More than 200 anglers competing on 38 teams experienced hot marlin fishing, catching 70 blue and eight white marlin.
The 2018 Bermuda Big Game Classic delivered big numbers and big marlin.
A fleet of 38 teams put on an exciting show at the Bermuda Big Game Classic from July 12 – 16, 2018. Three days of competitive tournament fishing produced high numbers of blue marlin releases and three fish brought to the scales surpassing 500 pounds. After lines out on day three, Team Playmaker totaled one white and six blue marlin releases, scoring 3,200 points across three days of fishing to win the 2018 Bermuda Big Game Classic, with winnings totaling $90,750. Team Overproof also scored big, landing a 930-pound blue marlin on day three, winning the Day-Three Largest Marlin and Winner-Take-All Largest Marlin jackpots for $118,800 in total winnings.
As the competition intensified each day, a seasoned team on a new boat landed a blue marlin and brought it to the scales at Barr’s Bay Park in Hamilton, Bermuda. Day one recorded a 605-pound blue marlin; day two saw a 611-pound blue marlin; and day three produced a 930-pound blue marlin. Blue marlin must weigh at least 500 pounds to be eligible for weighing at the Bermuda Big Game Classic.
Hot Spot recorded a 605-pound blue marlin on day one.
Team Reel Lax, captained by James Barnes, took control of the leaderboard on day one of the Bermuda Big Game Classic. Four different anglers released blue marlin on Reel Lax, for a total of 2,000 points, to earn the Day-One Daily Billfish Release Jackpot.
Teams Hot Spot and Playmaker were both close behind Reel Lax. Playmaker, captained by Jerry Owens, released three blue marlin for a total of 1,500 points. Angler Andrew De Paulis caught all three of the blue marlin for the team.
Angler Ricky Sousa Sr. hooked a large blue marlin aboard Hot Spot, captained by Ricky Sousa Jr., on day one of the Bermuda Big Game Classic. After he fought the fish to the boat, the team new they had a fish that was eligible to weigh and boated it, but did not immediately return to the docks. They successfully released two more blue marlin on the day. Back at the docks, their fish weighed 605 pounds, winning the Day-One Largest Marlin Jackpot and putting them in the lead for largest blue marlin weighed during the tournament. They scored 1,605 points on the day.
Teams Es Mucho, C'est La Vie, El Cazador, Grander and Mama Who all had great days too, recording two blue marlin releases (1,000 points).
Blank Check recorded a 611-pound blue marlin on day two.
Reel Lax won the 2017 Bermuda Billfish Blast and some teams were wondering if the 2018 Bermuda Big Game Classic was going to be a repeat performance. On day two, Team Reel Lax’s props hit an unknown, unmarked object on their way offshore, forcing them to return back to the marina and miss the day’s fishing.
Seven different teams released two blue marlin (1,000 points) on day two, including Flyer, Pescador, No Vacancy, Amarula Sun, Waste Knot, C'est La Vie and Sea Toy. Flyer, captained by Bryce Garvey, won the Day-Two Daily Billfish Release Jackpot based on time. Bad Daddy, captained by Jason Walcott, released one blue marlin and one white marlin (700 points).
Team Blank Check, captained by Danny Hearn, stole the show on day two. Before 10 a.m., angler Kyle Liane hooked into a blue marlin that fought him for almost three hours. The team decided to head in early and weigh the fish. Back at the scales, the fish weighed 611 pounds and won the Day-Two Largest Marlin Jackpot. On day two, team Blank Check took the lead for largest blue marlin weighed during the 2018 Bermuda Big Game Classic.
After two days of fishing, Reel Lax and C'est La Vie both had 2,000 points with four blue marlin releases. Playmaker released one white and three blue marlin for 1,700 points. Hot Spot released two blue marlin and weighed their 605-pounder for 1,605 points. Es Mucho, Grander, Mama Who, Waste Knot and Sea Toy all had three blue marlin releases (1,500 points).
Overproof recorded a 930-pound blue marlin on day three.
The final day of the Bermuda Big Game Classic had all the fireworks and excitement one could hope for in tournament marlin fishing. Teams Blank Check and Playmaker both released three marlin (1,500 points) on the day, although Blank Check won the Day-Three Daily Billfish Release Jackpot based on time. The two teams were already riding high from their performances in the Bermuda Big Game Classic, but clutch catches on day three solidified payouts for both teams.
After lines out on day three, two teams were still hooked up. Overproof and Reel Steel were both hooked into blue marlin in relatively close proximity to each other. Overproof hooked their fish just before 3 p.m., while Reel Steel hooked up a little after 3:30 p.m.
Reel Steel, captained by Jason Parker, was first to get their fish to the boat. Angler Marc Verzaleno fought the fish for almost 2 hours and 45 minutes. The team knew they had a fish well over the 500-pound minimum. Reel Steel fought the fish to leader several times, but eventually, the fish pulled off. The one silver lining was the 500 points they received for the release.
Overproof, captained by Peter Rans, boated their fish at 7:05 p.m. Angler Jason Friedman fought the fish for more than four hours. Back on shore, a crowd was ready to greet them at Barr’s Bay Park. The official weight of their blue marlin was 930 pounds, 70 pounds short of a grander. With one fish caught all tournament, Overproof landed the heaviest blue marlin of the event and won the Day-Three Largest Marlin Jackpot.
FIRST PLACE TEAM
Team Playmaker, captained by Jerry Owens, scored 3,200 points to win First-Place Team, First-Place Overall Release Points Jackpot, the Marlin Magazine Manufacturers Cup for Viking Yachts, and an invitation to the Offshore World Championship. Andrew De Paulis earned top angler for his 3,200 points. Total winnings were $90,750. Prizes and awards included VanMark custom winner pendants, YETI cooler and ramblers, King Sailfish Mounts trophies, Steve Goione artwork, Soundview Millworks trophies, Bacardi spirits, AFTCO gloves, Big T lure and Release Marine custom step box. Team Playmaker includes Captain Jerry Owens, Andrew De Paulis, owner Phil De Paulis, Ande Wightman, Brandon De Paulis, and Max Meissner.
Team Overproof, captained by Peter Rans, won the Day-Three Largest Marlin Jackpot and Winner-Take-All Largest Marlin Jackpot with their 930-pound blue marlin, caught by angler Jason Friedman. Their catch was the second largest in the Classic and third largest in Bermuda Triple Crown history. Total winnings were $118,800. Prizes and awards included King Sailfish Mounts trophies, Steve Goione artwork, YETI Rambler, Soundview Millworks trophies, Bacardi spirits and Big T lure. Team Overproof includes Morgan Outerbridge, Michael Batista, Captain and owner Peter Rans, Leslie Rans, Jason Friedman and Leesa Friedman.
SECOND PLACE TEAM
Team C’est la Vie, captained by Albert Miller, scored 2,200 points to win Second-Place Team. Total earnings were $22,800. Prizes and awards included King Sailfish Mounts trophies, Steve Goione artwork, Yeti Rambler, Soundview Millworks trophies, Bacardi spirits and Big T lure. Team C’est la Vie includes Captain Albert Miller, Dino Chouest, Alex Chouest, Kahai Postma, Chase More, John Heater, and George More.
THIRD PLACE TEAM
Blank Check, captained by Danny Hearn, scored 2,111 points to win Day-Two Largest Marlin Jackpot, Day-Three Daily Billfish Release Jackpot, and Third-Place Team. Total winnings were $54,600. Prizes and awards included King Sailfish Mounts trophies, Steve Goione artwork, Yeti Rambler, Soundview Millworks trophies, Bacardi spirits and Big T lure. Team Blank Check includes Capt. Danny Hearn, Kyle Liane, Justin Liane, Jinxey Gaylord and Daniel Exell.
SECOND PLACE OVERALL RELEASE POINTS
Reel Lax, captained by James “Midnight” Barnes, scored 2,000 points on the first day to earn the Day-One Daily Billfish Release Jackpot and Second-Place Overall Release Points Jackpot. Total winnings were $48,330. Team Reel Lax includes Captain James Barnes, Gethin Adderley, Lester Petracca, Danny Fox, Vinny Delgado, Chris Petracca, Nick Petracca, and Don Denighan.
THIRD PLACE OVERALL RELEASE POINTS
Es Mucho, captained by Allen DeSilva, scored 1,500 points to win Third-Place Overall Release Points Jackpot. Total winnings were $17,820. Team Es Mucho includes Captain Allen DeSilva, Scott Deal, Aron Long, Thomas Bates, David R. Fingland, Jeffrey DeSilva and Jose Picado.
DAY ONE LARGEST MARLIN JACKPOT
Hot Spot, captained by Ricky Sousa Jr., won the Day-One Largest Marlin Jackpot with a 605-pounder caught by Ricky Sousa Sr. Total winnings were $21,600. Team Hot Spot includes Ricky Sousa Sr., Captain Ricky Sousa Jr., owner Andy Pereira, Nick Cabral, Hamish Burnes Jr., Charlie Venton and Ryan Fernandez.
DAY TWO BILLFISH RELEASE POINTS JACKPOT
Flyer, captained by Bryce Garvey, scored 1,000 points to win the Day-Two Daily Billfish Release Jackpot based on time. Total winnings were $21,600. Team Flyer includes Captain Bryce Garvey, owners Kevin and Teresa Jaffe, Mark Woodburry, Bryan Vaughn, Greg Axton, Gotzon Otxoa, and Mike Tarmey.
Angler Bill Pullman, aboard No Vacancy, caught a 51-pound wahoo to win the largest gamefish. Total winnings were $5,700. Team No Vacancy includes Capt. Eric Soderholm, Bill Walsh, Bill Pullman, Tom Walsh, Owen Singer, Brett Jameson and Vinnie Cerone.
TOP JUNIOR ANGLER
Angler Luke Fletcher (not pictured), aboard Waste Knot, won top junior angler with 500 points from one blue marlin. Team Waste Knot includes Captain Patrick Kannan, Gary Fletcher, Luke Fletcher, Chase Pake, Rocky Hardison, Luis Fletcher, and Michael Tickle.
TOP LADY ANGLER
Elaine Jones, owner of Mama Who, won top lady angler with 1,000 points from two blue marlin. Team Mama Who includes Captain Wil Thornhill, Elaine Jones, Robert Davies, Charles Lewis, Ross Thomas and Sales De La Bar.
The 2018 Bermuda Big Game Classic tournament, presented by the Bermuda Tourism Authority, culminated in a highly popular Bacardi International cocktail reception, followed by the tournament awards banquet dinner in the Harbourview Ballroom at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess Hotel. After, participants celebrated with a live band on the Princess Marina dock.
The Bermuda Big Game Classic is sponsored by the Bermuda Tourism Authority, Miles Market, Garmin Electronics, the Fairmont Hamilton Princess Hotel, PW Marine, Fishing Tease, Steve T. Goione, Butterfield and Vallis, Satcom Direct, Lucas Oil, Island Construction, King Sailfish Mounts, Bacardi Spirits, YETI, VanMark Jewelry, Island Glass, CAT Marine, Gregory Poole CAT, Pantropic Power CAT, Foley CAT, GP Link, Jarrett Bay Boatworks, Merritt Boat and Engine Works, Viking Yachts, Spencer Yachts, American Custom Yachts, Willis Marine, Release Marine, Pettit, Dometic, Northern Lights, Airmar, The Waterfront Residence, Hawkins Private Island, Hamilton, Little Venice, Quick, One Communications, Soundview Millworks, Offshore Yacht Management and Shimano.