The HMY Invitational Billfish Blast, held May 29 to June 2 at Boat Harbour in the Bahamas, saw lots of fish catching and releasing action. “It was not unlike any other year,” said tournament coordinator Mike Dickman. “The tournament lived up to the expectations of the competitive fishing teams and family teams alike.”
The event, which organizers claim is a rendezvous disguised as a fishing tournament, took place at Abaco Beach Resort & Boat Harbour and saw a total of 59 vessels compete for the coveted first place trophy. As tradition would have it, the kick-off party was on Memorial Day and included a patriotic theme and a fireworks show that both ended the evening and jump-started the tournament.
Teams were able to choose their lay day and fished three out of a possible four days. Over the four-day fishing period, there were a total of 82 billfish hook-ups. The breakdown went as follows: 30 Blue Marlin, 10 White Marlin, 3 Sailfish, 13 wrongly identified species and 26 pulled hooks.
On the last day of the tournament, Jammer, a 61-foot Viking, landed a 578-pound blue marlin, which took the Largest Blue Marlin trophy. Bobby Wells was the angler on the Jammer who made this spectacular catch.
Overall point winners were as follows: First Place, Sea-N-Double, a 61-foot Viking (1200 points); Second Place, Jammer, a 61-foot Viking (1178 points); Third Place, Boys-R-Us, 65-foot Viking (1000 points); Fourth Place, Foreign Exchange, 58-foot Riviera (1000 points); Fifth Place, Sandra Lee’s Iron Wood, 72-foot Viking (1000 points).
Sandra Lee’s Iron Wood also won the Sportsmanship Award for fishing all three of their days on just one engine. Top Fun Fish awards were: Largest Dolphin, 53-pounds, Cara Mia, angler John Chuplis; Largest Wahoo, 52-pounds, Easy Rider II, angler Karl Sandifer; and Largest Tuna, 133-pounds, Aquaholic, angler Leanne Rogers.