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Complete 2005 Report

2005 Bermuda Big Game Classic

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

 Southern Exposure's winning catch.

The fifth annual Bermuda Big Game Classic started Wednesday night July 13 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 46 entered boats with the competitors vying for over $350,000 in cash & prizes. Six sport fishing yacht manufacturers, Ocean, Bertram, Jarrett Bay, Hatteras, Merritt and Briggs Boat Works are competing in the 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 Geoffrey Smith 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 the tournament had an unusual start.  One of the islands power plants caught fire early in the morning leaving the whole island without power. As the boats lined up for the traditional first day parade, tournament control scrambled for 12-volt batteries to power the radio while bewildered guests and residence woke and discovered the situation.  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 dubbed the first day as the Bermuda Big Game Classic Survivor addition. Guests, family and friends waved as the impressive fleet of boats idled by.  Thanks to the efforts of the Hotel staff, Government and municipaly workers most of the island got back normal by 9:00 p.m.

July 14
The boats started fishing at 8:00 a.m. this morning with the first release coming at 9:45 on Sea Toy. Angler Paul Spencer quickly released a blue marlin to get things started earning the team 500 points.  Teams Victory Lap, Bermuda Banger, Bigga Mac followed with blue marlin releases as the bite started to pick up in the late morning. At 10:51 Southern Exposure called in a double header of blues.  Angler Mark Frazier fought stand-up on 130 while Bob Gollahon settled into the chair.  Fighting a fish on 130 standup is no easy task but fortunately for Southern Exposure Mark was up to the task releasing the estimated 350-pound blue at 11:14.  Bob's fish was much bigger making several runs peeling off 600 yards of line during the fight. At 12:10 the call came from captain Rob Gollahon that they had boated the blue and were trying to get the whole fish in the boat.

Once on board the crew radioed the measurements with the formula estimating it at 850 pounds. The Virginia based team on Southern Exposure has fished every year of the Classic. While all of this was going on for Southern Exposure two other teams were dealing marlin including Offshore Lady and BreeOffshore Lady released a blue at 11:12 to get on the scoreboard while Bree and angler Robert Baker let go of a white at 11:13. Five minutes later Bree with Baker back in the chair had a blue on the string ultimately releasing the fish at 11:21.  A series of hookups and lost fish dominated for an hour until Stingray released a white at 12:46.  Local team New Nuts II scored a blue release while I Love My Wife called in a hook up. Then Jester got in the game with a hook up at 2:11.  Both I Love My Wife and Jester successfully released blues giving the tournament it 9th and 10th blue marlin photographed and released fish.  The fish continued to spread the wealth as Overproof and Rum Bum hooked up within minutes of each other. Overproof released a blue and Rum Bum let go of a white to score their first points.  The last hookups of the day came for Treasure Isle, Playmate and Blue Chip.  Treasure Isle let go of a blue, Playmate released a white while Blue Chip continued to fight a nice blue as the 4:00 lines out was called.  Blue Chip's fish was boated but didn't make the 500-pound minimum.

Back on the dock at Barrs Bay Park anglers returned to complimentary Bacardi spirits and a building crowd of spectators waiting to see Southern Exposures fish.  Jennifer Dudas a seasoned tournament veteran checked the release photos.  Jennifer donates her time every year for the Classic after she finishes the BBC series.  Thanks Jen!

As Southern Exposure pulled up next to the dock spectators were amazed at the thickness and size of their fish.  As the blankets were taken off experienced anglers new the fish was bigger than the estimate of 850-pounds.  Weigh Master Raul Miranda, who also donates his time each year after completing the Bacardi and Bertram Hatteras Shootout, zeroed the scales.  Tournament director Dan Jacobs attached the weigh ropes and the crane began to slowly raise the fish.  Miranda called Jacobs to the scales to witness the weight.  Jacobs with great excitement belted out the weight to the crowd 1023-pounds, we have our first grander and new record in the Classic!  Cheers, screams, hugs, hi-fives and congratulations spilled across the park.  This was the tenth grander caught in Bermuda and the first for a visiting boat.  Bermuda is the most consistent large blue marlin fishery in the world and the Classic is just that, a classic event. 

July 15th Report

The second day dawned cloudy and rainy. Teams headed out the cut with yesterdays vision of Southern Exposures Grander.  At 7:45 Sunny Briggs blessed the fleet with a great message, setting the tone for another day on the rip.

The first two hookups came at 8:11 for Knock Down and Jammer. Unfortunately both fish dropped off.  Overproof was next to hookup a blue successfully releasing the fish in six minutes. Then the seas smiled on Treasure Isle as they hooked up to a fat blue.  Angler Michael Carey fought the fish for thirty minutes to bring her along side.  Captain Allan Desilva carefully looked at the fish and determined it was probably over the minimum but decided it wasn't big enough to boat. Treasure Isle released the fish and set the lines back out. Twenty minutes later Treasure Isle was back on with angler Ricky Lines.  This fish was much smaller with the team releasing the blue in five minutes.  Hooking up just minutes after Treasure Isle was Victory Lap and Reel Addiction.  Angler John Sawyer on Victory Lap and Foster Darling on Reel Addiction were both successful releasing blues tightening up the competition. Then the call came from Treasure Isle again that they were hooked up to a nice one, Angler Ricky Cox settled in the chair at 10:17 battling what could be their third release or first boated fish.  Team Southern Exposure was feeling the heat but turned it up a notch releasing their second fish for the tournament at 10:38 earning another 500-points for the team.  Just before 11:00 Aquadisiac and Harbor Lights got into the action.  Harbor Lights quickly released a white while Graham Cooper on Aquadisiac fought a good size blue. At 11:20 Treasure Isle made the call to tournament control that they had boated the fish.  This was the team's third marlin for the day all before noon.  One can only imagine the adrenaline that was flowing on that boat.   Bermuda Banger was next to release a blue at 1:10 giving the team another 500-points.  The fishing slowed a bit in the early afternoon with the next white marlin release coming for New Nuts II at 2:38.  After a two-hour battle Aquadisiac called control and informed them the fish was boated. The day ended huge for Que Mas as angler Wally Whitley released a blue at 2:58 and another at 3:50 rocketing Que Mas into the mix. 

Back at the weigh station at Barrs Bay Park the crowds gather again to see the two fish and release photo check. Barcardi flowed for all the teams and guests making for a festive atmosphere, which is a tradition for the Classic.  Aquadisiac was first to the scales.  The team explained the fish was hooked in front dorsal fin and barely hanging on.  As the crane rose the fish weigh master Raul Miranda called the weight, 524-pounds.  The team rejoiced that it had made the minimum weight and could be a winner for the day.  Treasure Isle pulled in next proudly flying the three blue marlin flags.  One look at the fish provided evidence that Aquadisiac's fish was soon to fall to Treasure Isle. Once again Miranda and Badzinski worked together to strap the fish to the crane as director Dan Jacobs witnessed the weight.  The fish is settled in at 640-pounds giving Treasure Isle the Daily Jackpot and valuable points in the team division.  As the team rejoiced Jacobs explained to the crowd this team had also won the Daily Release jackpot accomplishing something very rare in fishing tournaments.  Treasure Isle was now on top of the team division, leading the most releases division and within striking distance of Southern Exposure for the Triple Crown Championship.

A tradition of the Classic is the dockside party at Allen DeSilva's house at Mills Creek.  Susan  DeSilva, jimmy Bayne, Ricky Cox and others pitch in and cook up a feast like no other.  Fresh Wahoo, Tuna, soups, salads and deserts are washed down with Bacardi spirits.  July Birthdays are celebrated including Jimmy Bayne, Luis Bacardi and Randy Ramsey.  Coversations of the first two days of fishing and what might happen on the last day dominate the conversations.  This is the fishing social event of the season in Bermuda with both locals and visitors attending.  Special thanks to all that made it happen especially Susan DeSilva who was without power until right before the party.

Current Standings:

Mackay Communications Early RegistrationMackay Communications Early Registration winners Bree and Southern Exposure


Allied World Assurance First Place Team: Treasure Isle 2140-points

Pompanette Second Place Team:  Southern Exposure 2023-points

Yaupon Embroidery Third Place Team: Overproof 1000-points

Bacardi Biggest Blue Marlin: Current Leader is Southern Exposure 1023-pound blue.

Simrad Most Billfish Releases: Treasure Isle with three releases

Fairmont Hamilton Princess Biggest Game fish: Open




Bank Of Bermuda Day One Release Jackpot: Bree with 700 points, $13,000

Alexseal Day Two Release Jackpot Treasure Isle with 1,000 points on time $13,00


Finest Kind Offshore Tackle Day One Marlin Jackpot: Southern Exposure 1023-pound blue $25,333.34

Vanmark Jewelry Day Two Marlin Jackpot Treasure Isle 640-pound blue $25,333.34

Gregory Poole, Pantropic Power, Ring Power, Ransom Engines Caterpillar Blue Marlin Jackpot: Current leader is Southern Exposure 1023-pound blue

MARLIN MAGAZINE MANUFACTURER''S CUP: Current leader is Jarrett Bay, team Southern Exposure with 2023-points.


Victory Lap 1000 points

Bermuda Banger 1000 points

Que Mas 1000 points

Bree 700 points

New Nuts II 700 points

Aquadisiac 524 points

Sea Toy 500 points

Bigga Mac 500 points

Offshore Lady 500 points

I Love My Wife 500 points

Jester 500 points 

Rum Bum 200 points

Stingray200 points

Playmate 200 points

Harbor Lights 200

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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