2011 triple crown
The Bermuda Triple Crown Billfish Championship includes nine days of fishing during three major Bermuda based billfish tournaments with the points earned at each event following the boat, crew and anglers. A total of 189 billfish were caught during the series including 101 blue marlin, 85 white marlin and three spearfish. Over one-million in cash and prizes were awarded during the 2011 series. The quality fleet of boats and competitors in the 2011 BTC made for a very competitive down to the wire finish with one team coming from the middle of the pack to win it all on the last day of fishing at the final event.
The first BTC stop was the Bermuda Billfish Blast held July 3-7th. The Blast first day of fishing coincides with the July 4th Blue Marlin World Cup. A total of 44 teams competed in the Blast for a cash purse of $300,500 and 15,000 in prizes. The white marlin outnumbered the blues during the Blast but it was team Wound Up’s four blue marlin releases on the final day that clinched the win in the Blast also giving them the lead in the Triple Crown with 2000-points. Team Sea’Duce placed second with three blue marlin releases earning 1500-points followed by Sea Toy in third with two blues and a white earning 1200-points. Team Fish On released the first blue of the tournament and won the Day One Release Jackpot earning 500-points for the team heading into the second event.
The second and largest tournament in the Triple Crown is the Bermuda Big Game Classic held July 13-17th. A total of 47 boats competed for $475,750 in cash and 20,000 in prizes. The blue marlin bite improved with the whites keeping anglers guessing and adapting to the changing conditions. Last years Triple Crown Winners Click Through shined above all others catching three blues and two whites earning 1900-points and the Big Game Classic win. Team Click Through held second place in the Triple Crown heading into the final leg. Hard charging Uno Mas scored three blue marlin releases earning 1500-points and second place in the Classic. Team Georgie Girl and Sea Toy also scored three blue marlin releases with Georgie Girl placing third on time in the Classic. Sea Toy however led the Triple Crown series after the Classic with 2700-points followed by Click Through with 2600 and Uno Mas with 2200. Team Fish On scored 500-points in the Classic bringing them to 1000 BTC-points, 1700-points behind the leader heading into the final event.
With the Triple Crown points so tight it was anyone’s ball game heading into the Sea Horse Angler Club Billfish Tournament July 20-24. A total of 23 teams competed for a cash purse of $204,450. The blue marlin bite kicked in and the shootout for the rings began. At 8:10 am on the first day, Fish On hooked-up to a blue marlin and it seemed that they might release the first blue marlin for the third consecutive tournament, but this time things were different because it was a 600-pound class fish they pitched a 50-wide to.
While Fish On battled away, El Cazador scored the first points with a blue marlin release at 8:49 am. Then Queen of Hearts hooked into a big fish at 9:11 am. After a battle of well over an hour, Queen of Hearts had the blue marlin in the boat and it tipped the scales at 560 lbs. Meanwhile, Fish On remained locked in battle. Eventually, after over three hours, they had the huge blue marlin on the leader, but it made its escape when things came slack soon after. The team did get the video and points for the release, but this was a very large blue marlin, which they were probably disappointed to lose before the gaff. Fish On got back to business and at 1:51 pm they were hooked-up again; releasing a blue marlin at 2:05 pm. The two blue marlin releases for Fish On brought them to 2000 points in the Triple Crown moving them up the standings. Uno Mas also released two blue marlin, which was very significant in the Triple Crown series standings as it elevated them from 3rd place into the overall lead with 3,200 points going into the second day of the Sea Horse. Sea Toy stood in second with 2700-points and Click Through was holding third with 2600-points.
On the second day of fishing in the Sea Horse several pulled hooks occurred in the morning until team Fish On hooked-up at 10:17 am, and the excitement geared up a few minutes later when Georgie Girl hooked into a double header of blue marlin. At 10:36 am, Fish On scored their blue marlin release, followed by the successful release of both blues on Georgie Girl. Later in the day, Georgie Girl was hooked-up again and scored a white marlin release at 2:51 pm. There was a bit of a lunchtime bite including a double header of blues for team Click Through with the team ultimately pulling the hook on one fish and successfully releasing the other. Going into the 9th and final day, Uno Mas led with 3,200 points, but both defending Champion Click Through and Georgie Girl were a mere 100 points back with 3100-points. Click Through was trying to become the first team to ever win the Series more than once and Capt Bryce Garvey on Georgie Girl was trying to be the first Captain to win the Triple Crown Series more than once. Sea Toy who had led the series coming into the Sea Horse was still in the running at 2,700, while the Fish On crew was now in the game at 2,500, and no one was counting out Capt. James Robinson and Wound Up who was also at 2,500-points.
The third and final day of the Sea Horse and last day of fishing for the Triple Crown series started off with a good bite at lines in. Red hot Fish On got things going with a hook up at 8:02 and successful release of a blue at 8:15 am. Georgie Girl released a white at 8:14 with Real Estate releasing a blue at 8:28 am. After a few pulled hooks Never Enough released a blue and then team Over Budget got a double header of blues at 9:38 am. Over Budget was successful with both fish adding 1000-points and zooming up the leader board. Before noon Mama Who, Overproof, Queen of Hearts, Boomer, Reel Lax and Weez in the Keys scored blue marlin releases. At 11:24 team Fish On and owner angler Rob Kathary were hooked up again and with the successful release at 11:56 the team moved into fist place in the Sea Horse and led the Triple Crown for the first time in the series. At 11:48 a key bite happened for Uno Mas and owner angler Brooks Smith. At 12:10 the blue marlin release came for Uno Mas moving them back into the lead in the Triple Crown. Georgie Girl fought back with a white release at 12:31 moving them into position to steal the Crown. Not to be outdone team Fish On was tight again to a blue one at 12:39 and with the successful release at 1:02 securing the win of the Sea Horse Tournament with 3,000-points and moved them back into the lead in the Triple Crown by 300-points over Uno Mas. In a race to the finish Georgie Girl released a white at 3:36 to move into third place in the Sea Horse and a mere 300-points behind Fish On. Two teams including Uno Mas and Georgie Girl were now just one blue marlin release from Triple Crown glory with less than 30-minutes to lines out. At 3:50 with ten-minutes to go Georgie Girl called in a hook-up. Unfortunately for them it turned out to be a game fish.
In a down to the wire finish team Fish On with owner angler Rob Kathary, Captain Elliot Cline, mate Pat Nelson and teammates Parker Stephen and Chuck Warden took advantage of every bite to catch a record six blue marlin in the Sea Horse tournament scoring a total of 4,000-points in the series to earn the 2011 Bermuda Triple Crown Billfish Championship. The Captain, mate and five high-point anglers receive a Championship Ring from Vanmark Jewelry, Geoffrey Smith Bronze Sculpture, King Sailfish Mounts Trophy, FinNor Rod & Reel combo, Montauk Tackle Championship Apparel, Custom Lures and Pliers from Fathom Offshore, Championship apparel from Pelagic Gear, Custom Mold Craft Lure, Triple Crown artwork from Steve Goione and one year subscriptions to Marlin and Sport Fishing magazines. The boat also received a Release Marine Custom Step Box, ATL fuel bladder, Custom Montauk stand up rod and Bacardi Spirits gift basket. Finishing second was Uno Mas with 3700-points followed by Georgie Girl with 3700-points. Congratulations to Fish On our 2011 Bermuda Triple Crown Billfish Champions.
Special thanks to the Bermuda Department of Tourism and the Bermuda community for allowing us to produce the series.