entered the Sea Horse event, with many boats in a position to shoot out of obscurity into the limelight. The fishing had been great, there was no shortage of action and there had been plenty of reports of large fish being seen or lost during the past few days.
As something of a surprise, the first hours of the tournament were largely uneventful. Conditions were far from ideal, the winds were southwesterly, producing a ground swell and a bit of chop, but eminently fishable. The skies were overcast and the humidity way up there with little signs of rain to relieve the stifling conditions.
By mid-morning only two blue marlin had been caught and released but then things started to liven up and noonday approached with the bite improving with each hour. By two o’clock, the tally was up to seven blue marlin and a solitary wahoo. With more than two full days of fishing yet to come, there is every reason to expect that this event will follow the two previous events and, before anything is decided, there will be plenty more Tight Lines!