Bermuda Big Game Classic 2006 Final Report
The week got started the day before the kickoff party with a terrific golf outing at the beautiful Tucker's Point Club. Many of the boat owners and sponsors played a round of golf on the nicest course on the islands and were treated to a delicious cocktail party upon completing their round. Randy Ringhaver of BREE won the event and was given a nice decanter as a prize. Tournament director Dan Jacobs was his partner and took credit for teaching Randy how to read the tough Bermuda greens.
The Classic kicked off at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess in Hamilton, Bermuda with a record number of entries as well as a huge crowd in attendance. Captains and owners of 58 boats had registered to compete for more than $450,000 in cash and prizes. That's a dramatic increase of 12 boats from 2005 which is an incredible feat considering the 700-mile-plus crossing that a majority of these boats endure.
"When the doors opened for registration we felt confident we would have a strong group of some of the best boats and anglers in the world this week," said Dan Jacobs, tournament director for the Classic. Based on the successful 2005 season and a record turn out of boats at the 2nd annual Bermuda Billfish Blast the week before, we were prepared for an explosion this year and it came."
The party included more than 300 guests that enjoyed the excellent food served by the Fairmont Hamilton staff in the lovely Harbourview Ballroom.As they checked in, each angler was given door prize tickets and a chance to win great prizes given away by our many outstanding sponsors such as reels from Penn Reels, lures from Jaslures, clothing from Pelagic Gear, artwork by artist Steve Goione, and sunglasses from Ocean Waves. Each team received a captains bag filed with tournament t-shirts, hats, filet knives from Allied World assurance, a measuring tape from PXRE, shirts from Briggs Boatworks and Caterpillar engines, beach bags from Miles Market and PW Marina, mini bottles of Bacardi, and lures from Mold Craft, Pro Soft, Todd's Rigs & Lures and Jazz Lures. Also given away were leaders from Penn reels, chip clips from Jarrett Bay, coasters from Bertram and a host of other items.
As is the tradition in the Classic, a boat parade started the first day in front of the Princess hotel at 6:45 a.m. Friends, family and interested Bermudians sent off the fleet in a spectacular display of fishing yachts. Each morning a fleet blessing is broadcast over the radio at 7:45 as part of the tradition started by Captain Omie Tillet at the first year of the Classic. All 58 boats set out for 'lines-in' at 8 AM this morning with clear skies and a light breeze. It didn't take long for teams to start catching blues as the bite was on. By days end, 20 blues and 9 whites were photographed and released with one qualifying 580-pound blue coming to the scales. Team REEL ADDICTION, a Bermuda based charter boat with captain Craigin Curtis and anger Carter Frith took the daily pot worth $34,333.34 for their 580-blue. Team SANCTUARY, a private 40' Riviera Bermuda boat, owned by Arthur Jones, was on fire releasing two blues and two whites to take the daily release jackpot worth $17,33.33 and the lead in the tournament. FORTUNA with owner Jeff Radke had a great day releasing two blues placing them in second position. FORTUNA, a 46 Briggs Boatworks craft, also held the lead in the Marlin Manufacturers Cup. NOTORIOUS, a private 31-foot JC Bermuda boat, also released two blues, keeping them in the running at third place. DREAMIN' ON was the first early registered team to release a billfish winning them the Mackay Communications satellite phone prize. ANITA JEAN, a 54 Gary Davis owned by Peter Watson of NC, boated a 44.7-pound wahoo to lead the gamefish division. Spirits flowed at the Bacardi bars and all had a great time during the weigh-ins and release photo check.
The bite continued to be strong on the second day with the fleet photographing and releasing 26 blues and 6 whites, and had three blues boated over the minimum weight. The lead shifted on day two as the marlin spread the wealth. Team ON ICE, with a 57-foot Ocean owned by Lars Vinjerud of MA, caught fire releasing three blues giving them the daily release prize of $17,333.33 and the lead with 2000 points. ON ICE was now also in the lead for Ocean Yachts in the Marlin Magazine Manufacturers Cup division. GRANDER, a 65-foot Hatteras owned by Marion Uter of AL, added two blue releases for the day and shot into second with 1500 points. GRANDER had one blue release on day one. The crew of DE MAKO, a 57' Briggs captained by Allen DeSilva, also added two blue releases to their release from day one and sat in third position with 1500 points.
At 9:43 captain Bryce Garvey of BREE, a 71' Merritt owned by Randy Ringhaver, called in a hook up for angler Danny Doyle. At 11:41 Edwin Hawn of Texas on SMOOTH OPERATOR, a 58' Briggs, called in a hookup for Rebecca Hawn and commented that it was a good fish. At 12:17 OHANA's angler Chip Bowley hooked into a nice one that was eventually boated at 12:54. This was the first fish to be weighed in at 572-pounds. After over four hours of fighting the call came from BREE that they had boated their fish and were heading to the scales. BREE's fish weighed in at 582-pounds taking the daily away from OHANA.
Now everyone was wondering how SMOOTH OPERATOR was making out with Rebecca's fish. Capt. Hawn called tournament control at 2:14 to inform them they had boated a very nice fish but would continue to fish until the lines-out call at 4:00 p.m. At lines-out, everyone headed to Barr's Bay Park to turn in the catch reports and do the release photo checks. Bacardi spirits greeted the anglers and the crowds built to see what SMOOTH OPERATOR had on board. Reaching the dock about 5:00 p.m. the tournament crew carefully weighed the fish: 797-pounds! SMOOTH OPERATOR snatched the daily worth $34,444.33 and lead in the biggest marlin category. Rebecca Hawn was now also in the lead for high-point lady angler. In fact, SMOOTH OPERATOR had an all-lady-angler team.
The traditional De Mako/Miles market party at Allen DeSilva's house had well over 300 in attendance. This is the fishing social event of the year as anglers party the night away on Allen's dock and enjoy homemade food including the famous tuna burgers, fried wahoo and the wives' specialty soups and dishes. The Bacardi is flowing once again making sure no one is thirsty for long. The party included a live band cranking out the music from a small barge brought in for the event. Anger's and their families tell stories of the first two days of fishing and get to know their fellow competitors and make new friendships. This is always a great event and we thank Allen and Ricky Cox of Miles market who donate the great food.
This was the final day of fishing in the Classic with many teams in contention for first through third and, of course, the daily release and largest marlin dailies at stake. SMOOTH OPERATOR was leading the winner-take-all jackpot with the 797-pounder, but in Bermuda there is no guarantee that a fish will hold up. At day's end, 19 more blues and 7 whites made it through the release photo check with one qualifying 530-pound blue coming to the scales.
The day started like the previous two with hookups coming right after lines-in. BERMUDA BANGER, a 50' Bertram with captain John Whiting of Bermuda, released two blues by 10:00. Team RUM BUM, with Captain Jim O'Neil and owner angler Luis Bacardi on their 54' Bertram, let a blue go at 10:11 a.m., inching them up in the standings. KILCARE made a run with two blue releases on the day, as did TENACIOUS.
RUM BUM was back on and charging the leaders with another successful release of a blue at 11:35. The team added a white marlin release 12:19 effectively taking the lead in the tournament. QUEEN OF HEARTS, a 42' Hatteras with local captain Peter Olander, hooked a nice one for Bermudian Walter Cross at 11:39. The team ultimately boated the fish at 1:24. The fish made the scales at 534 pounds and ultimately put them in third place with the extra points for weight. QUEEN OF HEARTS was, however, not in the optional daily and winner-takes-all jackpots. SMOOTH OPERATOR released a white for Rebecca Hawn adding points for the team and angler. Rebecca went on to win the high-point lady-angler division going away. Team RUM BUM added some insurance points with another white release giving the team two blues and two whites for the day. The total of 1400 points for the day won them the daily release jackpot of $17,333.33. Team SEA SCORPION with captain Steven Cabral of Bermuda weighed a 62.9-pound wahoo to take the Gamefish Division and $8,700. Team NEVER ENOUGH, with a 56' Whiticar captained by Tommy Lynskey and owned by Walter Shikany of FL, released their first blue at 10:42 and hooked up again late in the day at 2:26. At lines-out, Walter was still fighting in what would be an epic battle. Noticing that the fish must have gotten on the double line at some point in the fight, the crew now had to be extra careful of a fray in the double line. As teams checked in at the park, tournament communications control leader Raul Miranda spoke with the team every hour to see how they were making out. At 7:43 p.m., NEVER ENOUGH called in that they had boated the fish! Never Enough was in the daily and overall jackpot runnings. As darkness hit back at the scales Glenn Hughes, publisher of Marlin, called the weight - 530 pounds! NEVER ENOUGH took the daily of $34,333.33 in dramatic fashion but fell short of SMOOTH OPERATOR's 797-pounder which was enough for the winner-take-all jackpot of $150,000. Team RUM BUM came out of nowhere on the final day scoring a total of 2400 points to win the first-place team award, day three release jackpot, most-billfish release award and the Marlin Magazine Manufacturers Cup for Bertram Yachts. Congratulations to team Rum Bum!
The Classic started the celebration at the Bacardi International headquarters with a two-hour cocktail party. Guests were then escorted across the street to the Fairmont Hamilton Princess Harbourview Ballroom for a fine-dining experience including complimentary wine. Over 500 participants, guests and sponsors were in attendance. Each person received a door prize ticket with a chance to win Penn Reels, a Simrad navigation system, Vanmark jewelry, Pompanette gaffs, Joseph Henry marine chronometers, a $1,000 Gift Certificate from Alexseal Paints, Pelagic clothing, sunglasses from Ocean Waves and Panoptx, lures from Jaslure, Mold Craft, Pacific Trolling Gear, Todd's Rigs & Lures and artwork from Steve Goione. Captain Allen DeSilva won the special raffle for the 2006 Classic original painting by Steve Goione.
MACKAY COMMUNICATIONS EARLY REGISTRATION WINNERS; DREAMIN ON – Iridium phone
Second Sportsmanship Award to Sloan Wakefield captain of Tenacious. Disqualified one of his fish during a double header because the angler fought the fish from the rod holder after the hookup. Steve Goione print.
ALEXSEAL DAY TWO BILLFISH RELEASE JACKPOT: ON ICE 1500 points; three blue marlin releases - $17,333.34 and King Sailfish Mounts trophy.
PW'S MARINA DAY THREE BILLFISH RELEASE JACKPOT: RUM BUM; 1400 points; two blues and two whites - $17,333.33 and King Sailfish Mounts trophy
OTHER JUNIOR ANGLER RELEASING A BLUE MARLIN: Austin Burr on OHANA. Gave Austin the Billfish Blast Junior Angler trophy since it was not won in that event.
PENN REELS HIGH POINT LADY ANGLER: Rebecca Hawn of SMOOTH OPERATOR 797 blue, one white Marlin Release 997 points. King Sailfish Mounts Trophy, marlin pendant from Vanmark jewelry and Steve Goione print.
VANMARK JEWELRY DAY TWO MARLIN JACKPOT: SMOOTH OPERATOR; 797-pound blue - $34,666.66. King Sailfish Mounts Trophy
ISLAND GLASS DAY THREE MARLIN JACKPOT: NEVER ENOUGH; 520 POUND BLUE - $34,666.77. King Sailfish Mounts Trophy
CATERPILLAR ENGINES Largest Blue Marlin Jackpot: SMOOTH OPERATOR 797-blue $150,000. King Sailfish Mounts Trophy
SIMRAD MOST BILLFISH RELEASES: RUM BUM with six releases on time - $17,400. King Sailfish Mounts Trophy.
POMPANETTE SECOND PLACE TEAM: ON ICE 2000-points, four blue marlin releases - $26,100; TOTAL WINNINGS $43,433.34. King Sailfish Mounts Trophy and Steve Goione print.
YAUPON EMBROIDERY THIRD PLACE TEAM: QUEEN OF HEARTS 1534 points, two blue marlin releases one boated blue marlin 534-pounds - $17,400. King Sailfish Mounts Trophy and Steve Goione print.
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