26 Teams Compete for more than $400,000
Sea Mixer Boats 528.8 Blue Marlin
Tico Time Wins $120,320
Orange Beach Billfish Classic Donates $25,000 to The Billfish Foundation
Tico Time, a 65' Hatteras from Texas also brought in a 108' blue marlin which weighed 360.8 pounds and was good for second place in the tournament. Those were the only two marlin killed during the tournament. In a scientific partnership with The Billfish Foundation the heads of both marlin were removed and shipped to the University of Maine for scientific research. The meat from both fish was donated to One Meal in Mobile to help feed the less fortunate.
In the catch and release category Done Deal released two blue marlin for 1000 points to take home top honors. Jon Gonsoulin and his crew were fishing on their new 70' Viking. "We caught two blues, and both were undersized for this tournament, but it was a great trip for us on the new boat."
Conundrum, a 61' Viking, released a blue and white marlin for 700 points and second place. Cotton Patch finished in third place with 500 points on a blue marlin release for the 60' Hatteras.
Lots of yellowfin tuna were brought to the scales at Marlin Circle at The Wharf but the most excitement came from reports of giant bluefin tuna releases. Three boats released four of the migrating fish during the tournament. A Work of Art and Sea Wolff each released one fish while Reel Worthless released two. "I can cross catching a bluefin tuna off my bucket list," said owner and angler Johnny Johnson." Reel Worthless hooked a double header of bluefins and were able to get both fish to the boat.
Reel Worthless, a 64' Viking, also caught the top yellowfin in the tournament. Johnson caught a 158.6 pound fish for first place. Relentless Pursuit, a 95' Jim Smith finished in second with a 137 pound tuna and Tico Time caught a 122.20 fish for third place.
It was a slow fishing weekend for both wahoo and dolphin. Fin Way a 65' Viking from Destin, weighed the only wahoo of the tournament at 61.60 pounds. "Proving it only takes one fish to turn a trip around, we were heading back in and got this fish at the Petronius rig," said crew member Tim Mossberg of the first place fish.
Only three dolphin were weighed during the entire tournament, and they all came from the boat Breathe Reel Deep. The 52' Ocean swept the category with 21.0, 21.8 and 47.2 pound fish. "We caught a couple of fish in open water and one on a log," said owner Shawn Clemons whose team finished in fifth place last month at the prestigious Offshore Championships in Costa Rica.
Tico Time was the top earning boat in the tournament taking home $120,320 in the blue marlin and tuna categories.
"This tournament is all about giving back," said tournament director Johnny Dorland. "We all love our sport, so we have always put on a tournament that gives back to those who work hard for us fisherman." The OBBC has been longtime huge supporters of The Billfish Foundation and the Coastal Conservation Association.
Ellen Peel of The Billfish Foundation graciously accepted a check for $25,000 at the conclusion of the tournament." The OBBC is the largest single tournament donor every year to TBF. This money stays here in the Gulf, fighting for and protecting big game fishing in the Gulf of Mexico."
The Orange Beach Billfish Classic is the first tournament in the extremely popular Gulf Coast Triple Crown Series, consisting of five high-profile tournaments in the Gulf of Mexico. At stake for the Top Team in the Triple Crown is not only a custom six-foot marlin trophy but also the honor of being named the best billfishing team in the Gulf of Mexico for the year.