The big story at this year’s 12th annual Caicos Classic Annual Release Tournament fished June 24-29 out of Turtle Cove Marina, Providenciales, wasn’t a big catch, but rather the small point spread among the leaders going into the last day—and, literally, the last minute.
“We had five boats all with four blue marlin releases apiece that last day,” says tournament director, Art Pickering. “So, anyone of them could have walked away with the win.”
What’s more, Pickering adds, “One of those boats, Reel Escape, hooked up a double header less than a minute after lines out. If it would have happened a minute before, they could have won the tournament.”
In the end, it was Eric Soderholm’s 61 Viking, Debaitable, that earned First Place Boat. Debaitable made a big splash on the scoreboard Day 1 by being the only boat out of the 12 competing to score three blue marlin releases. Debaitable added another release Day 2, while No Excuse, Tony DeMoya’s 48 Viking, made its debut on the scoreboard with two releases.
Day 3, Debaitable went fishless, while No Excuse added another pair of releases. Both Debaitable and No Excuse got skunked the last day, but the two were smelling roses at the end as Debaitable celebrated its win and No Excuse its second place, with Chip Soulek’s 55 Hatteras, Out O Bounds, third. All three boats scored a total of 1200 points, but the tiebreaker was based on time, i.e. the boat that accumulated its release points first won.
“Fishing was great,” says Pickering. “The fleet released a total of 31 billfish over the four days of fishing.”
The fishing grounds in Providenciales are only seven to 10 miles offshore and known for producing a good steady bite around the full moon during June, July and August.
What’s special about the Caicos Classic Annual Release Tournament, says Pickering, is “the camaraderie. We’re a small, personal tournament. It’s a lot of fun. Also, there are lots of amenities and services for fishermen here, and we’re an easy flight from Miami.”
Pickering says plans are already underway for next year’s tournament, set for June 20-25, 2008. "We’ll be at the Miami International Boat Show in the Big Game Room again next February. Come by and see us and learn why marlin fishing in the Turks and Caicos Islands is among the best in the world."
Turtle Cove Marina in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands, hosts the Caicos Classic Annual Release Tournament. The full service marina and international port of entry features a protected harbor with 65 deep-water slips and all the amenities, including restaurants, bars, hotels, auto rentals and shops immediately on the premises.