Sea Striker rewarded for exemplary consistency
Had enough of billfish yet? The excitement of the Cup Match holiday should have gone some way to relieving those woes, although it may have resurrected others from the more fervent supporters of both teams. In any case, things do wind down a bit now and all that is left is a recap of the week that was out on the briny.
Last weekend was dominated by the final leg of the Bermuda Triple Crown Series as the fishing for the Sea Horse Anglers Billfish Tournament continued. The first day had seen 23 blue marlin caught, the second day saw a slight improvement to 25 blues and, on the Sunday, things peaked at 31 blue marlin. White marlin went from 11 the first day to eight the second and down to just four on the third day. Although the directed effort has meant very little for the other game fish species found offshore, this particular event turned up some notable catches as well.
Already a consistent point producer in the previous series events, Captain Pete Zook’s Sea Striker really came to life in the Sea Horse Anglers tournament, catching and releasing a total of six blue marlin and a solo white marlin to amass an incredible 3,100 points; enough to secure the first-place finish in that event. In second place was Auspicious with 2,700 points ahead of Debatable/Hit N Run On Time.
Top angler was Rom Whitaker, who accounted for 2,600 of Sea Striker’s impressive points total. High Point Lady Angler was Taylor Lambert on Reel Tight with 1,500 points and the High Point Junior Angler was Nicholas Haseotes on Rainmaker with 2,000 points.
Despite the numbers of blue marlin caught and released, a tournament-winning overall largest blue marlin proved elusive. Then, late on the first day of the tournament, Charles Dutranoit caught and boated a blue on Captain Carter Smith’s Game Changer. As the measurements were bandied about, speculation ran wild, and it wasn’t until the scales settled on 610 pounds that the benchmark was set.
With the numbers of blue marlin seemingly on the increase, the frustration slowly grew as anglers raked the deep water searching for a larger fish. With time running out on the final day, Sea Toy boated a candidate with the potential to displace the leader. With anticipation running high, all hopes were dashed when the fish failed to make the minimum weight and negative points were awarded, further damaging Sea Toy’s overall position.
A tight race occurred unexpectedly when Lester Petracca, on Reel Lax, weighed a fine 139.3-pound yellowfin tuna. Many assumed that this majestic fish would sweep the category and jaws dropped when, on the last day, Reel Quick’s angler Carroll Thomas weighed in a yellowfin at 158.5 pounds to claim the category.
Things were a bit more clear-cut in the Largest Wahoo category: Paul Milde’s 41.9 pounder helped to restore Sea Toy’s pride when it was the sole qualifier and winner of the category.
With the Sea Horse Anglers Club Tournament’s honours done and dusted, it was time to announce the winner of the Bermuda Triple Crown. This title had been wide open for much of the duration of the series, but it was pretty obvious that the second-place finisher in the Bermuda Blast, which had added three blue marlin releases to the total during the Classic and then run wild in the Sea Horse was the unassailable winner. This was Captain Pete Zook’s Sea Striker with a massive total of 6,200 points from the three events: a worthy winner by any standard and proof of the value of consistency.
The billfish activity remained fairly reliable over the three events. The first tournament, the Blast saw 70 marlin (44 blue, 26 white) along with three spearfish; the Classic caught 88 marlin with 21 of those being whites; but it was the Sea Horse that enjoyed a burst of activity that saw 102 marlin caught. Of those 79 were blue marlin, significantly more than in either of the other two events, along with 29 white marlin, which rounded out the action and contributed to the overall statistic of three billfish per team.
With most of the foreign fleet having now departed, naysayers should bear in mind that this month-long, high-profile angling event offers Bermuda an exposure on the world stage to precisely the market that the island has marketed for years. The positive contributions of the boats, owners, guests and crews to the island are significant, having a minimal impact on most individuals and a smaller environmental footprint than many would suggest.
Memories quickly lost in the hazes of time, anglers will now focus on more traditional angling and techniques. August is imminent and with it are expected blisteringly hot days, calm seas and an influx of large yellowfin tunas and the obvious presence of huge tiger sharks on the Banks. The recent tournaments have provided some evidence of the arrival of heavyweight yellowfins and the rest will speak for themselves.
Nearer shore, the water will be ideal for wading and swimming, and many of the inshore game species will seek out quieter, deeper, cooler waters. The doldrums of summer are here but they won’t last for ever. Enjoy them while you can. Anglers who know where to look will find fish willing to please, even if it takes an early move or a bit of an effort to arrive at some Tight Lines!!!