By Sue Cocking, Guy Harvey Outpost staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org I can’t think of too many outings more fun in winter than going patch fishing off Islamorada. While you are almost certain …
2011 Billfish Invitational Wrap Up!
During this week’s Billfish Invitational tournament, Fred Garth, Editor-In-Chief of Guy Harvey Magazine, will be filing a series of dispatches from tournament headquarters at the Bimini Big Game Club.
After three days of hard fishing by more than 50 anglers, the Bimini Big Game Club‘s Billfish Invitational wrapped up on Saturday with the Renaissance/Team Varsity Jacket team winning fish place on a blue marlin caught the first day. Each team saw at least one billfish in the baits and most teams jumped at least one blue marlin. Four of the fish were reported at over 500 pounds and a couple were estimated in the 300-400 pound class.
Angler Mark Benka’s hooked the top blue fish and Renaissance/Varsity Jacket team also won first fish and top angler and received the striking stainless-steel, Hemmingway-Lerner Trophy, crafted by world-famous wildlife sculptor Kent Ullberg. In addition to recognizing the overall winning team, the Hemingway-Lerner Trophy represents the ideals of friendship, teamwork and the pursuit of sportfishing achievement.
Second place went to Team Mirage, with angler Darren Davis taking the top fish. Mirage called in a hook up each day and converted on the third day at 11:20am on a 200-plus pound blue marlin caught within sight of the marina. They released the fish within 10 minutes of the hook up. Mirage also had the potential winning sailfish for the tournament but was unable to convert. Rounding out their awards, Mirage also took the prize for last blue marlin and second place marlin.
In the fun fish division, Pete Woods’ Get Reel team brought in the largest dolphin at 30.6 pounds to take first place. Second place in fun fish and top lady angler awards went to Karen Wimmer on the vessel Conquest. The Billfish Invitational was their first tournament.
Third place in the fun fish and second place lady angler went to the El Viejo team with angler Caroline Ellert. The Hard Luck trophy went to Tedd Amberg of the Hillary Lynn team for his collision with a dolphin.
Some of the toughtest competition was in the most unusual catch category where Hells Bay Hoppers, who dove with a pod of pilot whales, missed taking a first place from Team Tagline, who was able to ride and “release” a whale shark in 2500 feet of water.
The closing ceremonies ended with another fabulous dinner and a sincere endorsement from Guy Harvey, Bill Shedd, and Mark Ellert that next year’s tournament will be even better.