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April 11, 2011

Major sponsors aboard for Guy Harvey's First Annual Billfish Invitational

Major sponsors aboard for Guy Harvey's First Annual Billfish Invitational

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - Inspired by Guy Harvey's re-opening of the historic Bimini Big Game Club as a family fishing, diving and scientific discovery destination, The Woods Family, owners of South Florida-based Woods & Associates, have become The Blue Marlin sponsor for Dr. Harvey's upcoming Billfish Invitational scheduled for May 18th.

"Guy's efforts to re-establish the Big Game Club as a premier fishing destination for big game fishermen is truly an accomplishment to be admired and appreciated," said Pete Woods, patriarch and founder of the company in which his sons, Ryan and Matt, and wife, Anne, are participants.  Ryan and Matt help their father in the yacht brokerage and Anne runs a real estate sales operation-all of which is located at the Pier 66 Marina in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"In the early days of our business in Fort Lauderdale, I spent considerable time aboard the family 48' sportfisherman "Annabelle", fishing tournaments like the IBL (International Billfish League) and BBC (Bahamas Billfish Championship) and others," said the elder Woods. "It was only natural and a very comfortable fit to get involved with the Billfish Invitational as it looks to be re-establishing Bimini as a force for big game events."

Woods and Associates, www.woodsyachts.com, which originally began in Fort Myers Beach as Woods & Oviatt in 1973, has long been a fixture in South Florida yacht and sportfishing boat sales.  The family-run firm joins Hell's Bay Boatworks (Sailfish category) and the Bimini Boatyard, Johnson Marine Electronics, ACR Electronics, Seacoast Marine Finance, Luu Marine & Associates, and Sky Limo Air Charters (Wahoo category) as sponsors so far lined-up for the top-of-class Billfish Tournament.

"The Big Game Club has always been a very special place for Chris and me and our five children, having spent many happy summer vacations there," said Wendi Peterson, who with her husband, Chris, run Hell's Bay Boatworks (www.hellsbayboatworks.com) in Titusville, Florida.  "Having Guy and his team now onboard and doing such a wonderful job in re-opening this unique property, we had to support the Billfish Invitational Tournament. Our involvement as a shallow water skiff boat builder is a natural fit with Bimini's legendary backcountry fishing."

Host to numerous major sport fishing tournaments for more than half a century, The Billfish Invitational marks the Big Game Club's return to world-class bluewater tournament angling, after a decade long hiatus.

 The all release tournament will feature three days of fishing, and target all billfish species.  In addition to individual prizes, the 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.

The Hemingway-Lerner Trophy will be presented to the tournament's top Billfish Team, recognizing friendship, teamwork, and the pursuit of excellence, while Frank Johnson himself will be the inaugural recipient of the Frank Johnson Trophy.

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 Tournament include Blue Marlin, White Marlin, Sailfish, Spearfish and Swordfish.

Administered by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and the IGFA, net 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).