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July 10, 2009

Wound Up Scores Big in Billfish Blast

With more than $260,000 in cash and prizes up for grabs in the Blast, the crews were chomping at the bit to try their luck offshore.

The blue marlin bite kicked into high gear for the 41 boats competing in the Bermuda Billfish Blast, the first leg of the Bermuda Triple Crown. On Day One the Blast is also fished in conjunction with the World Cup Blue Marlin Championship and the entire fleet kept their eyes out for the big blue that would bring the World Cup title back to Bermuda. With more than $260,000 in cash and prizes up for grabs in the Blast, the crews were chomping at the bit to try their luck offshore.

The weather broke and the bite turned on just in time as the fleet headed to Bermuda's world-class offshore banks on Day One. Madeira was already atop the World Cup leader board as the Bermuda fleet left the dock with a 595-pounder, but no one seemed too worried about topping that mark. Wound Up, led by Capt. James Robinson, scored an early blue marlin release with angler Mike Henry in the chair. At 1:41 p.m. the team on Wound Up saw the fish they were looking for as a big blue pilled on a lure and took off. Seventeen-year-old angler Stefan Olsen made his way to the fighting chair. After a drag-and-pull battle lasting two hours, the fish came up dead. At 3:40, Robinson made the announcement that the fish was secured and measured 132 inches short length. All estimates showed that it should definitely be enough to take the lead in the World Cup. The team kept fishing until lines out and a raucous crowd awaited their arrival at the weigh in to see how the scale would treat the Bermuda boys. At 865 pounds, it toppled the mark and beat out the boats in Hawaii to bring the World Cup back to Bermuda and take the big fish award in the Billfish Blast worth $88,000.

Wound Up wasn't the only one finding the bite on Day One. Off Piste, with Capt. Brian Lines, got into the mix just after 9 a.m. as angler Todd Peever cranked in a white marlin in just five minutes. Peever added a second white marlin release and topped his day off with a blue marlin to help his team lay claim to the Day One, level one release prize worth $19,500.

Four boats finished Day One with 700 points for releasing a blue and a white. Karen Sealuck caught Mako's first blue at 9:53 and Sacha Bearden added a white marlin just a few minutes later, to give Mako, with Capt. Allen DeSilva, the level two release jackpot worth $34,000.

Bree, Fish On and Mama Who all scored 700 points and were in good place going into the second day of the Blast, which is an all-release day. David Alban caught a white on Bree, an72-foot Merritt just before 10 a.m. and Randy Ringhaver caught Bree's blue at noon. Robert Kathary caught a blue and white on Fish On, a 64-foot Jim Smith putting them in good contention for Day Two. Elaine Jones caught a blue and white on Mama Who, a 60-foot Hatteras, putting her team near the top and in the lead for the lady angler award.

At the end of Day One, the fleet had tallied eight blue marlin releases and 10 white marlin releases.

On the second and final day of the Blast Lisa, a 58-foot Merritt, took the daily release jackpots based on time. Owner and angler Dan Braman caught a blue and white to give Lisa the daily. Three boats ended the day with 700 points, each one catching a blue and a white, but Lisa took day two levels one and two release jackpots worth $53,500. Anita Jean, a 54-foot Gary Davis also caught a blue and a white and finished the day in second place. Jones and her team on Mama Who scored a blue and white on Day Two helping their team take third place overall. Jones also reeled in top lady angler honors and a check for $8,200. Off Piste didn't release any on Day Two but their 900 points scored on Day One was enough for second place overall giving the team a total prize of $35,900. Wound Up released another blue marlin on Day Two, bringing their point total to 1,865 points overall, enough for the top spot in the Billfish Blast and the lead in the Triple Crown going into the next event in the series, the Bermuda Big Game Classic. Wound Up angler Stefan Olsen also won the young angler award for his 865-pound blue catch. Wound Up's cash winning totaled $116,700 and they received an invitation to compete in the IGFA Offshore World Championship.