Aries Wins 2017 Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic

 

Aries Wins 2017 Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic

With 668.77-Pound Blue Marlin

 

Biloxi, Mississippi:

Aries is the first sign in zodiac astrology and is associated with energy and fire. Those traits also apply to Team Aries, which earned the top tournament award in the 2017 Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic that concluded Sunday morning. Owner/captain Russell Craft, angler Jeff Friedman and family members Jason, Matthew and Darin Friedman, brought the largest marlin to the scales—a 668.77-pound blue marlin—that topped the next challenger by less than 15 pounds. For its efforts, the team is taking $397,925 home to Perdido Key, Florida. In true Aries spirit, the team was the first boat entered for the 21st-annual event when it signed up last fall.

 

“We love fishing this tournament,” Jeff Friedman says. “Bobby [Tournament Director Bobby Carter] and his crew do a fantastic job, the Golden Nugget is a great venue, and we always enjoy the camaraderie and sportsmanship that’s on display here.”

 

Aries’ blue was boated with the fish’s bill broken off. That will sometimes occur naturally, or it could happen during the fight. After a lengthy and thorough review process, the tournament committee ruled that the bill had broken by slamming into the boat’s hull (76 Viking) and allowed the catch to stand. Hollis Legg is the Aries mate.

 

Mollie, a 68 G&S based in Destin, Florida and run by Capt. Jeff Shoults took second-place honors but the most money. Thomas Cornelison and his teammates earned a payout of $403.005 for the second-largest blue (654.52 pounds), top release team (four blues) and optional entries. Mollie is a perennial contender on the highly competitive Gulf big-game circuit and nearly pulled off another win at this year’s Classic.

 

Born2Run is no stranger to the awards stage either and angler Dana Foster, Capt. Myles Colley and crew won the third place tournament award with a 563.92 blue. The 72 Viking based in Pensacola, Florida, also scored 1,800 points in the release division for a combined payout of $242,940. Reel Addiction, a 56 Viking from Pensacola Beach and run by Capt. Scooter Porto, took third-place billfish release honors (1,800 points based on time) and $70,380. Other boats winning optional billfish money included Wild Hooker and A Work of Art. Double J (553.43) and Breathe Easy (501.43) came in fourth and fifth, respectively, in the marlin weight division. The tournament established a new minimum length of 107 inches this year (LJFL) to promote billfish conservation.

 

The leaderboard was constantly changing throughout the tournament due to the hotly contested swordfish division. Every weighed sword easily shattered the existing Mississippi record of 75 pounds. By the time the scales closed Saturday night, Pay Dirt, a 37 Freeman based in Tallahassee, Florida, was the big winner. Angler Scott Cothran, Capt. Ryan Kelly and the veteran team boated a 242.54-pound broadbill to earn top tournament honors and a check for $51.075.

 

Their catch must now be verified by the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, a process that should take a few weeks. If it is certified as expected, Pay Dirt will earn an additional payout of $325,000 plus a Petro Nissan Titan pick-up. Freeman Boatworks, Hilton’s Realtime Navigator, Killer Bee Bait, Poseidon Total Fishing Outfitters and Marsh Tacky Carbon were the special swordfish promotional sponsors, along with the MGCBC.

 

Shockwave, a 42 Freeman (Capt. Richard Draper), was the top swordfish release boat with 7 points or one point per fish for a $9,000 check. Metal Shark 42 was second with four releases ($6,300), followed by Ellie B, also with four fish. Other boats earning money for swordfish in the optional or release divisions include Titan Up ($29,280), Wild Bill ($12,870), Burst Factor ($10,125), Ellie B ($9,180), Peacekeeper ($8,100), Sea Cruiser Tails Up ($6,570), Cajun Odyssey ($7,850) and Change Order ($5,400).

 

The tuna division was a seesaw battle all Saturday night as the 120-boat fleet returned to the Point Cadet Marina in Biloxi. Fourteen-year-old Ryan Cooper on CE outlasted the top yellowfin, a rotund fish that tipped the scales at 201.06 pounds. That fish earned an $81,360 payout. Capt. George Crenshaw is the skipper of the 63 Hatteras based in Point Clear, Alabama. Another teenager, Drew Marshall, fishing aboard his family’s 105-foot Broward Trader’s Hill, whipped a tuna that scaled 185.29 pounds, worth $81,360. Capt. Billy Blount is the captain of Trader’s Hill, which home-ports in Bay Point, Florida. Still another junior angler, Dylan Doubleday, fishing aboard Makaira (53 Hatteras/Capt. BJ Teems), landed the third-biggest tuna of the tournament. That fish weighed 176.55 pounds, good for $17,490.

 

Owner Neal Foster and his Intense team, fishing aboard a 39 Contender, ran nearly 1,000 miles round-trip to scale the top two wahoo, 80.13 and 72.7 pounds. Foster, of Mobile, Alabama, and his crew won $112,200 for their marathon efforts. A Work of Art (93 Viking) captured third place wahoo honors with a 60.82-pounder wound in by Greg Cooper. Capt. Ron Woodruff, owner Art Favre, and the team won $61,590 for that fish, billfish release and a 145.95-pound yellowfin options. Emily Landry (Bons Amis) also earned $3,960 for a 58.4 ‘hoo.

 

Angler Brian Leiser, Capt. Jeff Theory and the Orange Beach, Alabama, team aboard Hot, Black and Sticky (60 Hatteras) won the most money per pound by sweeping the dolphin division. With no other fish meeting the 20-pound minimum, Leiser, and Company took home an impressive $108,000 for their 42.97-pound bull.

 

 

Original Source:  Sportsmans Lifestyle.com 

SEA I SEA RELEASES 15 MARLIN TO WIN

 

SEA I SEA RELEASES 15 MARLIN TO WIN

2015 PIRATE’S COVE BILLFISH TOURNAMENT AND $175,400 FIRST PRIZE

 

 

In the end their lead proved to be insurmountable.

 

After jumping ahead on Thursday, Sea I Sea held off several challengers to win top honors in last week’s 32nd Annual Pirate’s Cove Billfish Tournament. The 66 Viking, run by Capt. Rob Mahoney and owned by Don Mills, pocketed $175,400 for catching 15 billfish overall. The top team released 11 white and four blue marlin during three days of fishing to tally 1,500 points. A total of 56 teams were competing for nearly $468,000 in overall prize money.

 

IMG_3193

Photo credits: Capt. Dave Lear

“It’s just so exciting, words cannot express how I feel right now,” Mills said after Friday night’s awards presentation. “I’m happy for my whole crew and Capt. Rob, they’re all like family. We were just very blessed and fortunate to be here.”

 

Uno Mas mounted a serious challenge on the last day only to come up a little short. Led by owner Brooks Smith and Capt. Tommy Lynskey, the 68 Bayliss released 11 billfish (eight white marlin and three sailfish), including five on Friday, to earn second-place honors and $117,840.

 

Dirty Business, a 58 Paul Mann owned by Paul Hebert and run by Capt. Newt Cagle, was named the third-place team overall. The release of nine white and one blue marlin, based on time, was good for a $57,560 payout.

 

Two other boats also released 10 billfish to round out the top five teams, based on time. Skirt Chaser, a Buddy Cannady 53, was fourth (nine whites and one sailfish), while Sally Girl, a 57 Ricky Scarborough, was fifth with nine whites and one blue marlin released.

 

The daily prize money for most releases per day was split between three boats. Sea I Sea and Uno Mas won Days 3 and 4 top honors, respectively, while Instigator was the top boat on the second day. Not enough boats fished the first day to meet the required minimum. The Top Daily prize was worth $31,500. Desperado, Haphazard and Hey Chama all earned $13,500 as the second-place top daily teams.

 

Blue marlin were eligible in the weight division, but none were caught that met the required 400-pound cut-off. In the game fish categories,

Photo credits: Capt. Dave Lear

Photo credits: Capt. Dave Lear

the Viking 70 factory boat won the dolphin prize and $12,375 for a hefty 63.6-pounder. Piracy brought in the largest tuna of the week, a 56.3-pound yellowfin, that was also worth $12,375.

 

Erick Jones, fishing aboard Jesus Freak, a 48 Blackwell with Capt. David Walker at the helm, was named the Top Angler. Jones scored 600 points by hooking—releasing—four white and one blue marlin, plus a sailfish.

 

Pam Ella Simmons, competing aboard Salvation, a restored 49 Omie Tillet run by Capt. Will Hodges, was the Top Lady Angler for 2015. Simmons scored seven whites and one blue marlin.

 

Competing on Smoker, a 56 Forbes, Parker Byrd was named the Top Junior Angler for the week. Capt. Brynner Parks guided the teenager to six white marlin catches.

 

A total of 322 billfish were released throughout the week, including 239 white marlin, 39 blue marlin, 32 sailfish and 12 spearfish. Based at the Pirate’s Cove Marina in Manteo, North Carolina, 425 anglers competed in this 32nd annual sport-fishing event.

 

“It was a great week with good numbers of fish caught by some of the top teams in the world,” Tournament Director Heather Maxwell said. “We’re glad everyone joined us this year as we went back to the future with some new changes and improvements. We’ll continue to tweak to make it even better as we start gearing up for the 2016 event, scheduled for August 15-19, 2016.

 

The 2015 Pirate’s Cove Billfish Tournament was presented by Simrad Marine Electronics, Bacardi, Pirate’s Cove Resort and Realty and the Los Sueños Resort and Marina in Costa Rica.

 

Original Source; Sportsmans Lifestyle