July 10, 2004
Last day of fishing for the Bermuda Big Game Classic continues to produce a solid bite and plenty of drama.
The final day began as the first two, sunny skies, 10 knot SW breeze, two to four foot seas and a hook up just after lines in. Reel Addiction released a white by 8:14 to get things started. Bigga Mac , Off Piste and Overproof all hooked up during the 8:00 hour with blue marlin and successfully photographed and released the fish. This put Bigga Mack and Off Piste back in the game with 1000 points early in the day. The team on In Depth was the only team to release a marlin in the 9:00 hour with their first blue.
A slow period followed but Raul Miranda made sure everyone was entertained by witty commercials broadcast over the radio containing recipes for "Happy Water and Smart Water" with the main ingredient always being Bacardi. As the tournament control room ordered room service the marlin also began their lunchtime feeding. For Waste Knot, Stagger Lee, Bigga Mac and Kerry D it meant blue marlin releases with In Depth releasing a white. Now the heat was on for the leaders as these teams were catching up fast.
The team on Bones was chumming for tuna and live baiting for marlin as Offshore Lady trolled by. It must have been entertaining and frustrating at the same time as the crew on Bones watched a blue marlin eat the plastic and proceed to rip up the ocean. After the release Offshore Lady headed back to the area and repeated the feat releasing yet another blue. As the two captains chatted about what had just happened the rest of the fleet nervously watch either their lead diminish were left further behind. Bones diligent chumming did produce a Game Fish Division winning 70 –pound yellowfin.
Off Piste got on the scoreboard again with a white release moving them to within one marlin release of the money. With just over two hours to go one white marlin release could mean a total shift from yesterdays leaders with the Overall and Daily Marlin Jackpots still up for grabs as no team had boated a fish for the day. At 2:49 both Kerry D and De Mako hooked up on blue marlin, then Reel Tight who was completely silent for the day also called in a hook-up on a blue one. If successful Reel Tight's fish would move them into first place and a possible tournament win. If no team in the Overall Jackpot successfully landed a fish over 500 pounds it would go to the team with the most release points which could be Reel Tight .
Yesterday's big winners and current leader Lone Star must have been pacing the cockpit as they watched their lead diminish during the day. Reel Tight quickly dispatched of the blue giving them 2000 points and putting them ahead of Lone Star . De Mako also released their blue increasing their points in the tournament.
The angler on Kerry D continued the fight as Captain David Soares called tournament control for a release code. "Can I have a release code if I need one" director Dan Jacobs replied sensing the fish could be a qualifier, "your code will be 5 as in over 500 pounds" Soares called back again, Dan does anyone have three releases today. Director Jacobs quickly let the team know what their scenario was and asked them to put a tape on the fish if it looked to be in good shape and could handle the extra time. Soares did just that and sheepishly called back, "control we have boated the fish". Knowing the fish was close Soares agonized about the decision and showed up at the weigh station on pins and needles.
A qualifier meant the Overall Jackpot, Daily Jackpot and Third Place Team. As the fish was slowly lifted Weigh Master Raul Miranda kept a close eye on the rising weight. The team made up of three anglers catching their first Blue Marlin and seasoned veteran Captain Soares could hardly take the pressure. Once settled in director Jacobs climbed atop the crane and asked the spectators what they thought, then bellowed out 533-pounds they have done it! This fish is worth over 100,000 to the team on Kerry D . High fives, hugs and true joy for the team swept the park.
Now all Kerry D had to do was get their release photograph approved and a third place finish would add to the winnings and days accomplishment. They did just that and then director Jacobs made sure the appropriate saltwater baptism was performed and ended up in the sea with the team as the celebration continued.
The team on Reel Tight now had to get their release photo checked and approved to receive the additional 500 points needed to edge out the competition. Mate Rob "Fly" Navarro showed up with fingernails bitten so short some were actually bleeding. "I had to turn off the radio at one point, all I wanted to do was catch a blue marlin. Tell me what is going on". What was going on was a feat not easily duplicated in tournament fishing. Angler Jim Lambert and the crew on Reel Tight went four for four on blue marlin bites during the tournament to narrowly edge out the other highly skilled 42 teams giving them the first place win of the Fourth Annual Bermuda Big Game Classic. The team also won the most Billfish Releases division and polished things off winning the Marlin Magazine Manufacturer's Cup Championship division for Merritt Yachts.
In total the fleet photographed and released 39 blue and 9 white marlin with three marlin weighed over the 500-pound minimum. The Sunday celebration started at Bacardi's International Headquarters with spirits flowing and great sushi. The evening continued with a banquet full of great food, more spirits, slide show and the always-popular banquet video presentation. The Fairmont Hamilton Princess Harbourview Ballroom was the perfect setting for the awards presentation. Congratulations to our Tournament Champion and Marlin Magazine Manufacturer Cup Champion Jim Lambert and the crew of Reel Tight
. Thanks again for all who attended and we hope to see you back next year.