For those teams braving a rough crossing to Bimini, the First Annual Billfish Bonanza this past weekend was worth the chop with sails, blues, dolphin and tuna waiting for action.
The following is a recap from Tournament Director Capt. Paul Cameron:
The Captain’s Meeting kickoff featuring conch and other native treats and plenty of rum punch to wash it down greeted anglers at the kickoff party and captains meeting. Each team received nearly $300 worth of highly sought after custom designed tee shirts, sponsored hats, lures and other gifts in custom duffle bags carrying the Bimini Big Game Club logo. Following tradition started by another well-known Bahamas tournament they also received bottles of sponsored spirits from Titos Vodka.
Day one the lines-in call was made at 8 AM and the 60 anglers aboard 11 boats that did make the crossing went to work. The tournament’s smallest boat, Sweet M’ Ocean drew first blood with a sailfish. Several calls of hook ups cackled over the airwaves during the day and at the end of day one Pantropic Caterpillar’s Wild Cat was in the lead with a blue marlin on time. They also collected the lone Wahoo taken in the whole event. The evening ended with an Island Dinner at the Shark Bar.
Day two saw low pressure due to a persistent line of rainsqualls really shut the bite down. No position changes took place that day in the billfish categories. Vacant dolphin and tuna positions however were filled. Day two closed with a poolside dinner with baked island chicken and fish.
Day three ideal conditions greeted the fleet but fish were not responding in the usual spots. While some continued to beat the deep water for blues others used the strategy of working shallower for sails and whites. While blues were raised by a few boats and even a few hooked up none reached the transoms. Sweet M’Ocean took a second sail to pad their position but a last minute white taken aboard OCD moved them down to third place. The finale feast included Mahi Mahi and Sirloin Steak.
1st Billfish Team- Wild Cat
2nd Billfish Team- OCD
3rd Billfish Team – Sweet M’Ocean
Top Angler- Benisa Levin
Top Wahoo- Wild Cat
Top Dolphin- OCD
Top Tuna- Miss Kethlene
Official tournament hostess, Shelby Chesnes, Playboy’s Miss July 2012, was on hand to greet teams and award trophies. Tournament sponsors included Compleat Angler Marine, Colin Yarnell Goldsmith, Grey Taxidermy, Canyon Gear, Hopkins Carter, Eco Boats, Malin, Titos Vodka, Pantropic Power and Maco.
The Billfish Bonanza follows two recent, highly successful Bimini Wahoo tournaments also hosted by the Big Game Club, in which over 10 dozen anglers hauled in nearly three tons of fish.
Host to numerous major sport fishing tournaments for more than half a century, Bimini is a world-class fishing destination, recently ranked #3 in the top ten fisheries of the world by Sport Fishing Magazine.
General Manager Michael Weber said fishing tournaments will continue to be a regular fixture at the historic resort, located in Alice Town.
Image courtesy Bimini Big Game Club