Finding the fish, having experienced crew to land the fish and enjoying a bit of good luck led Dieter Decker and his team aboard the 35ft Boston Whaler, Magic V, to successfully defend their champion title in the Caicos Classic IGFA Billfish Release Tournament. Magic V was one of seven boats that fished this 20th annual tournament, held July 2nd to 6th out of IGY’s Blue Haven Marina in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI).
“The first day we had two blue marlin hits and brought one to the boat, but weren’t able to hold the fish long enough to count as a release,” says Dekker, who divides his time between TCI and Canada. “Day two, although we were disappointed by our day one results, we had renewed energy and hope. We tried some new lures and lo and behold we landed and released two blue marlin. Needless to say we were very excited about our results and prospects for day three. Day three was very disappointing since regardless of our approach we could not raise one fish.”
The Magic V team of Decker, Dennari Belliard, Roy Forester, Sherlock Walkin and Junior Solon won their second Caicos Classic in a row by being the first to release two blue marlin. It was close though. The Florida-based crew aboard Old No 7, which fished the event for the first time, was ahead of Magic V going into the second day thanks to a blue marlin release on day one. Yet Old No 7’s second release came over four hours after Magic V’s duo of blues. Magic V’s victory earned them entry into the 2016 Offshore World Championship in Costa Rica as the Caicos Classic is a qualifier.
Magic V’s luck in fishing didn’t extend to the vessel’s radio operations. Ship-to-shore contact was severely limited the second day when the team had to resort to communicating with a nearby tournament boat via cell phone. Unfortunately, in addition to transmission, the radio’s distress button stuck and a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter soon flew overhead.
“We had the other boat call, explain our radio problem and thank them for their response. We didn’t feel good about it, but it was gratifying to know that in case of a real emergency we would have such a prompt response,” says Decker.
Meanwhile, though the team aboard the 39ft SeaVee Vision and Balance didn’t release a blue marlin until little more than an hour before lines out on the tournaments last day, it was quite a catch. In fact, it was the first blue marlin catch and release for 13-year-old Rory Osborne, from Ontario, Canada.
“I got my hands on the rod right after the strike and the marlin immediately shook the hook,” Osborne tells. “I continued to crank as fast as possible hoping that he would continue to follow the bait. Sure enough, I hooked him again but he once again shook the hook. He then struck the other short rigger but came off immediately. He then went for the left long-rigger and he was on long enough for me to get the rod and get set up in the fighting chair. He spit the hook once again, then struck the right rigger which ended up being the rod I landed him on. The fight lasted a good 35 minutes. When I finally got him next to the boat, we saw that he was about 200 pounds. It will be a day I will never forget!”
For full results, visit: caicosclassic.tc/2015-tournament-results
Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.