There’s nothing like a brand new boat to put a champion shine on the competition. That’s just what Florida’s Frank Rodriguez and his team did by winning the highly competitive four-leg 2012 Bahamas Billfish Championship (BBC) aboard Rodriguez’ new 70ft Viking Convertible, Fa-La-Me.
“We have fished the BBC for several years,” explains Fa-La-Me’s Capt. Rob Moore. “The last was in 2007 when we came in second overall and two years before that we were third and fourth. So, winning this year with the new Viking was really special.”
The BBC kicked-off with the Guana Cay Championship, April 14th to 19th.
Al Behrendt, BBC president, says, “The first year we went to Guana Island was 2011. It proved so successful we went back this year and will again in 2013.”
Fa-La-Me narrowly missed third place in this season opener, tying on points with third place finisher and 2010 BBC champion, Miss Annie, but dropping to fourth on time. Fish Tales, out of Miami, won the leg.
“We caught three blue marlin and a white marlin on the lay day, but these didn’t count in the tournament scoring,” recalls Moore, of Fa-La-Me’s potent fish-catching capabilities.
What was to become Tropical Storm Beryl didn’t dampen the fishing enthusiasm aboard Fa-La-Me in the Harbour Island Championship, held May 5th to 10th. The team won, racking up a ‘Grand Slam’ the first day with the release of a blue, white and sailfish and adding 700 bonus points, plus releasing a white on the last day.
Then, Fa-La-Me finished in third place in the Marsh Harbour Championship, June 5th to 9th, where the Florida team aboard Krazy Salt won. Fa-La-Me also finished third in the finale Treasure Cay Championship fished June 19th to 23rd, where Florida-based Cowpoke led the leg. The final championship point total put the Fa-La-Me team 2500 points ahead of second place overall finisher Miss Annie. Fa-La-Me ended the four-leg series with the release of eight blue marlin, six white marlin and one sailfish. Forty-nine boats competed in this year’s BBC.
“The BBC was very good to us this year,” says Capt. Moore. “We also placed second in the Billfish Blast on Cat Island, which was in between the first and second legs of the BBC. Right after the BBC we traveled 750 miles to Bermuda and won The Bermuda Release Cup and Bermuda Big Game Classic. The new boat has been awesome. We have put 900 hours on it since January. Looking ahead, we’ll be spending some of the summer of 2013 in St. Thomas.”
In addition to owner/angler, Rodriguez, and Capt. Moore, the Fa-La-Me team included angler Steve Butcher and mates Jon Meade and Taylor Becford.
The BBC will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2013.
“As part of the celebration,” says the BBC’s Behrendt, “we will return to a four tournament schedule and fish Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Wednesday will be the mandatory lay day. You might say we are returning to our roots since this is the tournament format that was used in 1973 when the informal competition to determine the ‘Bahamas Champion’ took on a more organized form and became the ‘Bahamas Billfish Championship’.
For full results and tournament dates for 2013, visit: www.bahamasbillfish.com
Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.