Que Mas 2011 release cup
The third annual Bermuda Billfish Release Cup officially kicked off the marlin tournament season with a new focus on charity.
The weather couldn’t have been better, the food at Bonefish Bar & Grill was fantastic, fish were starting to show up on the banks, and the teams were fired up to start the season — just another magical weekend in Bermuda.
This year’s event also focused on the Bermuda Sloop Foundation Adam Goodwin Mariner/Mentor Scholarship. Adam, whose life was cut short in a 2010 cycle accident, was a qualified deck officer and mentor on The Spirit of Bermuda. Adam was also a big-game fisherman and participated in tournaments around Bermuda. His character, skills and focus were exemplary and touched many young lives. So much so that the Sloop Foundation along with the Goodwin Family and many supporters created the memorial scholarship.
Bermuda Billfish Release Cup participants gathered Friday evening at Bonefish for the captains’ meeting and a lavish spread of food from award-wining chef Livio Ferigo. Anticipation was high as many of the crews and owners caught up with one other during a mini-reunion from last year’s season.
Saturday’s first day of fishing saw light winds and sunny skies as the lines-in call came at 8:00 a.m. The first hook-up came in from Ricky Cox and the Bermuda team on Margin Call, a private 45-foot Cabo. Angler Michael Rego and crew successfully release a blue marlin at 9:33 a.m. after a 20-minute fight to score 500 points. Bermuda team Over Budget, a 50-foot Bertram with Capt. Russell Young at the wheel, got on the scoreboard with a white release for owner angler Ricky Sousa at 10:53 a.m. Florida-based team Que Mas, a 70-foot American Custom Yacht captained by Travis Butters then got hot catching a blue marlin at 12:11 p.m. estimated at 600 pounds and another at 2:35 for owner angler Wally Whitley. The two blues gave_ Que Mas_ 1,000 points, the daily release Jackpot, and the lead heading into the second and final day of the tournament.
The second day of fishing started like the first for a fleet that experienced ideal weather conditions. Team_ Over Budget_ got things going on Sunday with a white release for angler Ricky Sousa Jr. at 9:17 a.m. Team_ Never Enough_ was next to call in with owner angler Walter Shikany Jr. in the chair. The fish never showed itself but took three runs well into the backing before pulling off after a 30-minute fight. Team_ Bree_ with Capt. Kyle Laine at the helm released a white for angler D.R. Repass, scoring their first points in the tournament. The final fish of the day came on Que Mas with angler and mate Donny Lange catching a white at 3:02 p.m. Team Over Budget’s timing on their white release turned out to be the difference maker as they won the Daily Release Jackpot based on time while also securing third place team honors with 400 points. Team Margin Call’s blue on day one was enough to place them in second place with 500 points. Team Que Mas’ white marlin was icing on the cake adding to their two blues on day one, scoring a total of 1,200 points to take the win. This win for team Que Mas — including owner Wally Whitley, Capt. Travis Butters, mates Robert Helms and Donny Lange — now puts them in a league of their own having won all four Bermuda Billfish Tournaments and the Bermuda Triple Crown Championship in 2008. This is no small accomplishment, especially considering the talent they have fished against over the past seven years. Big congratulations and nicely done to team Que Mas.
After fishing on Sunday, teams cleaned up for the awards banquet held at Bonefish Bar & Grill located at the Royal Naval Dockyard and Pier 41 Marina. Livio and his gang served up another fantastic spread of food, the drinks were flowing, and the participants were jovial. Anglers bid in a silent auction to benefit the Sloop Foundation that included items donated from many of the local businesses and the tournament. Many of the owners also made cash donations to support the Adam Goodwin Scholarship. At the end of the evening, tournament director Dan Jacobs presented a check for $4,500 to Adam’s father David, mother Julie, brother Marc and a group of Adam’s friends and fellow Sloop Foundation alumni.
The Bermuda Billfish Release Cup is owned by Bonnier Corp. and proudly sponsored by: Bermuda Department of Tourism, West End Development Company, Bonefish Bar & Grill, Pier 41 Marina, Marlin magazine, King Sailfish Mounts, Sport Fishing magazine, Digicel and Salt Water Sportsman magazine.
Great thanks to all of the participants and sponsors for making the 2011 Bermuda Billfish Release Cup a special occasion.
The 2011 Bermuda Billfish Release Cup Final Standings:**
Que Mas – First Place Team, Day One Release Jackpot Winner, First Place Overall Release Jackpot winner: $10,325, King Sailfish Mounts Trophies, Steve Goione Artwork and Fin-Nor Rod & Reel.
Margin Call – Second Place Team, Second Place Overall Release Jackpot winner. $3,630, King Sailfish Mounts trophies, Steve Goione Artwork, Fin-Nor Rod & Reel.
Over Budget – Third Place Team, Third Place Overall Release Jackpot winner, Day Two Daily Release Jackpot winner. $6,695, King Sailfish Mounts Trophies, Steve Goione Artwork and Fin-Nor Rod & Reel.