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Results July 16-17, 2005

July 16

The waters off Bermuda continue to produce consistent hookups with large blue marlin with a few nice yellowfin tuna thrown in for good measure.  Today is the last day of fishing for the Classic participants.  The leaders are only one fish from each other with several teams only needing two to reach the top.  Daily release and heaviest fish jackpots are also up for grabs as each day produces chances to win big.  Throw in the real chance of catching a grander and you have the recipe for the Classic.

As usual it didn't take long for things to get started.  Team Southern Exposure was knocked off the lead yesterday by Treasure Isle's stellar day so a hookup at 8:05 had their spirits lifted early.  Team Bigga Mac also got in the game early with angler Randy Burgess moving to the chair at 8:11.  Both teams released their blues in short order providing valuable points for both the Classic and Triple Crown.  Stingray, Smooth Operator and Panchdara were next on the tournament log.  Panchdara's fish turned out to be a wahoo that would make the minimum weight for the game fish competition.  Smooth Operators fish dropped off but Stingray's fish held tight as angler Jamie Todd fought on.  Captain Alan Card on Challenger scored next with angler David Lines Jr. releasing a blue at 9:25.  Then it was Last Stall's turn with Captain John Teal at the helm.  Angler Melissa Brader brought the fish to the leader and the team recorded the release at 10:18. Last Stall was fishing with a bad shaft but would not be denied competing in the tournament and Triple Crown.  We appreciate their efforts to get into the competition!  Fighting for over an hour the call came from Stingray that they had boated the first fish of the day. Unfortunately for them the fish fell just seven pounds short of making the minimum 500-pound weight.  A series of lost fish ensued as the marlin seemed to play Houdini with the anglers.  One that didn't get away was Carter Frith's fish on Reel Addiction adding 500 more release points for the team.  Other teams scoring their first points in the tournament were Outlaw and Trick Shot.  Word had spread about the east banks bite so more teams had left the more well known Challenger and Argus Banks to pursue the pod of marlin on the East side. Due to the growth of the tournament and more visiting boats are exploring the island new marlin grounds are being discovered.  Bermuda's treasure chest of marlin is only now being opened and soon anglers will find the whole island holds large Atlantic blue marlin.  One boat that was fishing the East bank decided to make a run to Challenger.  The move paid off as Tantrum and angler Liz Munt hooked up to a fat one at 1:28.  The fish tipped the scales at 569-pounds giving them a shot at the daily jackpot. 

Team Rum Bum added to their score with Luis Bacardi letting a blue go at 2:02.  Several more marlin magic tricks frustrated teams with pulled hooks but Marlinizer managed a white release at 3:23.  One team that was hooked up solid was Overproof.  At 1:53 the call came in angler Peter Bromby was fighting a large fish. An hour and a half later captain Peter Rans called control and informed them they were still hooked up but the fish was straight down and had died.  Now the task at hand was to plane the large fish to the surface for landing.  The difficulty is you must be able to apply at least ten percent drag on the reel of the fish's weight and pull against the current.  Patients and stamina is key for crew and angler in this situation not to mention terminal tackle holding up under extreme pressure.  Another three hours went by as the rest of the teams headed in after the 4:00 p.m. lines out.  As everyone enjoyed the Bacardi bar Overproof kept working.  They had until midnight to get the fish to the scales if they could bring the fish up. Finally at 5:30 the call came they had the fish but it was too big to get into the boat because they didn't have a transom door and the block & tackle they had couldn't do the job.  Now the team had to tie the fish to the back and hope it didn't get into the props. 

Another concern were the large tiger sharks that show up to take a bite of your catch. Back at the Barr's Bay Park teams waited to see the fish.  Overproof slowly made their way in nervously watching out for jaws and making sure the fish was clear of the props.  As they came around PW's Marina at 8:30 p.m. cheers that they had made it erupted from the crowd.  Now it was time to weigh the fish and see if they could beat the 569 from Tantrum.  Once again the scene of zeroing the scales and attaching the weigh strap to the tail played out then the crane slowly lifted the fish.  Once settled into position the call came on the weight, eight hundred and fifty pounds!  Overproof had done it!

July 17
The Classic spares no expense when it comes to the celebration night.  Teams, guests and sponsors are treated to two hours of sushi and open bar at Bacardi International headquarters.  Following the cocktail reception a lavish gourmet dinner buffet is provided at the Harborview Ballroom at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess Hotel.  The wine flows at each table while conversations of the weeks fishing and beautiful amenities fill the air.  The entertainment included a slide show of the tournaments events followed by the always-popular awards banquet video produced by Dan Grissom.  Cheers, whistles, gasps and laughter rise from the crowd as the images of jumping marlin, winning fish and festive parties light up the screen. Special thanks to the tournament committee Natasha & Mark Lloyd, Mark Badzinski, Jennifer Dudas, Raul Miranda, Steve & Terri Goione and Astrid Bender. 

Dan Jacobs
Tournament Producer

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