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Debaitable Wins 15th Annual Caicos Classic Release Tournament

The 15th annual Caicos Classic Release Tournament, fished June 20 to 24 out of Turtle Cove Marina on the island of Providenciales, in the Turks and Caicos, got off to a slow start but had an exciting finish as the 65-foot Viking, Debaitable, out of Palm Beach, Florida, released three blue marlin to win.

Rough and windy conditions challenged five boats and 20 anglers competing this year, as the scoreboard showed nothing but zeros in the catch line the first two days. Nick Zehek, captain aboard the Debaitable, said, "We headed out in front of the islands the first day and nothing. The second day, we headed to West Caicos and didn't have any luck there either … not even a bite."

Then, the tide, or more accurately the weather, turned on the third day of fishing and so did the Debaitable's luck. "We headed back out front around the Parrot Cay area," said Zehek. "That's where we hooked up a fish right away, just minutes after lines in, but we missed him. Then, early afternoon we got lucky and released our first blue marlin … no one else was seeing any fish and we were firmly in the lead."

The fishing went gangbusters on the fourth and final day. Two other boats, Fairplay and Panoply, both released blue marlin. The other two vessels in the tournament didn't catch any marlin, but each caught game fish. Divine Intervention's angler, Mary Widmer, reeled in the Largest Wahoo, while Triple 7's angler, Bob Hardiman, caught the Largest Tuna.

Meanwhile, Debaitable wasn't left out of the frenzy. "We had a fish on the teaser as soon as lines in were called, but we missed him on the pitch bait," said Zehek. "The fish came back around and took the bait off a second line and we released him."

This second blue marlin kept Debaitable at the top of the scoreboard, but the team wasn't done yet. "We had three other bites in the afternoon and released one around 1 p.m.," said Zehek, "so that gave us three when the tournament ended and a sound win." Debaitable angler, Mike Tarney, caught all three blue marlin.

Prizes included trophies, gifts and bragging rights. Tournament Director Art Pickering said, "Because it's a small tournament, everyone gets to know one another if they haven't met already and we have a lot of fun with our daily events." www.caicosclassic.com

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