The Bermuda Big Game Classic was the tournament that got it all going in Bermuda and remains the largest event and centerpiece of the Bermuda Triple Crown Billfish Championship series. A total of 40 teams and over 300 anglers enjoyed fantastic fishing conditions for the first two days of the tournament, but changing weather and higher winds hampered the third and final day of the competition.
In the end, 47 blue marlin and 10 white marlin were caught, including an impressive 856-pound blue marlin hitting the scales. Over $400,000 in cash and prizes was awarded to the wining teams during the gala awards banquet held in the historic Fairmont Hamilton Princess Harbourviw Ballroom.
The first day of fishing in the Classic always starts with an impressive boat parade. Participants fly flags and cruise through Hamilton Harbour, allowing spectators to see the fleet, including some of the most advanced sport-fishing battlewagons ever built. As the morning bite got going, it was Team Callie Girl that recorded the first blue marlin release for angler Randy Hairfield. Team Triple Play — the smallest boat in the field — also had an early bite, hooking up at 9:21 a.m. for angler Martin Estis. Capt. Andrew Dias reported that the fish was on board at 10:07 a.m., but the team would continue to fish until lines out. Callie Girl added another blue release for Hairfield, wining the Day One Daily Release Jackpot and the early lead in the competition.
Teams Foreign Exchange and Fa-La-Me also caught two blue marlin, keeping a tight race going into day two. Back at the dock, the 36-foot Triple Play eased into Barr’s Bay Park, where a big crowd of spectators waited to see the fish. They were not disappointed, as the massive marlin weighed 856 pounds to win the Day One Daily Marlin Jackpot.
Team Callie Girl — with owner Casey Robinson, Capt. Tom Ross and teammates Charles Perry, Jonathan Oglesby, Rusty Breeden, Wick Townsend, Daniel Spencer and Sam Clark — continued its hot streak on day two of fishing, releasing two more blue marlin by 9:43 a.m. to maintain the lead and ultimately win the 2013 Bermuda Big Game Classic. Its 2,000 points from four blue marlin releases also won the Overall Billfish Release Points Jackpot. Angler Randy Hairfield won top angler honors with 1,500 points. Team Callie Girl took the stage during the awards banquet to receive $141,900 in cash purse and lots of great prizes and trophies. It also won the Garmin Grand and received an invitation to the Offshore World Championship.
Team Triple Play, with the dynamic duo of owner and Capt. Andrew Dias with angler Martin Estis, has fished every year of the Bermuda Triple Crown Billfish Championship and continues to be one of the most productive boats in Bermuda having weighed seven qualifiers and the Blue Marlin World Cup Championship winning 1,189-pound blue marlin in 2004. This year was yet another big-fish win for the Bermuda-based Triple Play, earning the team $161,000 for its 856-pound blue, which was the only tournament on-the-dock qualifier, sweeping all of the Daily and Overall Marlin Jackpots. Team Triple Play, including Andrew Dias, Martin Estis, David Campbell, Clark Bottner, Sloan Wakefield and Morgan Outerbridge, celebrated the big fish by leaping into the water at the dock and partying in style at the awards banquet.
Team Fa-La-Me, winners of the 2012 Bermuda Billfish Classic, nearly pulled off a repeat performance as it moved into second place by converting a double of blue marlin on day two of fishing. Fa-La Me did not add any points on the final day, but held on to Second Place Team with 2,000 points. It also took the Marlin Magazine Manufacturers Cup division for Viking Yachts, wining $28,000 for owners Frank and Mary Ellen Rodriguez, Capt. Robbie Moore, Dave Berard, Taylor Beckford and Tyler Beckford.
Team Uno Mas rallied on the final day of fishing, catching two blue marlin and elevating the team to 2,000 points from four blue marlin to take Third Place Team and $12,000 for owner angler Brooks Smith, Capt. Tommy Lynskey, Mate Sander Cerdas, Sam Peters, Sean Gallagher, Eric Rojas and Jeremy Carrillo.
Additional awards were received by Team Off Piste for the Day Two Daily Release Jackpot worth $21,600 for its three blue marlin releases for owner and Capt. Brian Lines, angler Scott Lines, mate Dano Lee, Richard Lee and Grant Hopkins. Team No Vacancy, with Capt. Eric Soderholm, won the Day Three Release Jackpot with two blues on a double header for anglers Cameron Walsh and Mike Walsh with teammates Chris Weeks, Bill Walsh, Byron Russell and Laura Coburn, winning $21,600. In the Game Fish Category, Team Bree won $6,000 with a 141.6-pound Yellowfin for angler Harry Jones. Top Lady Angler division was earned by Sarah Quigly Ricks on El Cazador with one blue marlin release.