Two months. Four tournaments. Twelve days of sports fishing. This is the Bahamas Billfish Championship (BBC), the oldest billfish tournament series in the world. Yet it came down to the final five minutes of fishing for the team aboard Wave Paver, Florida-based Jr Davis’ 61ft Garlington, to land the big win. In fact, Wave Paver’s path to the podium was one big crescendo.
“We had a slow start in the first tournament,” says Davis.
Wave Paver finished 5th in the first leg Guana Cay Tournament in early May with only one white marlin release. In the second leg, the Green Turtle Cay Championship in late May, the team improved its placing to fourth with the release of one blue and two white marlin. The talent and luck kept building into the third leg, the Treasure Cay Championship in early June, where the release of three blue marlin earned the team a third. The real magic happened in the fourth and final leg in late June at the Marsh Harbour Championship.
“We needed a blue marlin release to get ahead of Marlin Darlin for the overall win,” Davis explains. “We hooked up with only five minutes left. The release gave us a second place for this tournament and the bonus points that go with it. It was the combination of the two that moved us ahead.”
The secret to the Wave Paver team’s success?
“Getting lucky,” Davis answers. “The fishing overall was slow in the Bahamas this year, so we really had to work on grinding it out to get the bites. The other advantage was fishing in all four series tournaments, that’s what helped to give us our points.”
The Wave Paver team collectively released six blue marlin, three white marlin and two sailfish over the series. Davis’ personal catch for over half of the points earned him Top Angler. Davis has fished the BBC every year since 2006 and his team finished second overall in 2011. Wave Paver’s crew, Capt. Russell Sinclair and mates Jerry Owens and Ryan House, received the Top Captain and Top Mate trophies.
Bob Jacobsen’s team aboard his Marlin Darlin, finished second, while Frank Rodriguez’ Fa La Me ended third overall.
All catches in the BBC are validated using time and date stamped digital images. Affidavits, signed by all participants on each team, further confirmed that the fish was released in accordance with International Game Fishing Association and BBC rules.
“This year’s series had some exciting moment’s right up to the end!” says new BBC president Jennifer Dudas. “We also had a new location – Green Turtle Cay. The anglers that fished were pleased with the marinas, the service and the food there. The dredging they did enabled our boats to get into the harbor with no depth problems at all. I was very pleased with how it went my first year ‘at the helm’ and everyone is looking forward to next year.”
A total of 48 blue marlin, 23 white marlin and 14 sailfish were released during the BBC series.
For full results, visit: www.bahamasbillfish.com