Share-E wins 2016 Orange Beach Billfish Classic
Mollie Tags Two Blues to Win Catch & Release
Rise-Up Arrives 1:45 Too Late, With Huge Blue Marlin
$31,000 Donated to The Billfish Foundation
Thirty-one teams entered the 18th Annual 2016 Orange Beach Billfish Classic. The event, held at The Wharf Marina in Orange Beach, kicks off the big game fishing tournament season along the Gulf Coast and is also the first leg of the Gulf Coast Triple Crown Championship.
When the scales opened on Friday, May 20th, Breathe Easy, a 68' Viking from Orange Beach, Alabama was at the weigh dock ready to weigh the first blue marlin of 2016. Boat owner Matt McDonald, Captain Patrick Ivey and angler Douglas Fletcher watched as the scale posted an impressive 574.0 pounds on their 112" blue marlin.
Breathe Easy held the lead for a little more than twenty-four hours before another Viking and a team very familiar with success at the scales backed down to the weigh dock on Saturday night, May 21st. Venice, Louisiana boat Share-E with owners Buell and lady angler Sherry Polk along with Captain Mike Roberto captured first place with their blue marlin weighing 651.2 pounds. The Polks were fishing on a loaner Viking boat while awaiting the arrival of their new Viking. Both big blue marlin marked great starts to the tournament season for Captains Ivey and Roberto, after each made a move from another boat to their current position for the 2016 season.
A third blue marlin was weighed for the enjoyment of the big crowd at The Wharf, but with a heartbreaking story accompanying the fish. The crew of Rise Up, brought a 120" blue marlin to the scales, but due to mechanical problems on the way in, they arrived at the check-in point one minute and forty-seconds past the tournament deadline of 7:00 PM. The fished weighed 771 pounds but was not eligible for the tournament due to the late arrival.
In the Catch and Release category, the team of Mollie, a 66' G & S from Destin, Florida released two blue marlin to claim first place and were awarded the Johnny Johnson Memorial Catch and Release Trophy. Reel Addiction, a 56' Viking from Gulf Breeze, Florida also released two blue marlin for a second place finish followed in third place by Dirt Pit a 55' Hatteras from Union, Mississippi.
Sea Mixer, a 66' Spencer based in Orange Beach, Alabama won the Tuna category with a first place fish of 164.4 pounds followed by Team Supreme with a 146.0-pound yellowfin tuna and Miss Colette was third with a 142.8-pound tuna.
The top dolphin was brought in on the Call Me Gone, a 46' Bertram from New Orleans, Louisiana at 31 pounds. The Triple C was second with a 29.8-pound fish and Everything's Rosie was third at an even 26 pounds.
Nikki Bella, a 55' Viking from Jacksonville, Florida won the Wahoo category with a 75.4-pound fish. Relentless Pursuit was second at 54.2 pounds and Cotton Patch placed third at 51.8 pounds. The top lady angler was Laurie Jones on Reel Addiction while Caroline Robinson was the top junior angler aboard the Sea Mixer.
At the tournament awards ceremony, Tournament Directors Kate Dorland and Kate Ferrara presented a check to Ellen Peel, President of The Billfish Foundation for $31,000. The Orange Beach Billfish Classic is the single largest tournament donor annually to The Billfish Foundation.
The 2017 Orange Beach Billfish Classic will be May 17-21 at The Wharf in Orange Beach, Alabama. For tournament information and updates visit www.orangebeachbillfishclassic.com and on Facebook.
2016 Orange Beach Billfish Classic Results
1st- Share- E with a 651.2lbs.
2nd- Breathe Easy with a 574lbs.
Catch and Release
2nd- Reel Addiction
3rd- Dirt Pit
1st- Sea Mixer with 164.4lbs.
2nd- Team Supreme with 146.0lbs.
3rd- Miss Colette with 142.8lbs.
1st- Call Me Gone with 31lbs.
2nd- Triple C with 29.8lbs.
3rd- Everything's Rosie with 26lbs.
1st- Nikki Bella with 75.4lbs.
2nd- Relentless Pursuit with 54.2lbs.
3rd- Cotton Patch with 51.8lbs.
Top Lady Angler
Laurie Jones on the Reel Addiction
Top Junior Angler
Caroline Robinson on the Sea Mixer