Promoters of the 2012 Billfish Invitational Tournament, www.billfishinvitational.com, today announced that legendary fisherman and Saltwater Sportsman editor, John Brownlee, will be aboard as Master of Ceremonies for the tournament’s May 31st dinner roast of international sport fishing angler and entrepreneur Tim Choate at the historic Bimini Big Game Club.

Brownlee, who was recently inducted into the Big Game Room Hall of Fame at the Miami International Boat Show, will be joined that evening by celebrated marine wildlife artist, scientist and conservationist Dr. Guy Harvey, who with some partners reopened the Bimini Big Game Club in 2010 as a Guy Harvey Outpost Resort & Marina.

Choate, who shares similar conservation goals as does Brownlee and Dr. Harvey, will be presented with the Frank Johnson Trophy for Personal Achievement in the Advancement of Big Game Sport Fishing at the roast and special recognition dinner event. Frank Johnson himself was the first year honoree.

Brownlee, a committed conservation activist, has served on the board for many conservation organizations, including the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, The Billfish Foundation, The Coastal Conservation Association and the Fish Florida specialty license plate organization which raises money to provide fishing tackle to children.  Brownlee, a resident of Islamorada in The Florida Keys, also played a key role in the Save Our Sealife Net Ban constitutional amendment in 1994.

The Second Annual Billfish Invitational is scheduled for May 30-June 2 and is hosted by the Bimini Big Game Club in Alice Town.

Net proceeds from the all release event will be administered by the Big Game Club for the direct benefit of conservation and education programs to be implemented in Bimini at the direction of the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and the IGFA.

Host to numerous major sport fishing tournaments for more than half a century, the historic Big Game Club is focused on returning to world-class bluewater tournament angling.

“This is the signature event of an intended series of Guy Harvey Outpost Invitational tournaments planned for Florida and the Bahamas, “ said Mark Ellert, president of Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts.  “Our goal is to engage top of class anglers with the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation to promote sustainable tournament fishing practices, while specifically benefitting conservation initiatives in the venue where each Invitational tournament is held.”

In addition to individual prizes, the Billfish Invitational tournament format will include the award of two perpetual trophies, to be displayed in the Club’s new trophy room lounge. One trophy is named for two giants among a long line of legendary Bimini personalities—Ernest Hemingway and Michael Lerner—and the second trophy honors Personal Achievement in the Advancement of Big Game Sport Fishing with the establishment of The Frank Johnson Trophy.

Tournament winners last year were the Renaissance/Team Varsity Jacket team winning first place on a blue marlin caught the first day.  According to Tournament Director Ned Stone, 15 spots are available for this year’s tournament, including a new classification for boats under 40’.

Bimini’s location along the legendary Gulfstream (a “river” of warm water) location is at the apex of a superhighway for migrating fish and acts as a kind of sushi conveyor belt carrying abundant food to the local fish. Deepwater game fish include marlin, tuna, sailfish, wahoo and swordfish, while big grouper, barracuda and schools of snapper can be found on the reefs. Bimini’s flats are home the fishermen’s favorite prey, bonefish and permit. With more than 50-record-setting catches in the waters around the island, Bimini has earned its title of Sport Fishing Capital of the World.

Eligible species for the Billfish Invitational include Blue Marlin, Dolphin, Wahoo, Tuna and Kingfish. The tournament is an all release tournament.  In the interest of conservation, Guy Harvey Outpost and the Tournament Committee ask that all inedible and undersized fish be released as quickly as possible.

Administered by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and the IGFA, tournament proceeds will be reinvested in Bimini and surrounding waters. For registration and further details, contact Captain Ned Store at nstone@guyharveyoutpost.com or call 954-524-2225 (office) or 954-205-9595 (cell).

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