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Day 1 Results - July 8, 2004

Coming off the heels of the dramatic World Cup Win, Bermuda continues to produce good numbers of fish with encounters of behemoth blue marlin occurring frequently.

The fourth annual Bermuda Big Game Classic started Wednesday night July 7 with the Final Registration, Kickoff Party, and Captains meeting held at the beautiful Fairmont Hamilton Princess Ballroom. The gala affair included delicious food, Bacardi spirits, great door prizes and plenty of expectation on what the week might bring. By the end of the night the tournament recorded a record 43 boats from 30' to 80' with the competitors coming from the U.S., England, Spain, Thailand, Hong Cong and Bermuda. The cash and prizes purse pushed over $375,000 giving plenty to shoot for over the three days of fishing.

Six sport fishing yacht manufacturers, Ocean, Bertram, Viking, Hatteras, Merritt and Briggs Boat Works are competing in the New Marlin Magazine Manufacturers Cup division. A total of 13 boats are in this tournament division and will be competing for $9,000, recognition on the Perpetual Trophy and a two page feature recognition in Marlin Magazine. Special thanks to the Bermuda Department of tourism, the City of Hamilton and the sport fishing community of Bermuda for all the fantastic support.

The first day of fishing started with a new boat parade, which will become tradition for the tournament. Boats decorated with flags lined up at 6:45 a.m. in front of the Princess behind Allen DeSilva's De Mako. Tournament director Dan Jacobs announced the start of the parade and the boats slowly moved down the harbor to two rocks passage. Guests, family and friends waved as the impressive fleet of boats moved by.

The boats started fishing at 8:00 a.m. this morning with the first hookup at 8:11 on Betsy VII . Angler Mike Browser quickly released a white marlin to get things started earning the team 200 points. Reel Tight hooked up soon after with a blue one at 8:31 and angler Jim Lambert successfully released the fish at 8:44 to take the early lead with 500 points. Next it was Challenger's turn with angler David Lines hooking up to a bigger fish. They were also successful releasing the fish at 9:52. Captain Card estimated the fish to be close to 500 pounds. Smooth Operator and lady angler Rebecca Hawn got things started for them at 9:02 and was also successful releasing a blue marlin at 9:32.

De Mako
and Sea Wolfe also hooked blues but weren't as fortunate as the other boats getting the morning bite luck. The bite continued to be steady with PJ, Knock Down, Sea Wolfe , and Panchdara hooking up during the 10:00 hour. PJ and Panchdara released blues, Knockdown a white with Sea Wolfe still only having half the luck. Knockdown got it going again with Jim West's blue marlin release at 11:11 giving them 700 points and the unofficial lead.

The marlin decided to spread it around today with yet another boat, Ocean 62 and angler John Leek IV releasing a blue to get on the board. PJ fired it up again with a hook up at 11:46 on a blue and ended up two for two on the day when angler Kristin Smith angled to the boat. PJ was now the unofficial leader with 1000 points. Sea Wolfe changed out the rubber hooks and got on the board with a white release at 12:17 p.m. The lunch hour proved successful for Lloyd Hopkins on Kerry D with a blue release with Bree and Bones pulling hooks on blues.

As we all know Bermuda is known for it's large blue marlin and consistent fishing in July. Between 1:09 and 1:33 Lone Star, Aquadisiac and Challenger all hooked up with blue marlin. Lone Star and Aquadisiac were successful with releases as Challenger continued to do battle. Then the radio cracked with Alan Card " Pulled the hook on a grander, it was huge!. Testing the seriousness of Card's statement boats inquired about the true size. The answer and demeanor left no doubt it was the one the fleet was all looking for. Topless with angler Scott Steele released a white, Off Piste , Offshore Lady and Bigge Mac all released blues bringing the fleet total to 14 blue releases and 4 whites unofficially. With two minutes to lines out at Southern Exposure was hooked up and intended to release the fish.

All teams headed back to the docks for the weigh-in and release photo check at Barr's Bay Park. They were greeted by flowing Bacardi spirits, music and story telling of the big one that got away. All teams releasing fish needed to have digital images or video clearly showing the fish, time & date stamp and the finger control code provided at the time of release by tournament control. The Bermuda Big Game Classic uses this very unique format to ensure the type of fish and that it was caught during tournament hours.

Special thanks to Jennifer Dudas of the BBC for sharing her expertise and help with release photo check-in. Blue marlin releases are worth 500 points, white marlin 200 points, sailfish and spearfish are 100 points. Teams also brought in any yellowfin tuna, wahoo or dolphin caught as there is a nice game fish prize for the heaviest game fish of the tournament.

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