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2007 Bahamas Billfish Champion is Heads Up

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Multiple releases led Rodney Williams’ Team Ultra to victory at the Treasure Cay Championship, the fourth leg of the Bahamas Billfish Championship (BBC), while the magical release of six blue marlin earned Ed Hardin’s Team Abracadabra first place at the BBC’s fifth and final leg, the Boat Harbour Championship.

In the end, and against a dozen other teams with a fighting chance of winning going into the last leg, it was Oddis Wren’s Heads Up that earned the 2007 BBC title and the Rolex Grand Prize of a black marlin fishing excursion to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Ultra Wins Treasure Cay

Fishing got off to a slow start at the Treasure Cay Championship, fished June 4 to 8 out of Treasure Cay Resort Hotel & Marina, Abaco. Even with a nonproductive first day, the Piedmont, South Carolina-based Team Ultra anglers pulled off three fruitful days back-to-back, releasing a blue marlin and two white marlin on day two, a blue and a white on day three, and another blue on day four—to win the tournament.  Ultra, skippered by Capt. Mike Glaesner, also won Top Release Team.

This year’s Treasure Cay Championship saw 47 blue marlin, 18 white marlin and 4 sailfish caught and released by anglers on fifty-nine teams.

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Abracadabra Takes Tops at Boat Harbour

Persistence paid off. The BBC’s longest participating team – Ed Hardin’s team, Abracadabra – won the fifth and final leg at Boat Harbour by catching an impressive six blue marlin during the June 17 to 22, hosted by Abaco Beach Resort & Boat Harbour Marina. The highlight of the tournament for the Nashville, Tennessee-based Hardin came on day two when the team released three blue marlin. Hardin, along with Abracadabra captain Ronnie Riebe, has been fishing the BBC series annually for the past twenty-three years. Although the team has never won the overall Championship title, they have consistently been in the winner’s circle.

This year’s record-setting Boat Harbour Championship produced 138 total billfish for the week caught by the seventy-four participating teams. Blue marlin accounted for 109 of the fish caught while white marlin accounted for 25 of the total and only 4 sailfish were caught during the tournament.

Heads Up Takes it All

The BBC finale proved to be just as exciting as the record-setting billfish catches for the series. After four of the five tournament legs, the Championship title was within the grasp of no less than twelve of the 123 participating teams. Excellent fishing during the final leg at Boat Harbour created a see-saw battle between five of the top contenders and the Overall Winner was not decided until the close of the tournament. Ultimately, Wren’s Team Heads Up topped the field with a total of ten blue marlin, one white marlin and one sailfish being caught during the Series.

Heads Up finished second at the Central Abaco Championship and third at the Treasure Cay Championship. The Oviedo, Florida-based Team is the first since 1999 to win the overall title after fishing only four of the five BBC tournaments.

During the five legs of the 2007 Bahamas Billfish Championship, the 123 participating teams caught a record 290 blue marlin, 103 white marlin, 1 spearfish and 55 sailfish for a record total of 449 billfish. Time and date stamped digital images verify the release time and species identification of qualified billfish as represented on the release affidavits signed by the anglers and crews of each boat catching billfish.

Now concluding its thirty-fourth year, the BBC is made up of five individual ‘team’ tournaments that take place at various locations in the Bahamas Out Islands each April, May and June. Teams can fish any or all five of the tournaments with cumulative points determining the overall BBC Champion. The five BBC tournaments are governed by a uniform set of rules controlling minimum lengths for qualifying billfish, line class, fishing hours and entry fees.  For full results, visit the BBC’s website at: www.bahamasbillfish.com

Bahamas Billfish Championship Dates for 2008

Central Abaco Championship, April 13 – 18, 2008
Marsh Harbour Championship, April 27 – May 2, 2008
Harbour Island Championship, May 11 – 16, 2008
Treasure Cay Championship, June 1 – 6, 2008
Boat Harbour Championship, June 15 – 20, 2008

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Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.

So Caribbean you can almost taste the rum...

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