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Boat Division 2008 Viking










Motor Division 2008

President’s Cup Kona Blue Trophy by Geoffrey Smith



MTU/Detroit Diesel








This award is presented annually to the top boat and motor manufacturing companies based on performance in over 70 tournaments on the WBS World Tour. The current standings are presented above.




“Supporting Tournament Fishing, Now and Forever” On the Cover The Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic highlights the summer blue marlin season in the Gulf of Mexico, an area that’s quickly gaining a reputation as one of the world’s premier spots for big-game action. Photo by Alaric Lambert courtesy of the MGCBC.

Departments Destination 18 The Mississippi Gulf Coast


Editor’s Message


Upcoming Event Calendar


Industry News

12 Caught On The WBS World Tour

Tournament Tales 26 Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic One blue marlin equals one big check for first place.

30 Charleston Harbor Billfish Tourn. The sailfish steal the show and provide incredible catch-and-release action for this year’s fleet.

34 A.H. Riise BVI Billfish Tournament Set amid the scenic British Virgin Islands, this one’s become a favorite for Caribbean anglers.

38 HMY-Viking Megadock Billfish Tourn. A near-record fleet gathers for some great Charleston billfishing action.

42 VIGFC July Open The North Drop sets the backdrop for this annual classic, held out of American Yacht Harbor in St. Thomas.

Angler Profiles 47 Todd Tharp 49 Benjie Stansky 51 Dr. Ken Neill III

Winners Wear Sebagos 17 The Top Anglers for 2008

Inside the WBS 59 2008 Standings 62 2008 World Tour Schedule

Billfishing Magazine



E D I T O R ’ S



I admit it—I’m not much of a statistician. Numbers just aren’t my strong suit. I can barely balance my checkbook, and let’s just say that tax season isn’t my favorite time of the year. But it’s also clear that this past summer saw some incredible blue marlin weighed in during tournaments on the WBS World Tour, and those numbers are worth a second look. The season kicked off during the fourth leg of the Bahamas Billfish Championship in Treasure Cay, where angler Bradford Harris bested a blue marlin that scaled 904 pounds aboard David Disiere’s Sweetums. By our accounts, this is the third largest blue marlin ever caught in Bahamas tournament competition, falling just a bit short of the overall Bahamas record blue of 1060.5 pounds. That fish, by the way, was landed back in 1979 by Sam Jennings of Revenge fame. Jennings is still going strong at age 81, having just released his one thousandth blue marlin off the Revenge in St. Thomas. Then it was on to the Mid-Atlantic swing, where lightning would strike twice. The first bolt of blue hit the White Marlin Open in Ocean City, Maryland, where angler Robert Lockwood fought a 935.5-pounder for the Last Run team. That blue fell just six and a half pounds short of the Maryland state record for the species, caught in 1989. A week later, the third and largest fish of the summer sent shockwaves throughout the sportfishing world. The Mimi team was fishing in the Pirate’s Cove Billfish Tournament out of Oregon Inlet, North Carolina when a genuine monster from the deep decided it was time to eat. Angler Trey Irvine proved he was up to the fight and two hours later, the Mimi team was headed back to port with their prize securely aboard. The word ‘grander’ is not lightly mentioned in blue marlin circles, especially on the East Coast, but the team felt this may be the one. And indeed it was that and more, scaling a whopping 1,228.5 pounds and easily surpassing the existing North Carolina state record for blue marlin (the previous record stood at 1,142 pounds and was set by Jack Herrington way back in 1974). It’s worth noting that these three events, like all other modified-release tournaments on the WBS World Tour, have a release ratio in excess of 90 percent of all billfish. Now if we could just get the world’s high-seas longlining fleets to release alive over 90 percent of the marlin and sailfish they catch on a daily basis, we’d really be going places. What will the rest of the summer hold, other than an active hurricane season? Who knows, but I’ll bet it will be exciting. Marlin fishing always is.


The Official Monthly Publication of the WBS Volume 8 No. 8, August 2008

Published monthly by SportsUSA Group, Inc. 112 Pinellas Bayway Tierra Verde, Florida 33715 phone: (727) 864-4400 fax: (727) 867-1149 email:

President & CEO James R. Simons

Editor-in-Chief Sam White

Creative Director Linda Fisher-Morgan

Account Executive Robbie Carter

Administrative Director Jana E. Simons

Destinations Editor Jeff Merrill

See you on the docks soon, Special Contributors

Sam White World Billfish Series

Upcoming Events October 1 - 4 The Sailfish Slam

October 2 - 4 El Pescado Billfish Tourn. October 4 - 11 Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic October 9 - 12 New Smyrna Beach Billfish Invt’l. October 14 - 18 Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Bailey Bobbitt

Marty Locke

David A. Brown

Heather Maxwell

Laurie Ciecierski

Kitty McGowan

Bart K. Davis

Jim Niemiec

Capt. Rob Ellyn

Bruce Paul

Brenda Fletcher

John E. Phillips

Rick Gaffney

Walt Rhodes

Greg Gawlikoski

Capt. Jim Sharpe

Scott Kerrigan

Tom Twyford

Alaric Lambert

Capt. Joan Vernon Eric West

Special Thanks to: All the companies, associations and individuals who give back to the sport of billfishing so that future generations can enjoy one of America’s favorite pastimes.

Copyright © 2008, SportsUSA Group, Inc.

Order the WBS Tournament Calendar at Billfishing Magazine






ertram Yacht recently announced that it has effectively eliminated the use of acetone from its manufacturing processes, another major step in Bertram’s ongoing implementation of “green” initiatives in boatbuilding. The move also reinforces the company’s commitment to improve upon health, safety, and environmental practices in its manufacturing plant. Acetone is typically used by many boat manufacturers in their production process for the cleaning of fiberglass, tools, and equipment. Although it is a very effective cleaning agent and the use of it is completely legal, it does pose certain health, safety, and environmental concerns. The act of eliminating this material has introduced a large number of benefits for both the environment and the employees of Bertram Yacht. In addition to eliminating the hazardous waste and atmospheric pollutants generated by acetone, the risk of

fire is largely reduced with the alternative materials now in use. The alternative nonhazardous and citrus-based materials now used as cleaning agents are non-flammable, recyclable, and do not possess the same irritating qualities as acetone. Additionally, these new materials do not release any toxic emissions into the environment.

Aside from the removal of acetone, Bertram has undertaken other environmentally friendly measures. The company is now successfully disposing of contaminated materials and is making strides in its recycling efforts, has lowered the amount of styrene in the resin and gel coat that is

used in production and employs a special dust collection system, which effectively collects the workshop dusts and filters it into a sealed container. This filter then captures the very fine dust and allows for perfectly clean air to be exhausted back into the factory. These measures reinforce the fact that Bertram Yacht is committed to ensuring the overall safety and quality in production. Mike Myers, president and chief operating officer of Bertram Yacht states, “In order to continue producing the finest product and remain as a leading force in the marine industry, Bertram recognizes the significance of upholding nothing short of the highest quality standards in all levels of production processes. I will strive to oversee every measure set forth at the manufacturing plant in order to exceed the current standards that are in place.” For information, please visit




ongress is considering legislation which would result in a new and potentially harmful fishing regulations, according to the Recreational Fishing Alliance. H.R. 21, also known as Oceans 21, would set new requirements on fishermen and fisheries managers outside of and on top of the established process under the nation’s primary fisheries law, the Magnuson-Stevens Act. This legislation would establish a comprehensive National Oceans Policy and a set of guiding principles for the use and management of U.S. coasts, oceans, Great Lakes and their resources. While the intention of the legislation is to improve coordination among federal agencies, laws and regulations, H.R. 21 would only result in additional layers of bureaucracy within the management of federal marine fisheries.

ue to circumstances beyond their control, the organizers of the Presidential Challenge of Central America were forced to change the dates for the El Salvador leg of the PCCA series recently. Please note that the new dates for this event are November 10-12, 2008. “We are very excited about moving into El Salvador and taking advantage of their wonderful fishery, so we elected to move the dates by a few days rather than cancel this year’s event,” said tournament coordinator Joan Vernon. “We sincerely apologize to those who have already made travel arrangements and will gladly work with anyone who would like assistance in re-arranging their schedules in order to attend.” This year marks the twelfth season for the Presidential Challenge of Central America Conservation Series, known as the premier sportfishing circuit of the Americas dedicated to the conservation and protection of both billfish and inshore gamefish. For more information, please visit

FROM THE IGFA: BY THE NUMBERS In 2004, 761 billfish anglers reported catching 3,409 Pacific billfish during 4,988 fishing days. Fishing rods must have a minimum tip length of 40 inches in order to be considered IGFA legal. Fish school not only to evade predators but also because it allows individual members of the school to swim with less effort. The transition between fishes and terrestrial vertebrates occurred over 370 million years ago. 8


For more than 30 years, federally managed species have been regulated through the Magnuson-Stevens Act. As currently written, Oceans 21 would create a separate and likely conflicting bureaucratic regime under which fisheries would have to be regulated. For more information on Oceans 21, please visit the Recreational Fishing Alliance at





coalition comprised of conservation organizations and concerned private individuals and businesses recently announced the formation of the Center for Coastal Conservation, a non-partisan national organization dedicated to enacting sensible marine conservation laws through education and political action.

Jack Lawton, Jr, the group’s founding chairman. “The Center is already involved in the 2008 election process through support of candidates for the House and Senate who we believe can support our goals.” Lawton emphasized that The Center brings under a single umbrella the leading advocates for marine recreational fishing and boating. The new group promotes sound conservation and use of oceanic resources by backing federal legislators who support

Spearheading the formation of the new organization are the International Game Fish Association, The Billfish Foundation, the American Sportfishing Association, the National Marine Manufacturers Association and the Coastal Conservation Association. Despite the fact that these groups hold a wide range of interests, the new coalition will focus on federal policy and elections starting in 2008. The announcement was made at a news conference during the ICAST fishing trade show in Las Vegas in July.

its goals. Among the group’s focus will be promoting a quality recreational fishery, ending over-fishing, rebuilding plans for fisheries management, improving access for boaters and anglers and working with waterfronts and marinas.

“The Center fills a vacuum that existed on the national scene for a business-oriented organization dedicated to protecting America’s coastal resources through involvement in the political process,” said

According to IGFA president Rob Kramer, more than 12 million Americans enjoy recreational fishing along our nation’s coastlines. “It’s more than just a traditional American pastime,” he said. “Saltwater

recreational fishing is a major economic driver that generates more than $30 billion in economic impact and supports nearly 350,000 jobs nationwide. As such, there needs to be a clear and coordinated message to the decision-makers within our federal government to ensure that this constituency is heard and given appropriate consideration.” Jefferson Angers of Louisiana is the Center’s first president. He previously served as executive director and CEO of the Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana for 15 years. “We’re committed to conservation policies that conserve natural resources while keeping them accessible for recreational fishing, boating and other uses that don’t cause harm,” he said. “Some seem to believe that good conservation can only be best achieved by restricting access to our resources, and others favor exploiting resources with few restrictions. Our philosophy is that we can balance effective conservation with sensible access.” For more information, please visit



ith just a few months until boats will be accepted, Marina Pez Vela announced the sell out of Phase One of the 308-slip, full-service marina. Designed and owned by sportfishing enthusiasts, Marina Pez Vela will provide a safe haven and base of operations for fishing along the Pacific coast of Central America, opening up literally thousands of miles of ocean that was nearly impossible to fish previously. "We are incredibly excited at buyer demand and enthusiasm about the marina's opening," states project founder Harold Lovelady. "The combination of our state-of-the-art facility and extraordinary

location makes it an obvious choice for boaters and anglers." With floating concrete docks being built by Bellingham Marine and featuring one of the most sophisticated breakwaters ever built for a recreational marina, construction is well underway on what will be one of Costa Rica's premier full-service marine facilities, offering all the necessities for luxury boating and serious sport fishing. Located along Costa Rica's Pacific coast, Quepos is a tropical oceanside village with open-air cafés, intimate restaurants, exotic boutique shops, and a legendary port. Surrounded by tropical rainforests, it is an ideal starting point for activities that range from surfing and sailing to kayak-

ing, scuba diving, whitewater rafting, zip lining, canopy tours, nature preserves, hiking or lounging on the beach. Minutes from Quepos is the worldrenowned Manuel Antonio National Park and upscale resort area with beautiful white-sand beaches, five-star hotels, casinos, shops, restaurants and spectacular views. The marina will begin accepting boats for slip customers in early 2009, with dry storage and boatyard operations available shortly thereafter. For more information, visit

Billfishing Magazine


Enter the "Caught on the WBS World Tour" contest and win a new pair of Costa Del Mar sunglasses! 2





D0 you recognize anybody in the “Caught On WBS Tour” photo gallery? 6

7 8



caught on tour the place to see your face 10








Win a new pair of Costa Del Mar sunglasses! See page 15 for more on the “Caught On WBS Tour� Contest.




Billfishing Magazine


caught on tour the place to see your face 22






Congratulations to our most recent contest winners: Anne Tacon —North Palm Beach, FL Laura Pitten — Indialantic, FL



29 “Caught On WBS Tour” Contest The WBS Anglers Club member who correctly identifies the most people on pages 12, 13 and 15 by September 29, 2008 will win a pair of Costa Del Mar sunglasses. Send your entries—including photo number, names of individuals in photo, tournament name, and magazine issue—to, fax to 727-867-1149 or mail to 112 Pinellas Bayway, Tierra Verde, FL 33715. Please include your name, address, phone number and e-mail address. Fax, e-mail or mail entries only. Entries will be judged on individual identification first, tournament identification second. Any ties will be decided by time and date of entry. Billfishing Magazine

Dave Dickman - Silver Sailfish Derby

Drew Andrews - Los Cabos Billfish Classic

Rudy Polselli Jr. - Jupiter Billfish Tourn.

Chace Nelson - MBGFC Memorial Day Tourn.

Mariano Da - Los Sueños Signature Series I

Greg Barber - Boat Harbour Billfish Blast

Debbi David - The Sailfish Tournament

Robert Southard Sr. - BBC Treasure Cay Champ.

Mark McDevitt - Buccaneer Cup Sailfish Tourn.

Matt Jackson - Mississippi Gulf Coast Classic

Rick Arnold - Cheeca Lodge Presidential

Luis Bacardi - Abaco Billfish Challenge

Van Wicher - Palm Beach Sailfish Classic

Boyd Mothe Jr. - New Orleans Invt’l Tournament

Carlos Martinez - Miami Mayor’s Cup

Barry Weshnak - BBC Boat Harbour Champ.

Mark Wodlinger - Ft. Lauderdale Billfish Tourn.

Dave Perry - Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic

Peter Adrian - Capt. Bob Lewis Billfish Challenge

Douglas Miller - Charleston Harbor Billfish Tourn.

Edwin Bustos - Los Sueños Signature Series II

Nicole Russel - HMY-Viking Megadock

Amanda Nichols - Miami Billfish Tourn.

Arlen Charpentier - Bay Point Billfish Invt’l.

Cleynor Ruiz - Pres. Challenge of Costa Rica

Gary Ingram - VIGFC July Open

Lainey Jones - BBC Central Abaco Champ.

Jay Johnson - A.H. Riise Billfish Tournament

Barry Weshnak - BBC Boat Harbour Champ.

Rocky Jones - Outcast Blue Marlin Classic

Tom Russell - BBC Harbour Island Champ.

Joel Broussard - Orange Beach Billfish Classic

By Al Jones

The East Coast has Atlantic City where fun is often associated with the city lights of New York. The West Coast has Las Vegas, built around the world of professional boxing. In the South, the deep South that is, the small but exciting town of Biloxi is second to none based on its 24-hour gaming and some of the best saltwater fishing in the world.

Photos By Alaric Lambert

Gulf Coast Action

andwiched between New Orleans and the Florida Panhandle is what some in the marketing world describe as the playground of the south. This still holds true nearly three years after the city of more than 50,000 continues to rebound from the worst national disaster: Hurricane Katrina. The massive storm, which did more structural damage to the Mississippi Gulf Coast than New Orleans, has reshaped Biloxi and its gaming to the point that the sky is now the limit.


Biloxi is now the third largest gaming destination in the nation and with four airports (BiloxiGulfport, Mobile, Hattiesburg-Laurel and New 18

Destination: Mississippi’s Gulf Coast

While the construction cranes dotting the horizon hint at the area’s intensive rebuilding projects, life--including tournament fishing--goes on in Mississippi’s Gulf Coast.

Orleans) within a 90-minute ride it’s an easy trip from just about anywhere. That makes the area a perfect getaway for honeymooning couples, families on vacation and people simply needing a few days away from the stress of everyday life.

Biloxi bounced back and currently features eight casinos in the Isle of Capri, Treasure Bay, Beau Rivage, Boomtown, Hard Rock, Imperial Palace, Grand and the Palace Casino plus the Margaretville, which is currently under construction.

The small beachside community known for shrimp boats, oysters, fishing and miles of sandy beaches, showed its true colors after Katrina. With every inch of property along the immediate beachfront damaged and casinos pulled free from their dockage areas, gaming resurfaced a month after the storm with the opening of the Imperial Palace followed by the Isle of Capri Casino. Instead of seeking pity,

One look at Biloxi’s beachhfront shows the area has more than a heartbeat. It reveals an area, with the help of gaming, that landed on its feet and was soon open for business, 365 days a year. Gulfport, which is 12 miles to the west of Biloxi, features the Island View Casino while Bay St. Louis, just minutes from New Orleans, is home to two more 24-hour gaming sites. Toss in tailor-made golf courses from

some of the biggest names in course design from Bay St. Louis to Biloxi and the Mississippi Gulf Coast offers plenty of fun and sun for all ages to enjoy. According to Biloxi mayor A.J. Holloway, something happens every day regarding the area’s recovery. “If it were not for out gaming industry, Biloxi would have been in bad shape,” he said recently. “We had three casinos open in December right after Katrina: the Imperial Palace on December 22 and the Isle of Capri on December 28. With the Isle opening, that put people back to work and put revenue back into Biloxi. That was really the key. We have come a long way in our casino industry.” Billfishing Magazine


Left: The weigh-in for the Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic attracts thousands of spectators each season. Above: The many oil and natural gas rigs that dot the Gulf serve as marlin magnets attracting hordes of baitfish and a wide variety of pelagic species. Although gaming is Biloxi’s top draw, saltwater fishing is a close second considering the Mississippi Sound, visible from the Isle of Capri Casino, offers some of the best speckled trout and redfish action in the world. To prove that point, Mississippi’s new state speckled trout record of 10.77 pounds was set this past

spring and was caught along the immediate beachfront. The Chandeleur Islands, a chain of uninhabited barrier islands some fifty miles long, runs just offshore and also offers remarkably consistent inshore fishing for a wide variety of species. With a charter boat association of 55, redfish, sharks, trout, red snapper and king mackerel are a simply phone call away. As far as the Gulf

of Mexico, fishing for blue marlin, yellowfin tuna, wahoo, cobia, red snapper and grouper traditionally rank near the top for each species. Since Biloxi rests to the west of the famed fishing grounds of the Steps off Pensacola and to the east of the legendary mouth of the Mississippi River and its marlin-magnetic oil and natural gas platforms, access is easy to both fishing destinations where bluewater species can be targeted on day trips. There’s even a resurgence of swordfish in the upper Gulf, making it possible to target these oceanic predators once the sun disappears from the sky. Several Gulf Coast boats have had shots at what anglers term the super grand slam: four billfish species in a single 24-hour period. If day trips for wahoo, tuna, dolphin and billfish are in your plans, Rimmer Covington, a lifelong resident of South Mississippi, offers trips out of the Isle of Capri Casino. His company is called the Mexican Gulf Fishing Company and he can be reached at (601) 951-3981. Billfishing Magazine


But Biloxi’s fun isn’t limited to gaming and fishing. If you prefer to don camouflage and hunt exotic species like red stag, antelope, sika deer, fallow deer, axis deer and water buffalo, a short drive to the north to Antler Creek Ranch represents a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Antler Creek Ranch, a 900-acre hunting paradise, offers bow hunters the chance to harvest trophies animals 365 days a year and white-tail deer during state adopted seasons. Antler Creek Ranch, with guide Phillip Levine, also offers bass fishing, lodging and wild hog hunting. Since the ranch is located off the Pascagoula River basin, the land is fertile and hunting is never limited. To date, several 2,000-pound water buffalo have been harvested as well as numerous red stag, a native of New Zealand, have also falling prey to hunters. That means anglers can fish in the morning, hunt in the afternoon and try their luck at card games and slot machines in the evening.

For one fish to take it all is amazing. What are the odds of that? That’s life at a casino.” Actually, it’s life in Biloxi and part of the Billfish Classic tradition. ‘’Since we began, we have set four state records, including two in blue marlin,’’ said Bobby Carter, Billfish Classic tournament director and director of player development at the Isle of Capri Casino. ’’We still hold the Gulf of Mexico record for blue marlin at 1,054 pounds.” ‘’This past year, we had the highest payout to any single angler at more than $400,000. It’s a great event and we continue to get bigger even though we are still rebuilding from Katrina. It’s amazing the support we have gotten from the fishermen. They keep coming back to show their support and we appreciate it,’’ Carter added. With crowds of more than 10,000 waiting patiently at the docks to see the weigh-ins, the Billfish Classic continues to grow into one of the premier bluewater tournaments in the world.

The offshore action here is so hot that it was only a matter of time before the area became well-known in tournament circles as the place to be. In fact, Biloxi annually hosts top fishing tournaments like the Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic out of the Isle of Capri Casino and the Southern Kingfish Association’s National Championship. The Billfish Classic, which attracts boats and visitors from places like the Bahamas, Mexico and Costa Rica, has a total payout of more than a million dollars in the blue marlin, wahoo, tuna and dolphin categories. Throughout the twelve-year history of the Classic, state fishing records in blue marlin, yellowfin tuna and bluefin tuna have fallen with total payouts surpassing the $12 million mark after the completion of the 2008 event. The 2008 event also saw one boat, the Done Deal out of Houma, Louisiana pocket more than $400,000 in the marlin category alone. Shortly after winning the money, angler Matt Jackson said it best. “That’s unbelievable, incredible and amazing all in one,’’ he said. ‘’Think about it. We had 70 boats in the tournament that fished for two days. That breaks down to 1,700 hours of fishing.

That’s the same growth Biloxi continues to show in the aftermath of Katrina. One quick look at Biloxi and you will be hooked. Give it a try and bring a friend.

Situated along Biloxi’s Beach Boulevard just a short distance from the Gulf of Mexico, the Isle of Capri Casino and Resort is seven miles from downtown Biloxi and the Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum. New Orleans is just a touch over 80 miles away. Casino action includes 1,300 slots, 30 table games, and live poker. Guests can relax in the full-service spa with sauna and steam rooms, or enjoy the multilevel outdoor pool and spa tub. The 731 guest rooms at the resort offer Gulf of Mexico views; some rooms have balconies and jetted tubs, and all offer complimentary local calls and wireless Internet access. Several top-notch restaurants onsite complete the package. For more information, please visit their website at

Billfishing Magazine


Mississippi Gulf Biloxi, Mississipp

BILOXI BOUNCES BACK By Al Jones Photos by Alaric Lambert iloxi, Mississippi was nearly wiped off the map by Hurricane Katrina a few short years ago. Yet the remarkable spirit and indomitable nature of the area’s inhabitants led the way for a comeback that’s nothing short of amazing. A sure sign of this rebuilding started almost as soon as the storm’s floodwaters 26

had receded—the gaming industry went into overtime. While every single casino in the region sustained losses and most were completely destroyed, ripped from their moorings and tossed like toys hundreds of yards away, within just a handful of months later at least two operations were back up and running, with several more back online by the spring of the following year. Considering the utter destruction they faced, it’s an amazing feat and one that served to jump-start the region’s economy. Another big step was getting the area’s sportfishing back on track. Even now, three years later, marina power is still supplied

by portable generators and other amenities that are taken for granted elsewhere can be hard to come by from time to time, but the region lives on to fish another day. The 12th annual Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic is another success story for the area. Hurt by not only a devastated marina and shoreside facilities but also rising fuel prices and other nearly insurmountable obstacles, the tournament staff once again pulled off a near-miraculous accomplishment this year. Seventy of the Gulf’s top sportfishing teams signed up to participate in 2008, making it one of the largest events of its kind in terms of both participation and prize purses.

As with most tournaments in the Gulf of Mexico, the teams were able to depart after the captain’s meeting for the long voyage out to the fishing grounds. Some would choose to fish due south of Mississippi while others would make the passage through the river delta to the west, eventually winding up off Louisiana to start their search for a winner. Although the weather conditions cooperated nicely, the billfish were surprisingly tightlipped for the duration of this year’s tournament. Several teams were able to score

Coast Billfish Classic pi

The choice of lures or live bait is a significant one in the world of billfishing, and also one that’s hotly contested in sportfishing circles from Kona to Key West. Pulling a spread of lures enables a team to cover a lot of water in hopes of locating feeding marlin, but the downside is that the hook-up ratio is average at best. Often fish are raised to the lures but refuse to bite, or may only take a half-hearted swipe at a lure before disappearing into the depths from whence they came. When that’s your team’s only shot at a billfish after several long, hot days of trolling, it can be frustrating for everyone on board. Live bait on the other hand really shines once fish have been pinpointed. Few marlin will turn down a lively bonito, tuna, mackerel or other bait that’s presented well, resulting in a higher hook-up ratio. However, because these baits must be kept alive, trolling speeds slow to a crawl. A very slow crawl. The live-bait over lures dilemma was one that stared Capt. Jon Gonsoulin and the Done Deal team squarely in the face on Day Two of this year’s Mississippi Gulf Coast Classic. After pulling lures for the entire event and not enticing a bite, the

The stately Isle of Capri Resort Casino, the grand dame of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, is now better than ever before.

releases although no blue marlin had reached the event’s required minimum length in order to be brought to the scales. It was looking like the event would go into overtime until late in the game on the final afternoon of fishing.

Billfishing Magazine


Once back at the docks, the team learned that theirs was the only qualifying blue marlin landed, earning them the largest single payout in the tournament’s history: a jaw-dropping $401,817. That’s just over $1,180 a pound for their 339.5-pound blue marlin! For his efforts, Matt also received an automatic qualifying entry into the WBS Grand Championships to be held later this year in Los Sueños, Costa Rica, where he’ll have a chance to pit his skills against the best anglers in the bluewater arena.

Houma, Louisiana-based Viking 56 switched gears in hopes of pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Or in this case, a marlin out from under a rig. This was no ordinary rig, though. The team elected to fish the Medusa as their last-ditch plan for the event. Located in roughly 2,000 feet of water off the mouth of the Mississippi River Delta, this rig is a favorite of area marlin maniacs. As soon as the Done Deal pulled into the area, the team noticed at least one blue feeding on small dorado in the vicinity so out came the live-bait rigs and away went the trolling gear. The victorious team aboard the Done Deal won an incredible $400,000-plus purse in this year’s event. “Where else but the Mississippi Gulf Coast can one angler win over $400,000 by catching just one blue marlin?” said tournament director Bobby Carter. Angler Matt Jackson echoed his sentiments, saying, “All I can do is point to the check. It’s unbelievable, incredible and amazing, all in one. We had 70 boats in the tournament that fished for two days and for one fish to take it all is just incredible.”

According to angler Matt Jackson, the team quickly secured several large blue runners and one lonely 10-pound yellowfin tuna, which they quickly bridled with a hook and sent back over the side—what would normally wind up as fresh sashimi on the dinner table became what they hoped would be blue marlin candy. In a matter of moments, the team hooked up and the fight was on. The big marlin immediately charged toward one of the large anchors used by the crew boats that service the rig, necessitating some quick thinking and deft boat handling by Gonsoulin, but within 30 minutes they had overcome the problem and had maneuvering room in the open ocean. Once alongside the Done Deal, the team quickly tagged the fish in case it would be less than the tournament-mandated 100-inch minimum. “We measured it and realized we had a legal fish,” said Jackson, “and that was it. We did all of this in the last three hours of the tournament.” Billfishing Magazine


Charleston Harbor Billfish Tournament Charleston, SC


Charleston Harbor Billfish Tournament



or much of its long and storied history, this event, part of the South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series, has been considered a marlin tournament. Boats would leave port long before sunrise in order to make the long journey to the edge of the Gulf Stream far offshore, then would deploy a standard “big-fish” spread of baits and lures in hopes of doing battle with the big girls in the blue pinstripes. And until a few years ago, the event was also considered a modified release tournament, where qualifying blues could be brought to the scales. Much of that changed last year, when the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources increased the minimum length for blue marlin in the Governor’s Cup tournaments to 110 inches, with the Charleston Harbor event naturally following suit. This means it would literally take the fish of a lifetime, potentially a new state record, in order to be brought aboard the boat and not released. With that came a shift in mentality among those fishing the South Carolina series. While a released blue marlin would earn a team 600 points and a white marlin 300 points, sailfish were valued at 200 points. A boat may fish hard for days and not see a blue marlin, but by shifting gears (and baits) and

seeking out the much smaller and more plentiful sailfish, a team could quickly rack up the releases and points rather than chugging around the deep blue looking for marlin. That shift sure became evident during this year’s Charleston Harbor tournament, where the gathered fleet of 54 boats combined to release a whopping 51 billfish, 48 of them sailfish. Two white marlin and one lone blue marlin rounded out the catch log. According to Wally Jenkins, the series program coordinator for the SC Department of Natural Resources, this was a record number of releases for this tournament, despite a weathershortened two days of fishing instead of three. And while the weather blew up a bit by the weekend, the sails sure didn’t seem to mind. In the end it was another familiar name atop the leaderboard when things were all said and done. After winning it all in the Bahamas Billfish Championship earlier this spring, Thomas Russell returned the Cerveza to South Carolina and quickly proved his team is just as competitive fishing the Palmetto State as in the Abacos. With Butch Davis at the helm and a team consisting mostly of family in the cockpit—father Jim Russell, brother Jeff and Thomas’ two children, 10-year old Jessica and 15-year old Matthew—the Cerveza racked up a

Billfishing Magazine


the World Billfish Series Grand Championships, winning Top WBS Angler honors with his five releases. Third place in the Outstanding Billfish Boat category went to another South Carolina favorite, Mark Daniels’ Daymaker. They also capitalized on the sailfish bite with six releases in the tournament.

The Cerveza team won Top Conservation Boat, Top Female and First and Second Place Youth angler honors in Charleston Harbor.

As always, the highlight of the tournament was the ever-popular beach blowout and awards presentation, held on the private beach just behind the Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina, featuring live music, great food and plenty of friendly camaraderie. After a long weekend of fishing, it’s a fitting end to an excellent event.

Charleston, South Carolina has emerged as one of the favorite destinations on the WBS World Tour, as much for the history and scenery as for any other reason. But this year, large numbers of feisty Atlantic sailfish moved within range of the tournament fleet, dominating the release categories. Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina Billfish Tournament literally sailed away. very impressive 11 sailfish releases in two days of fishing. Keep in mind that this is competitive fishing at its highest level, the razor’s edge of skill determines the winners from the also-rans, and the family team took home the gold. In addition to being named the Outstanding Billfish Conservationist Boat, Jessica Russell was recognized as the First Place Outstanding Female Angler and Second Place Outstanding Youth Angler for her two sailfish releases, and Matthew was the First Place Outstanding Youth Angler for his four sails let go during the tournament. Between the pair of juniors, they accounted for over half of the team’s overall point total of 2200.

But it was a nail-biter, as another familiar name was creeping up the leaderboard just behind the Russells. That name is Norman Pulliam, owner of the Rascal. Tournament aficionados will recognize this name as the one currently holding the South Carolina state record for blue marlin, set a few years ago in this very tournament. If there’s anyone in the field with the experience and determination to repeat as a winner, it would be Pulliam. In the end, the Rascal fell just short of the mark by 100 points, releasing nine sailfish and one white marlin in the 2008 rendition of the Charleston Harbor tournament. However, Rascal angler Douglas Miller landed himself a qualifying bid in

The Wallace Pate Memorial Fund Wallace F. Pate (1933 - 1993) helped pioneer offshore big game fishing in South Carolina and founded the state’s first blue marlin tournament. Above everything, Pate was a conservationist concerned for the health and wellbeing of the gamefish he pursued. He encouraged live release of billfish long before most realized the critical need for conserving the stocks. In recognition of his efforts to conserve our precious natural marine resources, the Governor’s Cup established a special marine conservation fund in his memory, dedicated to improving South Carolina’s marine environment and the wise utilization of its resources. The fund supports research, development and education projects beyond the scope of the Governor’s Cup and contributions are tax deductible. In addition, a portion of the entry fees for each tournament goes to the memorial fund, earmarked for marine conservation projects. For more information, please visit their website

Douglas Miller was awarded the WBS Top Angler trophy. Billfishing Magazine


A.H. Riise BVI Billfish Tournament Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Island

BEAUTY AND THE BLUES One of the most enjoyable facets of the sport of tournament billfishing is the ability to travel to some of the world’s most scenic locations in search of the world’s most powerful gamefish. Without a doubt one of the favorites of many anglers has to be the British Virgin Islands.


he BVIs are close enough to be easily accessible from just about anywhere in the continental United States but are far and away some the most stunningly beautiful islands anywhere. It’s a vision of idyllic paradise, as crystalline waters swirl past palm-studded islands. Throw in a rum punch and a bit of steel drum music and it’s paradise found. But the real cherry in the topping is the fact that the marlin-rich waters of the North Drop lie just a short distance offshore. For those marlin-addled among us, it’s an easy draw—nine times out of ten, when the line comes out of the clip on the Drop, there’s a big blue dog airing it out on the other end.


By Sam White

While the British Virgin Islands consist of dozens of named islands and islets, some still uninhabited, most of the action centers on the primary ones, with Virgin Gorda being the most famous of them all. Most recognized as a world-famous sailing destination, it’s taken a bit of getting used to by the locals to see outrigger tips scattered among the sailboat masts but things are catching on nicely. In fact, establishing a thriving sportfishing destination was one of the underlying reasons for the formation of the AH Riise BVI Billfish Tournament. It’s become a summertime tradition for a good number of teams, roaming the waters of the Caribbean from the Bahamas to the US and British Virgin Islands to

Puerto Rico and beyond in search of blue marlin. Among these are some of the best in the game, especially when it comes to these Caribbean blues. This year, 19 of these signed up to participate in the AH Riise event, just a couple boats off last year’s totals. And thanks to some great fishing, those numbers should trend upward next year. Witness George Lorton’s Therapy team. After Day One, they were in the lead by the slimmest of margins, the time of release, with three blue marlin releases. “The conditions were ideal, with 10- to 15-knots of wind and calm seas,” reported Therapy’s captain, Ray Walters. “We saw five blue marlin and ended up catching three. It was

A.H. Riise BVI Billfish Tournament a great day for us.” While a three-blue day would be phenomenal anywhere else, it was a feat here that was matched by a second team, Jesus Montano’s Blue Bird, one of the Puerto Rican boats in attendance. Both had 1500 points after Day One, with two other boats in second place with two blues apiece. For the day the fleet released 18 blue marlin.

nity to compete at no charge in the other. New for this season is an overall top angler award between the two events, furthering the communication and participation between the highly competitive Caribbean teams. In response, a good number of participating boats in this year’s AH Riise event hailed from Puerto Rico.

After a long day on the water, the teams were treated to a cocktail party back ashore hosted by Brown-Foreman, featuring their brands Jack Daniels, Southern Comfort, Finlandia and Sonoma Cutrer and 5 Rivers wines, followed by a sumptuous dinner also courtesy of BrownForman.

Once again the boats headed for the productive waters off the island of Anegada and the North Drop, and once again the billfish cooperated nicely. By the end of the day, two boats had moved into a tie with the Day One leaders. Jay Johnston’s Ay Caramba and Rod Windley’s Gulf Rascal each caught three blues while Therapy and Blue Bird did not find a way to move ahead in the standings. Several others were within striking distance.

An interesting side note concerning tournament alliance—once again this year, the AH Riise event partnered with the San Juan International Billfish Tournament with an arrangement that the top team from each event would have the opportu-

Above: Stunnng views of the North Sound, neighboring Prickly Pear Island and Saba Rock abound from nearly every room. Right: The tournament lay day featured a genuine Caribbean lobster bake, held at the Anegada Reef Hotel.

That evening, another new twist was added in the form of a drink competition among the boat teams, with the only rules

being the required use of Finlandia, Jack Daniels or Southern Comfort. The winner would receive one free room night courtesy of the host resort, the Bitter End Yacht Club. And while they’re better known for catching more than their fair share of blue marlin, it was Gray Ingram’s Big Oh team that showed their prowess at the bar, winning this year’s event with their concoction aptly named Beetlejuice. After a relaxing lay day spent cruising the neighboring islands, including a true Caribbean lobster bake at tournament director Lawrence Weatley’s Anegada Reef Hotel, the final day’s fishing proved that it’s not over until the final bell rings. Jay Johnston and the Puerto Rico-based Ay Caramba walked away with the gold this year based on the strength of their 2000 points from four blue marlin releases. They finished ahead of Gray Ingram’s Big Oh and the Lortons on the Therapy based on time of release. For the win, Johnston

Above: Sebastiano Paiewonsky-Cassinelli, the vice-president of AH Riise, right, and tournament director Lawrence Wheatley, second from left, presented a check for $40,000 to the Premier and Tourism Minister of the British Virgin Islands for charities in the BVIs during the awards ceremonies.

Billfishing Magazine


Gray Ingram’s Big Oh just missed first place, settling into the tournament’s runner-up position.

George Lorton, second from right, led the Therapy team to a third place finish.

Staying There

While on Virgin Gorda, the place to stay is the tournament host, the Bitter End Yacht Club. It’s earned a reputation as the Caribbean’s premier luxury water sports resort, uniquely situated along a mile of lush gardens and beaches that front the protected anchorage of the North Sound.

received a Rolex timepiece as well as an engraved Waterford crystal bowl, Woodford Reserve wine, Seabourne Airlines tickets and a complimentary entry into the San Juan tournament in Puerto Rico. “This was a first class tournament in every way,” he said. “The fishing was fun and the Bitter End was the perfect host. This was my first time here and I will surely return many more times in the future.” Following the awards, Sebastiano Paiewonsky-Cassinelli, vice president of AH Riise, presented a check for $40,000 to the Honourable Ralph T. O’Neal, Premier and Tourism Minister of the British Virgin Islands, for charities in the BVIs. This makes nearly $100,000 in charitable contributions in the two short years this event has been in existence. So for anyone wishing to experience one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean combined with outstanding blue marlin fishing, head for the BVIs. It’s beauty and the blues.

The several dozen rooms are situated bungalowstyle along a low cliffside, each offering some of the most stunning oceanfront views imaginable. The style is casual elegance, where guests can relax in a safe and welcoming environment and truly relax. While the marina complex is small by U.S. standards, it does offer plenty of slips for visiting boats along with all the amenities that traveling anglers require. And it’s tough to beat the geography: just 12 miles from Tortola, 30 miles from St. Thomas and 75 miles from Puerto Rico.

The Ay Caramba took home the first place Waterford Crystal Trophy and Rolex watch.

HMY-Viking Megadock Billfish Tournament Charleston, SC

MEGA FLEET, MEGA MONEY AT HMY VIKING MEGADOCK By Eric West With a near-record fleet of 78 boats and 468 anglers, the Sixth Annual HMY-Viking Megadock Billfishing Tournament certainly ranked right up there among the top events on the East Coast, and certainly one of South Carolina’s finest. It also marked yet another win for the Cerveza team on this year’s WBS World Tour. 38

Photo provided by Robbie Carter

HMY-Viking Megadock Billfish Tournament


here’s an old saying: when you’re hot, you’re hot. When you get on a streak, just dive in and fish as hard as possible, because you never know when that streak will go cold again. That’s certainly the case with Thomas Russell and the Cerveza team in 2008. Without a doubt, this team is on a roll.

However, it was far from a runaway for the team, as Russell related. The Petrel, a 52foot Omie Tillett owned by Harry Johnson

Photo provided by Robbie Carter

Following several top finishes in the Bahamas Billfish Championships, the team finished their BBC run at the top of the standings, barely sliding in front of the runners-up based on their time of release—the narrowest of margins in the sport of billfishing. The team, consisting of owner Thomas Russell, Capt. Butch Davis and a crew consisting mostly of Russell’s family members, went on to campaign their 62-foot Paul Spencer in the Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina Billfish Tournament just a few weeks prior. They once again emerged victorious, capitalizing on a red-hot South Carolina sailfish bite, to win by just 100 points in that event.

So naturally, knowing the streak only lasts so long, Russell and team Cerveza elected to try their hand at the Megadock. The competition would be as strong as they’ve faced all season but once again the team came out on top, this time releasing six Carolina spindlebeaks for a total of 1200 points. Along the way, as has become their custom, they won the Top Lady Angler and Top Junior Angler, both for Nicole Russell (age 13) who released five of the team’s six billfish, and the Top Conservation Team award. “This was another exciting tournament, right down to the wire,” Thomas Russell said. “There were three or four boats with 800 or 1,000 points and it went down to whether we could get another bite. We missed a couple fish and got our third at 2:38 p.m. (with lines out at 3). We really enjoy fishing here and might come back in the fall for the sailfish tournament.”

Billfishing Magazine


HMY-Megadock Billfish Tournament

CHARLESTON’S CITY MARINA Measuring in at 1,530 feet, The City Marina’s MegaDock is the largest and busiest transient facility on the East Coast. Built in 2003 to attract visiting boaters to Charleston, the MegaDock has become billfishing’s grandest arena offering convenient dockage, inslip fueling, professionally trained dock staff, and much more. Located on mile marker 469.5 of the Intracoastal Waterway, the Charleston City Marina features 19,000 feet of linear dock space, covering 40 acres of water. The marina was named the 2005 National Marina of the Year according to Marina Dock Age Magazine and offers truly state-of-the-art amenities and facilities for both resident and transient boaters. It’s also home to the longest free-standing floating fuel dock in the Southeast. These features, in addition to the proximity to historic downtown Charleston, make The City Marina one of the most popular destinations on the entire East Coast. For more information, please visit

and captained by Thomas Wynne, placed second with 1,000 points and was nipping at the Cerveza’s transom throughout the tournament. A previous winner of the Megadock tournament in 2005, they earned their points for a blue marlin release as well as a pair of sailfish added for good measure. According to tournament sources, the Petrel had hooked another blue marlin that would have vaulted them in the lead on Saturday but felt the heartwrench of competitive billfishing when the blue snapped the monofilament leader just short of a release.

waiting list of teams ready to fill its 75 available spots. Keep in mind that back in 2003, just 35 boats signed up to enter, releasing a paltry 13 billfish. While prices for fuel and everything else associated with tournament fishing have peaked near

all-time records, the anglers and crews were out in force for this tournament, proof of the support that South Carolina billfishing has generated. It’s a testament to a great tournament, in a great facility in the heart of an outstanding location.

It’s interesting to also note that the next three teams, Full Pull, Benchmark and Micabe, each earned their 1,000 points based on sailfish releases, with each boat letting go five each. This means that the top five boats in the tournament accounted for 23 sailfish releases as well as one blue marlin. By the end of the three days of fishing, the fleet had accounted for an incredible 75 sailfish, four blue marlin and two white marlin. Also of note is the fact that for the third consecutive year, the tournament had a

The Cerveza team once again came out on top, this time at the HMYViking Megadock tournament.

Billfishing Magazine


VIGFC July Open, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

Anglers looking for the summer’s best blue marlin fishing need search no farther than the famous North Drop, just a short run from the American Yacht Harbor in St. Thomas. The area historically turns on just in time for the July Open, hosted by the Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club.


VIGFC July Open


By Bart K. Davis

ith a 45-year tradition, the July Open Billfish Tournament is one of the oldest continually-running billfish tournaments of its kind in the Virgin Islands. Anglers descend upon the area’s prolific waters each year from across the four corners of the sportfishing world in search of angling excitement, and few go away disappointed. Multiple shots at blues are common, especially in the days leading up to the month’s full moon. And with raucous dock parties, music, food and festivities planned for each evening, the action doesn’t let up just because the sun goes down.

While an angler’s skill in the cockpit ultimately determines a team’s success or failure at the end of the day, it sure helps to have a great captain at the helm to put you in the midst of the action. That was the case with the first day’s action in this year’s tournament, as local skipper and pioneering captain Red Bailey led the Floridabased angling team of Tim and Kathleen Aylward to the first release of the tournament and a very slender Day One lead based on time. A passing tropical disturbance had elevated seas on the North Drop to a sporty six-to-eight feet, making conditions tough but far from unbearable for the 16 boats in this year’s fleet. Tim Aylward is the defending Top Angler, having won the tournament’s prestigious Give ‘m Line Trophy last year. Five other boats released one blue marlin apiece, including WBS veteran Brooks Smith on the Uno Mas. Brooks and his team had a perfect, albeit slow day, going one for one on blue

marlin. But it would be Gray Ingram of the Big Oh that would finish the day with the best story—Gray and company were joined in the boat by their 150-pound blue, who elected to leave their company only when a quickthinking mate opened the boat’s cockpit door, earning the team an unusual release. Another local legend, Capt. Billy Borer, put his anglers in fourth place on the Gulf Rascal, while the Game On came in fifth with the final one-fish release of the day. With the weather clearing and the full moon fast approaching, the fishing did manage to improve significantly on Day Two, and this day belonged to Gray Ingram’s Big Oh. This time they managed to keep the blue marlin in the water on their releases, finding another two to let go to move into the lead with three for the tournament. But several other boats also had good days on the water. The Reel Tight, fishing competitively for the first time since the loss of owner/angler Jim Lambert, moved into second place with three releases

The Reel Tight earns another successful release fishing off the productive North Drop waters.

Billfishing Magazine


VIGFC July Open on Day Two. Lambert, an outstanding angler, conservation pioneer and a fixture on the tournament scene in the Caribbean, recently lost his battle with cancer. Undaunted, his crew persevered knowing that “the boss” would be with them in spirit. Red Bailey’s Abigail III added an additional release to find themselves in third place overall. As with tournaments across the world, it would go down to the third and final day to determine the winner. In the end, what many would call simply inevitable, the win would go to the Reel Tight. Considered by many to be one of the very best teams in the sport of billfishing, Capt. Eddie Herbert, Robert “Fly” Navarro, Joe Figiel, Eric Leech and Jimmy Lambert teamed up to put the 82-foot Merritt in the winner’s slip with an additional three blue marlin releases on Day Three. It was the first July Open Billfish Tournament win for the team.

After never winning this event in the past, the Reel Tight finally emerged victorious in the 2008 July Open tournament.

The Big Oh, a Scarborough 63, finished just behind the winners, finding second place but also scoring a spot on the perpetual Give ‘m Line Trophy for owner and angler Gray Ingram. He was the angler on all five of the team’s blue marlin in the tournament. Also releasing five blues was another top WBS angler, Black Gold’s Harry Sargeant, who finished third. Despite what many would consider slower than usual fishing, the North Drop still produced a good number of blue marlin bites for the teams, proving once again that it’s the place to be when the summer heats up.

Gray Ingram and the Big Oh team placed second, also winning Top Angler honors for Ingram along the way.

THE VIRGIN ISLANDS GAME FISHING CLUB: HISTORY IN PROGRESS The North Drop off St. Thomas holds a special place in the hearts of blue marlin fishermen, especially in the late summer when the fishing turns red-hot. As early as the 1960s, the region was made famous by the sport’s earliest pioneers, renowned captains like Tommy Gifford, Johnny Harms and Red Bailey, who were tallying phenomenal catches of the ultimate bluewater prize: Atlantic blue marlin. When Harms started construction on what would become American Yacht Harbor, the Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club bought a parcel of land overlooking the marina and, under the direction of founding members Howard Crouse, Hoppy Hampton, Frank Illich and Robert Shultz, built a

three-story building on the property. This building now houses the Club on the top floor, the Frigate Restaurant on the second floor and Marvin Berning Surveyors on the lower floor. The goals of the Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club are to promote and encourage sportfishing in the Virgin Islands, to recognize the sport as healthful, relaxing and challenging, to promote good fellowship and sportsmanship among its members and to instill an awareness of the vital importance of conservation of marine life. Members are encouraged to practice good conservation techniques in the Virgin Islands and elsewhere.

Billfishing Magazine


Todd Tharp Profile Tournament Awards 2002 2nd Place Wahoo: Cayman Islands Int’l Tournament, Grand Cayman 1st Place Wahoo: Cayman Airways Pilot’s Association Tournament, Grand Cayman 2001 2nd Place Blue Marlin Release Division: Cayman Islands Int’l Tourn. 2nd Place Tuna: Cayman Airways Pilot’s Assn. Tourn. 2000 Top Angler: Texaco Bluewater Challenge, Grand Cayman 1st Place Blue Marlin Release Div: Cayman Islands Int’l Tourn. 1999 1st and 2nd Place Tuna: CFOA Tuna Tournament, Florida Favorite Billfishing Location: “My favorite location for billfish is the Cayman Islands. My uncle lived there for over 18 years, giving me the opportunity to learn the waters there and consistently catch and release blue marlin.” Favorite “Fun Fishing” Location: “I’d have to say the Caymans again because the same time you’re fishing for marlin you may have plenty of chances to catch dolphin, wahoo and tuna. Every now and then a sailfish or white marlin shows up too.” Other Interests: “Waterfowl hunting and running my chocolate labs in the Hunting Retriever Club hunt tests when I’m not spending time with my wife Christine and our kids, five-year old Erin and eight-year old James.” Occupation: “I built custom offshore trolling rigs, lures, teasers and accessories under the Todd’s Rigs and Lures label along with being Mr. Mom.”


he first tournaments I fished were with my dad and granddad back in the 70s as a very young boy, mostly the Pensacola International Billfish Tournament. I was hooked. Since then I’ve had the opportunity to fish a lot of events in the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, Alabama and throughout Florida. Before kids, I would fish six to ten tournaments a year—now I’m lucky if I can fish in one or two since these days I’m Mr. Mom.” “The most memorable days on the water that I can remember were with my dad, my uncle Larry and cousin Travis, fishing in Isla Mujeres in February 2003. We went down to fish with our good friend Capt. Ed Dwyer on the Ticket. In the two-half days we fished, we released 39 sails plus a variety of bottomdwellers. This was the last fishing trip I had with my father, who lost his fight with cancer in April of that same year.”

Thoughts on the Future of Sportfishing: “Everyone, no matter how young or old, needs to play a part in the conservation efforts. You don’t need a full cooler at the end of the day to have a great day on the water.” Favorite Fish Story: “There are several and they all include trips with my son James. The most fun are the days where I watch him catch his first fish of a different species. They include redfish, ladyfish, seatrout, black drum, jacks, barracuda and kingfish to name a few. His next goals are dolphin and tuna so I look forward to putting him on them soon.”

“For tournaments, I guess I’m like the ‘go-to’ guy to make sure everybody knows what is where and who is doing what. I also prep all the tackle we will be using to make sure everything is crimped correctly, the knots are good, our line is fresh, drags are set and we have plenty of back-ups for everything. I rig all the lures and most of the bait combos we use.”

Billfishing Magazine


Benjie Stansky Profile Tournament Awards 2008 1st Billfish, Day Four: Pirate’s Cove Billfish Tournament, NC 1st Place Dolphin: Virginia Beach Billfish Tournament, VA 2003 2nd Place Billfish: Virginia Beach Billfish Tournament, VA 1997 2nd Place Billfish Points: Alice Kelly Memorial, NC Favorite Billfishing Location: “The area northeast of Oregon Inlet called the Triple Zeros is good for double-digit days of white marlin and jumbo blue marlin. In fact, there was a 1,230-pound blue marlin caught there in August of this year during the Pirate’s Cove Billfish Tournament. It’s my favorite for both quantity and quality of billfish action.” Favorite “Fun Fishing” Location: “My favorite fun location is wherever the fish are thick, the weather is pretty and most of all, my people are happy.” Other Interests: “Duck hunting and spending time with my family.” Occupation: “I build sportfishing boats in the 45- to 60-foot range. I built my current boat, the 55-foot Sea Note.”


started fishing as a mate in 1974, working for Capt. Bill Massey—there’s an offshore canyon named after him as well. Mid-Atlantic anglers know the area for holding bluefin and yellowfin tuna and white marlin, but I can remember never seeing another boat there. If you did see someone, you always knew who it was since we were all worried about breakdowns and all we had was a CB radio for communications. With experience came some tournament wins and my own captain’s license in 1978. I moved to North Carolina soon afterward, building boats and fishing each one in season. I finished the Sea Note in 1996. This year, I fished in the White Marlin Open, Pirate’s Cove, Alice Kelly and the Virginia Beach Billfish Tournament.”

Favorite Fish Story: “For great days on the water, one special one comes to mind about six years ago. It was a great day in January, about 70 degrees and 300- to 400-pound bluefin tuna were biting in 35 feet of water off Ocracoke Island, less than a mile off the beach. As luck would have it, I had my friends and family out on the water that day—amazing strikes and runs in that shallow water are hard to describe.”

“Each summer I always plan to take a few days off prior to the start of tournament season to change cutlass bearings, align the engines and check everything below the waterline. New line and drag washers are always on the list along with outrigger cables and lines, rod tips and outrigger pins. I usually hire a second mate for tournaments and that’s David “Fog” Radke, all the experience in the world.” ”When it comes to the future of the sport, there are several ways to look at it. A hook in the corner of the jaw, a wellplaced tag, the safe handling of large fish and educating the young about the importance of conservation of our natural resources. In other words, teach them you don’t have to kill them and hold ‘em up by their tails to prove you had a good day.”

“Fog” Radke wires a Carolina bluefin tuna for Capt. Benjie Stansky’s family and friends off North Carolina aboard the Sea Note.

Billfishing Magazine


Dr. Ken Neill III Profile

Favorite Billfishing Location: “Venezuela. The first time I went was at the invitation of Dr. John Graves, who was doing pop-up satellite tag studies on white marlin. He needed someone to catch the fish so he could tag them. At some point he told me, ‘Oh, by the way, Guy Harvey will be joining us with his film crew.’ I love research. Currently, we’re doing a similar study with blue marlin, with 60 tags to place. There’s no place better to do that than Venezuela, plus fishing with captains like Bubba Carter and Jimmy Grant has been a blast as well as an education in billfishing.” Favorite “Fun Fishing” Location: “Tropic Star Lodge in Panama. The location is beautiful, you’re treated very well there and the fishing is fantastic.” Other Interests: “I’m heavily involved with fisheries science. I serve as the recreational representative at the Virginia Marine Resource Commission. I also write about fishing and do a lot of photography.” Occupation: “Dentist, thus the boat name Healthy Grin.”


e started fishing in area billfish tournaments about 10 years ago with events like the old Red, White and Blue, the Virginia Beach Invitational, the Virginia Beach Billfish Tournament, Ducks Unlimited and others. We fish in two or three tournaments each summer.” “We have actually had a number of record catches, mostly by accident. Since pelagic species are seasonal off the Virginia coast, we started exploring the offshore bottom fishery during the off-season and started breaking some records. The Healthy Grin team has set 10 all-tackle records in the past couple of years for a variety of bottom fish, including the last five IGFA All-Tackle records for snowy grouper. We keep breaking our own records! The Healthy Grin is an Albemarle 305 Express, and we’ve been featured in their newsletters, catalogs and on their website at”

Favorite Fish Story: “Every trip seems to generate a new one but here’s one of my favorites from our last trip to Venezuela doing tagging research on white marlin. We were fishing with circle hooks on one side of the boat and J-hooks on the other—I was on the J-hook side and John Graves was on the circle hook side. On this trip, the J-hooks were rigged with splitbilled swimming ballyhoo while the circles were rigged with skipping ballyhoo. The fish would come in, look at the skip baits and cross over to eat the swimming ballyhoo. John got to watch me catch a lot of fish but was too stubborn to switch over. Then a sailfish came in—I hooked it and everyone got a look at it jumping. Our captain, Jimmy Grant, went into a turn to try and raise a second or third fish when I felt the hook pull. I kept reeling, then came tight again. I thought I was wrong about the hook pulling but this fish turned out to be a white marlin—the hook had pulled and a white had eaten what was left of the bait. Back at the dock, Jimmy tells the story and said it was like going to bed with one woman and waking up with another. It was a very memorable trip.”

“Before each tournament season we make sure the service on the boat is up to date and that all our tackle has been serviced and new line placed on each reel. Since we use natural baits, we’re using all circle hooks and wind-on leaders these days as well. Whenever possible, we will fish a couple of days prior to a tournament just like we would do in the event itself, with the same spread and with each crewmember doing their tournament jobs on deck. It’s a great way for us to get warmed up and into that winning mindset.” “We have a lot of young anglers entering the sport and some of them are truly amazing anglers. We as recreational anglers are better organized and better educated about the politics of fisheries management than ever before, and the politicians and managers themselves seem to be getting the message about the importance of a healthy recreational fishing industry. We still have a long way to go, especially on the international level, but we are headed in the right direction.” Billfishing Magazine


2008 WORLD TOUR SPONSORS The following companies proudly support the World Billfish Series and the sport of billfishing as sponsors of the 2008 WBS World Tour.


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Contact: Martyn Bignell Phone 954-524-2844

Venture Marine Building the highest quality center console boats from 24 to 39 feet.

1800 Old Dixie Highway Riviera Beach, FL 33404

Contact: Rusty Kelley Phone: 800-960-3434

Viking Yachts Sportfishing boats from 45 to 74 feet

Route 9, “On the Bass River” New Gretna, NJ 08224

Contact: Peter Frederiksen Phone: 609-296-6000

XMWX The leader in mobile weather display software and receivers.

430 Research Drive Huntsville, AL 35805

Phone: 800-985-9200

YachtPath Providing global yacht transpot services to the world’s most popular destinations.

2401 PGA Boulevard, Suite 155 Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410

Krista Kersey Phone: 561-784-6700

Yamaha Motor Corp. Manufacturer of two- and four-stroke outboard engines.

1270 Chastain Rd. Kennesaw, GA 30144

Contact: Mike Dixon Phone: 770-420-5800


Boat Name Catch One Sandman Rude Awakening Sandman Miss Britt 1 Priceless Catch One Miss Annie Money Shot Blank Check Chips Ahoy Get Lit Certifiable Sandra T Miss Britt 1 Big Oh Covert Mission Anejo Certifiable Masque Lady Lane Money Shot Sandra T X Generation

350 350 350 350 650 50 275 275 0 0 0 575 200 125 575 275 125 0 0 0 500 0 125 500

350 50 450 75 275 50 0 0 0 0 50 0 0 0 0 0 0 125 0 0 0 0 0 0

650 875 150 650 0 0 200 425 725 675 500 0 275 125 0 200 350 350 575 125 0 500 125 0

275 0 350 0 0 275 0 0 0 0 0 0 125 200 0 0 0 0 0 350 0 0 125 0

650 0 0 0 0 275 350 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0


Angler Mark Wodlinger Sandra Kirkpatrick Rudy Polselli Jr. Todd Kirkpatrick Dave Dickerson Lev Mullins Erik Waldin Mark Donahue Eddie Lopez Dan Doyle Jr. Chip Sheehan Kitt Toomey Matt Lynch Serena Wilson Danny Farkas Gray Ingram Tom Craig Dave Przysinda Colin Murphy Mark Schwartz Rob Lane Manny Menendez Sandy Kaupe Doug Kontz

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2275 1425 1300 1225 1025 850 825 800 775 725 650 625 600 600 575 575 575 575 575 575 550 550 525 500

2700 575 900 650 0 0 0 1675 0 1450 1700 175 900 0 1700 700 0 125 0 525 900 450 0 525 2150 0 1700 0 900 200 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 450 0 300 1250 0 900 0 0 450 0 0

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0 0 925 0 0 0 450 0 1328 0 450 450 0 450 0 0 575 50 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 450 0 450 0 0 0 1650 0 0 175 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 175 0 0 975

850 0 975 125 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 450 0 0 0 450 50 1250 0 850 0 0 1650 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1375 0 0 0 1250 0 175 0 575 0 450 0 0 450

450 450 0 900 0 0 175 0 50 450 0 0 0 0 175 0 0 175 850 0 0 0 175 0

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Angler Lainey Jones Heather Rintoul Gray Ingram Steve Schmeusser Laura Beth Hannah Susan Clements Morgan Miller Brad Aery Chris Domel Jr. Davis Dugan McLauglin Luis Bacardi John Lancaster Dan Roebuck III Peter Angel Rod Windley Greg Barber Robert Southard Sr. Frank Naparano Bill Gardner Steve Lewis Michael Peet Barry Weshnak Pat Thomas



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Billfishing Magazine


2 0 0 8 W O R L D T O U R STA N D I N G S

Boat Name Get Lit Jichi Uptight G Team Wound Up Weez in the Keys Team Costa Night Prowler No Mercy Wound Up Sandman Ventolera L&H Get Lit Bouncer’s Dusky Wound Up Miss Costa 4 Aces Off the Hook Boat Center Game Time Sandman Priceless Priceless

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425 500 0 0 500 125 350 0 575 350 0 0 0 200 0 425 200 0 350 0 0 0 0 0

200 0 425 275 200 0 0 200 0 200 200 275 275 125 125 200 200 125 0 200 0 200 125 125

400 200 700 650 0 425 350 350 275 200 125 500 200 125 0 0 200 725 0 275 200 275 250 250

300 650 500 275 425 425 350 575 125 275 575 200 200 200 800 250 275 0 475 125 350 200 375 350



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1950 1900 1900 1750 1550 1375 1325 1325 1250 1225 1175 1175 1175 1125 1125 1075 1000 975 950 875 875 875 875 850


Boat Name Spanish Fly Sweet Dreams Super Fly Hattaboy Prime Time Super Fly Miss Behavin’ Lady Columbo Dream Maker Prime Time Muy Caliente Gringo Honeymoon The Bite Iron Trader After You Penguin El Jefe Grande Dealer’s Choice Uno Mas Predator Miss Behavin’ Clean Sweep Miss Behavin’ Sweet Dreams

2275 2350 1775 1950 2350 1400 1475 1875 1800 1225 1325 1550 2150 1325 1400 1000 900 850 925 0 350 275 1000 575

1750 950 950 1025 275 650 1125 600 650 1200 1000 650 0 825 650 975 1025 975 825 1750 1350 1425 675 1100

275 0 425 0 0 575 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0


Angler Mainor Oporto Ron Lea William Easum Arturo Nunez Keylor Vindas Jimmy Taylor Roberto Gonzales Ron Hutchings Warner Porra Russ Nixdorf Paul Snow Hector Rodriguez Mariano Da Brian Bemis Chris Fischer Chris Lepping Carlos Cambronero Eric McDowell Darwin Aranda Edwin Bustos RJ Lily Andrew Shapiro David Finkelstein Robert Beasley

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4300 3300 3150 2975 2625 2625 2600 2475 2450 2425 2325 2200 2150 2150 2050 1975 1925 1825 1750 1750 1700 1700 1675 1675

2 0 0 8 W O R L D T O U R STA N D I N G S

0 0 0 850 0 0 0 0 650 450 250 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 450 450 450 450 450

450 450 0 0 0 575 0 0 0 50 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 550 0 450 0 0 0 0 0

300 450 0 0 0 50 0 0 0 50 400 0 575 575 575 450 0 525 0 0 0 0 0 0

175 175 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 175 0 800 0 0 0 0 0 50 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 125 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

575 450 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 50 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

0 0 450 0 850 0 0 0 0 0 0 600 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

0 0 450 0 0 0 0 700 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0


Boat Name Reel Addiction Quick Time Use of Proceeds High C’S Use of Proceeds Sophie Louise Born 2 Run Cabo Loco You Never Know! Jena Suzanna Ultimate Lure FINS Sea Spray Honey Jolly B First Choice Desperado Bella Maria First Choice Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown


Angler Rocky Jones Michael Burroughs Johnny Koontz Chace Nelson Scott Elliot Troy Turner Kyle Avenarius Steve Pappen Sari Turner Terry Stewart Frank Fabre Andy Ford Blan Marriott Harry Coleman Hugh Scott Dennis Pasentine David Wilkins R. Wayne Lewis John Pasentine Bradley Shivers Brett Loper Charles Nelson Chuck Jordan Joey Brewer

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1675 1350 900 850 850 800 800 700 650 650 650 600 575 575 575 575 550 525 500 450 450 450 450 450

0 50 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 50 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 100 100 0 0 0 0

3125 1279 1109 850 750 750 675 650 625 625 608 600 600 575 575 575 575 575 575 575 575 550 550 550

Boat Name Shark Byte Mimi Last Run Reel Jim Sea Wolf Turn Me Loose Judge DA Sea Rascal Cookie II Over the Top Viking 68 Triple A Roulette Maximus A-Lure Sea Hunt Cookie II Let it Ride Viking 68 Qualifier Par Five Mehl Ticket Krazy Salt’s

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 425 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

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0 1229 0 850 0 450 0 0 0 0 0 175 600 450 0 0 0 0 175 175 575 0 0 0


Angler Peter Cherasia Trey Irvine Robert Lockwood Jim Hobbs Dwight Wolf David Thomas Martin Judge Valerie Dunn Douglas Miller John Caputo Ben Marino Don Gemmell Jeff Stonehill Richard Pingre Bill Demchack Keith Kurek Rick Hoenes Sonny Falcone James Kontos Pat Healey Randy Vosbeck Charlie Rodriguez Craig Bocchino David Anderson

Ch a Re rles s to Bil ort & n H lf i s M a r h T a bo r ou rine HM rn am Bil Y-V en lfis ik t h T ing ou M rna ega me do N. nt ck C Ba . Du nd ck the s U Bil nlim lfis it h T ed W ou hit rn. eM arl in Op Pir en a To te’s ur C na ov me e nt Bill fis h M i dAt la n tic $5 00 ,00 Th eS 0 ail fis hS la m

M I D - AT L A N T I C D I V I S I O N

Billfishing Magazine






*The World Billfish Series reserves the right to make changes in the Schedule, including additions and deletions of events, at any time during the course

Tournaments By Division MID-ATLANTIC DIVISION Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina Billfish Tourn., 6/25 - 6/28 HMY-Viking Megadock Billfish Tournament, 7/9 - 7/12 N.C. Ducks Unlimited Band the Billfish, 7/31 - 8/2 White Marlin Open, 8/4 - 8/8 Pirate's Cove Billfish Tournament, 8/11 - 8/15 Mid-Atlantic $500,000, 8/17 - 8/22 The Sailfish Slam, 10/1 - 10/4 SOUTHEAST DIVISION FYI Sailfish Kickoff, 12/6 - 12/9 (2007) The Sailfish Tournament, 1/10 - 1/12 Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament, 1/17 - 1/19 Miami Mayor's Cup, 1/24 - 1/27 Captain Bob Lewis Billfish Challenge, 2/28 - 3/2 Yamaha Contender Miami Billfish Tournament, 4/3 - 4/6 Islamorada Swordfish Tournament, 8/15 - 8/17 Miami Swordfish Tournament, 9/12 - 9/14 TREASURE COAST DIVISION Silver Sailfish Derby, 1/7 - 1/10 Jupiter Billfish Tournament, 1/9 - 1/11 Buccaneer Cup Sailfish Release Tournament, 1/15 - 1/19 Palm Beach Sailfish Classic, 1/22 - 1/26 Ft. Lauderdale Billfish Tournament, 2/27 - 3/2 El Pescado Billfish Tournament, 10/2 - 10/4 New Smyrna Beach Billfish Invt'l, 10/9 - 10/12 GULF COAST DIVISION Mobile BGFC Memorial Day Tournament, 5/23 - 5/26 Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic, 6/4 - 6/8 New Orleans Invitational Billfish Tournament, 6/11 - 6/15 Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic, 6/24 - 6/29 Pensacola International Billfish Tournament, 7/3 - 7/6 Bay Point Invitational Billfish Tournament, 7/9 - 7/13 Outcast Blue Marlin Classic, 7/23 - 7/26 Texas International Fishing Tournament, 7/30 - 8/3 Orange Beach Billfish Classic, 7/30 - 8/3 Sarasota Slam-HBA Fishing Tournament, 8/6 - 8/9 Old Salt Loop Tournament, 8/15 - 8-18 CARIBBEAN DIVISION BBC Central Abaco Championship, 4/13 - 4/18 BBC Marsh Harbour Championship, 4/27 - 5/2 BBC Harbour Island, 5/11 - 5/16 Boat Harbour Billfish Blast, 5/26 - 5/30 BBC Treasure Cay Championship, 6/1 - 6/6 Abaco Billfish Challenge, 6/10 - 6/13 BBC Boat Harbour Championship, 6/15 - 6/20 VIGFC July Open, 7/14 - 7/17 A.H. Riise BVI Billfish Tournament, 7/19 - 7/23 Club Nautico Int’l Billfish Tourn. of San Juan, 8/11 – 8/16 Presidential Caribbean Cup, 9/12 - 9/14 PACIFIC DIVISION Los Sueños Signature Series #1, 1/21 - 1/24 Los Sueños Signature Series #2, 3/12 - 3/15 The Presidential Challenge of Costa Rica, 4/12 - 4/14 The Presidential Challenge of El Salvador, 11/10 - 11/12 Los Sueños Marlin Invitational, 11/19 - 11/22 The Presidential Challenge of Guatemala, 11/21 - 11/23 SOUTH PACIFIC DIVISION South Indian Ocean Billfish Tournament, 2/10 - 2/16 Broken Bay Fishing Club Invitational Tournament, 3/14 - 3/16 Raiatea International Billfish Tournament, 3/24 - 3/29 Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic, 10/13 - 10/20 MEXICO DIVISION Cancun Billfish Classic, 4/23 - 4/26 Puerto Los Cabos Billfish Classic, 5/12 - 5/16 Puerto Los Cabos World Cup, 10/14 - 10/18 Mazatlán Billfish Classic, 11/5 - 11/8 Puerto Vallarta Billfish Classic, 11/12 - 11/14

2008 WBS GRAND CHAMPIONSHIPS December 3 – 6, 2008

DECEMBER 6 - 9, 2007 Miami, Florida FYI Sailfish Kickoff Anthony Albelo (305) 461-2700

MARCH 12 - 15 Playa Herradura, Costa Rica Los Sueños Signature Series - #2 Ashley Bretecher

JANUARY 2 - 5, 2008 Palm Beach, Florida Silver Sailfish Derby Tom Twyford (561) 832-6780

MARCH 14 - 16 Broken Bay, Australia Broken Bay Game Fishing Club Craig Findlay

JANUARY 9 - 11 Jupiter, Florida Jupiter Billfish Tournament Scott Nichols (561) 262-6424

MARCH 24 - 29 Raiatea, Tahiti, French Polynesia Raiatea Int’l Billfish Tournament Dominique Goche 011-689-60-05-45

JANUARY 9 - 12 Playa Herradura, Costa Rica Los Sueños Signature Series - #I Ashley Bretecher

APRIL 3 - 6 Miami, Florida Yamaha Contender Miami Judy Layne (305) 598-2525

JANUARY 10 - 13 Miami, Florida The Sailfish Tournament Richard Peeples III (305) 672-38075

APRIL 12 - 14 Samara, Costa Rica Presidential Challenge of Costa Rica Joan Vernon (305) 361-9258

JANUARY 15 - 19 Singer Island, Florida Buccaneer Cup Sailfish Release Gary Caputi (732) 899-9988

APRIL 13 - 18 Treasure Cay, Bahamas BBC Central Abaco Championship Brenda Fletcher (954) 920-5577

JANUARY 17 - 19 Islamorada, Florida Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Liz Hill (305) 451-5094

APRIL 23 - 26 Cancun, Mexico Cancun Billfish Classic Harvey L. Hunnicutt (714) 259-4899

JANUARY 22 - 26 West Palm Beach, Florida Palm Beach Sailfish Classic Pat Ross (561) 818-6095

APRIL 27 - MAY 2 Boat Harbour, Bahamas BBC Marsh Harbour Championship Brenda Fletcher (954) 920-5577

JANUARY 24 - 27 Miami, Florida Miami Mayor’s Cup Anthony Albelo (305) 461-2700

MAY 11 - 16 Eleuthera, Bahamas BBC Harbour Island Brenda Fletcher (954) 920-5577

FEBRUARY 10 - 16 Black River, Mauritius South Indian Ocean Billfish Tourn. Kapil Ramnarain

MAY 12 - 16 Cabo San Lucas, Mexico Puerto Los Cabos Billfish Classic Harvey L. Hunnicutt (714) 259-4899

FEB 27 - MARCH 2 Fort Lauderdale, Florida Fort Lauderdale Billfish Tourn. Mark Constantino (877)-561-7245

MAY 23 - 26 Orange Beach, Alabama Mobile BGFC Memorial Day Bill Waechter (251) 402-8392

FEB 28 - MARCH 2 Miami, Florida Capt. Bob Lewis Billfish Challenge Janice Sands (305) 525-8941

MAY 26 - 30 Marsh Harbour, Bahamas Boat Harbour Billfish Blast Mike Dickman (954) 926-0400



of the year. Please visit our website at for the most up to date tournament information.

JUNE 1 - 6 Treasure Cay, Bahamas BBC Treasure Cay Brenda Fletcher (954) 920-5577

JULY 23 - 26 Orange Beach, Alabama Outcast Blue Marlin Classic Tommy Holmes (850) 457-1450

SEPTEMBER 12 - 14 La Guaira, Venezuela Presidential Caribbean Cup Joan Vernon (305) 361-9258

JUNE 4 - 8 Biloxi, Mississippi Mississippi Gulf Coast Classic Bobby Carter (228) 436-7928

JULY 30 - AUGUST 3 South Padre Island, TX Texas Int’l Fishing Tournament (TIFT) Betty Wells (956) 943-8438

OCTOBER 1 - 4 Charleston, South Carolina The Sailfish Slam K.C. Rennie (843) 278-4914

JUNE 10 - 13 Marsh Harbour, Bahamas Abaco Billfish Challenge Amy Withers (305) 934-0505

JULY 30 - AUGUST 3 Orange Beach, Alabama Orange Beach Billfish Classic Beth Reed (251) 978-2524

OCTOBER 2 - 4 St. Augustine, Florida El Pescado Billfish Tourn. Dennis Rosa (904) 642-0210

JUNE 11 - 15 Venice, Louisiana New Orleans Invt’l Billfish Tourn. Charlie Catlinger (504) 237-4030

JULY 31 - AUGUST 2 Morehead City, North Carolina N.C. Ducks Unlimited Bob Lichauer (336) 454-5493

OCTOBER 4 - 11 Lizard Island, Australia Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic Bob Lowe 011-61-2-9546-8540

JUNE 15 - 20 Boat Harbour, Bahamas BBC Boat Harbour Championship Brenda Fletcher (954) 920-5577

AUGUST 4 - 8 Ocean City, Maryland White Marlin Open Jim Motsko (410) 289-9229

OCTOBER 9 - 12 New Smyrna Beach, Florida New Smyrna Beach Billfish Invt’l. Jon Zellar (386) 290-4181

JUNE 24 - 29 Sandestin, Florida Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic Shawna Meisner (866) 505-4458

AUGUST 6 - 9 Sarasota, Florida Sarasota Slam-HBA Fishing Tournament T.J. Nutter (941) 650-2321

OCTOBER 14 - 18 Cabo San Lucas, Mexico Puerto Los Cabos World Cup Harvey L. Hunnicutt (714) 259-4899

JUNE 25 - 28 Charleston, South Carolina Charleston Harbor Billfish Tourn. Deidre Menefee (843) 345-0369

AUGUST 11 - 15 Manteo, North Carolina Pirate’s Cove Billfish Tourn. Harry Hindmarsh (252) 473-1015

NOVEMBER 5 - 8 Mazatlán, Mexico Mazatlán Billfish Classic Harvey L. Hunnicutt (714) 259-4899

JULY 3 - 6 Pensacola, Florida Pensacola Int’l Billfish Tourn. Doug Quigley (850) 438-7561

AUGUST 11 - 16 San Juan, Puerto Rico San Juan Int’l Billfish Tourn. Gonzalo M. Ferrer (787) 727-7700

NOVEMBER 12 - 14 Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico Puerto Vallarta Billfish Classic Harvey L. Hunnicutt (714) 259-4899

JULY 9 - 12 Charleston, South Carolina HMY-Viking Megadock Billfishing Tourn. K.C. Rennie (843) 278-4914

AUGUST 15 - 17 Islamorada, Florida Islamorada Swordfish Tourn. Richard Peeples III (305) 282-1006

NOVEMBER 10 - 12 Bahia Del Sol, El Salvador Presidential Challenge of El Salvador Joan Vernon (305) 361-9258

JULY 9 - 13 Panama City, Florida Bay Point Billfish Invt’l Chris Miller (850) 348-1489

AUGUST 15 - 18 St. Petersburg, Florida Old Salt Loop Tournament Tom Verdensky (727) 867-9388

NOVEMBER 19 - 22 Playa Herradura, Costa Rica Los Sueños Marlin Invitational Ashley Bretecher

JULY 14 - 17 St. Thomas, Virgin Islands VIGFC July Open Jeff Kreiner (404) 580-4126

AUGUST 17 - 22 Cape May, New Jersey Mid-Atlantic $500,000 Bob Glover (609) 884-2400

NOVEMBER 21 - 23 Iztapa, Guatemala Presidential Challenge of Guatemala Joan Vernon (305) 361-9258

JULY 19 - 23 Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands A.H. Riise BVI Billfish Tournament Lawrence Wheatley (284) 495-8002

SEPTEMBER 12 - 14 Miami, Florida Miami Swordfish Tournament Richard Peeples III (305) 282-1006

DECEMBER 3 - 6 WBS GRAND CHAMPIONSHIPS Los Sueños, Costa Rica Sam White (727) 864-4400 or Billfishing Magazine


Vol 8, Issue 8  
Vol 8, Issue 8  

Billfishing Magazine, August 2008