Experience, teamwork and a desire to win led Spellbound to victory in the 17th Caicos Classic IGFA Billfish Release Tournament with five blue marlin releases. The tournament was fished June 22nd – 25th, out of Turtle Cove Marina in the Turks & Caicos Islands, under sunny skies with a light chop on the seas.
“The first day we started fishing off Ft. George, proceeding southeast towards Parrott Cay, Three Mary’s Cay and the stranded freighter [sic], working up sea and down sea in this area all day and over the next two,” explains Tobin Wiener, owner and angler aboard the winning 52ft Hatteras, Spellbound. “Ed Medley released our first blue marlin off the right rigger by 9:21am and less than an hour later Robbie Hehenberger released another blue off the right flat.”
The second day, Spellbound anglers Medley, Hehenberger and Bill Caldwell each released a blue apiece. Spellbound anglers jumped two blues off the riggers on the third day and ended up releasing none, but their five fish total for the tournament was enough to secure their win.
“We have all fished together here, the Bahamas and the Pacific,” says Wiener, about his Gulf Coast, Florida-based team.
“We pretty well know what each other’s responsibility is when hooked up and landing a fish. The desire to finally win this tournament – and of course some luck – were the secrets to our success!”
This title earned the Spellbound team an entry into the IGFA World Billfish Championship in April 2013 in Costa Rica.
After 5 finished second with three releases, while the all-ladies angling team aboard Panoply finished third with two releases.
“We thought it would be great if we placed in the tournament as an all ladies team to show the guys that the girls aren’t half bad at bringing in the big fish,” says Delphine Hartshorn, owner and angler aboard the 46ft Bertram Sport Fisherman, Panoply. Hartshorn caught her first-ever blue in the afternoon of the tournament’s first day during a 28-minute fight. Her release of a second blue marlin on the last day secured Panoply its top three finish.
In total, the five-boat tournament fleet recorded over 20 hook-ups and 11 blue marlin releases.
The 2012 Caicos Classic benefited two charitable organizations: The Edward Gartland Youth Centre and The Billfish Foundation.
Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.