53rd ANNUAL FISHING TOURNAMENT
Most Blue Marlin Points by Team
Likkle Hookah, David Galbraith Charley
Fair Prospect, David Moss
Reel Driva, Jeffrey Panton
Largest Blue Marlin, by Weight - Individual Angler
Joy Clark, on Pension Fund
297.5 lbs (99 inches)
Male Angler, on Marlin Points
Brenell Spence, Likkle Hookah
David Moss, Fair Prospect
Sue-Ann Panton, Reel Driva
Joy Clark, Pension Fund
Female Angler, on Marlin Points
Junior Angler Award
Jaylen Taylor, Keepin' It Jiggy
Stephen Silvera, Cheryl Ann
Largest Sailfish, by Weight - Individual Angler
First Marlin Awards
Joy Clark, Pension Fund
Keith Braithwaite, Persistence
Matthew Morin, Stewfish
Miguel Benitez Rasgato, Deputy
Israel Benitez Rasgato, Deputy
Kyle Gregg, Reel Driva
Brenell Spence, Likkle Hookah
Non-Billfish by Weight
Best Behaved Crew!
Worst Behaved Crew (Best Party Animals Award)!
Out n' Badr
Best Team Spirit
Bobby Stewart's Exceptional Dedication Awards
RECAP OF THE 53rd MONTEGO BAY INTERNATIONAL MARLIN TOURNAMENT
September 17th - 19th, 2014
This year’s 53rd staging of the Montego Bay International Marlin Tournament has shown itself to be somewhat of an historic event. A tournament record 30 boats were registered at the start, and 29 boats fished – tournament chairman, Bobby Stewart, found himself too busy with ongoing tournament matters and was unable to fish on his boat, “Knotty Dread” - much to his dismay!
In another positive development, the tournament was sanctioned under International Game Fish Association (IGFA) rules as an Official Qualifying Event for the Offshore World Championship (OWC). This International certification means that the winning team in this tournament receives an entry for the World Championship in Costa Rica, to be held in the first half of 2015.
At the Captain’s meeting on Tuesday night, September 16th, 2014, the anglers supported taking this significant step up, as part of the strategy to lift the tournament into the future, with an overwhelming show of hands. The MBYC tournament committee thanked the anglers for their show of support of the vision for the tournament’s future - and a new chapter has now begun! 99 inch sticks were also given out at the end of the Captain’s briefing, to assist anglers in ensuring that undersize Marlin would not be boated.
In even better news, the new rules did not negatively impact the excitement in the least! The tournament started under almost ideal conditions for anglers, who were also assisted each morning with satellite data provided by Weather Routing Inc., and a phenomenal result for the fishing was seen!
Overall results for the three days were 46 Blue Marlin hook-ups, with 28 Blue Marlin brought to the boat and controlled, of which 25 were successfully released, with 11 TBF Tag cards being submitted to Tournament Control to send to The Billfish Foundation. 2 Blue Marlin were boated and brought to the dock. Of these two, one met the 99 inch minimum length, and so qualified, however, it was 2.5 pounds shy of the 300 pound mark, and incurred a -5 point penalty. The other Marlin brought to the dock did not meet the 99 inch requirement and was assessed full penalties of -300 points, as well as the weight.
On the first day of fishing, Wednesday, September 17th, the 53rd Montego Bay International Marlin Tournament began with a Bimini start from a shotgun flare at 7:28 am, covered by the all-seeing eye of our friendly neighborhood Drone. 10 Blue Marlin were brought to the boat and subdued, from a total of 17 hookups. An estimated 22 strikes were had for the day.
David Moss, fishing his boat Fair Prospect, was the first to notch the Tournament Scoreboard, with his first hookup reported at 9:34 – a short fight later, he successfully released a Blue Marlin at 10:02 am, gaining an automatic 300 points, as per the new rules.
The excitement of the day saw the radio buzzing with activity, and 9 more Blue Marlin releases were had by “lines out” at 5pm: Stephen Silvera, 10:22am, on Cheryl Ann; Paul Thompson, 11:20 am, on Fishy Bizniz; Sue-Ann Panton, 11:42 am, on Reel Driva; Miguel Benitez, 12 noon, on Deputy; Ian McNally, 2:05 pm, on Sea Duction; Lester Spaulding, 2:15 pm, on Fair Prospect; Brenell Spence, 3:43 pm, on Likkle Hookah; M Habib, 4:04 pm, on Mur Mur; The final Marlin for the day was hooked at 4:45 pm by Brenell Spence on Likkle Hookah, and released at 5:09 pm.
On day two, Thursday, the fishing was nothing short of spectacular. An estimated 30 strikes saw 21 hookups, which resulted in 14 Blue Marlin being brought to the boat! The first hookup occurred at 9:45 am and was landed at 10:39 am by Kyle Gregg, on Reel Driva. 13 more Blue Marlin came to the boat in quick succession during the rest of the day – although one is not officially recorded here due to a failure to safely release.
The rest of the day’s Blue Marlin releases played out as follows: Adam Stewart, 11:02 am, on StewFish II; Brenell Spence, 11:45 am, on Likkle Hookah; Gordon Shirley, 11:51 am, on U Sea Mi; Michael Baugh, 12:17 pm, on Bye Pass; Kamal Azan, 1:54 pm, on 2 Motivated; Jaylen Taylor, 2:30 pm, on Keepin’ It Jiggy; Israel Benitez, 3:46 pm, on Deputy; Gary Brown, 3:46 pm, on Keepin’ It Jiggy; Paul Thompson, 3:30 pm, on Fishy Bizniz; Gregory Christian, 4:05 pm, on Juicy; and finally, John Brennan on Bye Pass released the last Blue Marlin for the day at 4:58 pm. Also, at 4:26 pm Joy Clarke on Pension Fun landed a Marlin and brought it to the scales that evening. It met the 99 inch limit and was weighed at the scales at 297.5 pounds, attracting a 5 point deduction, scoring 292.5 points
On the final day, Friday, Anglers were awoken at 5 am to the raucous cries of many Roosters foisted upon unsuspecting boats during the dark of the night! Cries of “Fowl Play!” rang out, up and down the docks! In addition, many Bananas were witnessed to have been planted on various competitor boats, as another symbol of bad luck and fishy misfortune. Anglers desperately attempted to clear their vessels of all of these symbols of sabotage, and anxiously scrubbed their decks and hands!
Alas – whether these last day antics were to blame, or not, the Marlin proved elusive on Day 3, with just 4 Blue Marlin brought to the boat, out of 8 hookups, and an estimated 14 strikes. Security will, INDEED, be increased next year, to discourage the perpetrators, LOL!
Ted Muschett, fishing his boat 2 Motivated, was the first to get hooked up, at 7:56 am – and he successfully released his Blue Marlin at 10:30, after a grueling battle. Matthew Morin, fishing on StewFish II, also released another Blue Marlin at 11:39 am. Brenell Spence, on Likkle Hookah, recorded his fourth Blue Marlin release at 11:24 am. It is suspected that the water was warmer today, and many Marlin moved inshore towards the cool water upwelling at the drop-off. The final Marlin of the day was brought boat side by Keith Braithwaite, on Persistence. This was landed, rather than released – however, at the weight station it was determined to be under the 99 inch minimum guideline and was disqualified, attracting a penalty of 300 points plus its weight.
The Awards Ceremony, Friday night, was extremely well attended, with not a seat left in the house, and standing room at a premium. This despite the rain showers which had forced the event to be moved inside at the last hour. His Worship, The Mayor of Montego Bay, Glendon Harris, accompanied by his beautiful wife, Dr. Angella Harris, was in attendance, and spoke very kind words about the format and success of the new tournament, as well as about the positive impact the tournament is now set to have for the city.
The awards ceremony for a very informal affair and, due to the high spirits of the anglers, the stage and microphone were hijacked at various points during the proceedings, for anglers to voice their positive feelings for this year’s event, and for various “alternative awards” to be held high! A good time was had by all, and the event was officially closed, with all upstanding for the National Anthem. After this, all present made their way to the shore front by the docks to enjoy a fantastic fireworks show that underscored the week that had been, with all its positive emotion, and attendant fishing pyrotechnics!
The next morning, Saturday, the majority of the Marlin Fleet made their way to the iconic Doctors Cave Beach, where they anchored up and rafted together, for the first ever Tight Lines Beach Party and Boat Raft-Up. Since this event had never been held by the tournament before, there was much concern as to its success this year. These concerns were put to rest as the day continued, as 500 people, both on the beach, and on the boats, drank and laughed the day away; a well-deserved day of relaxation that was enjoyed by all.
Before closing this recap of the 53rd Tournament, I must take another moment of your time to publicly thank all the members of the MBYC and Tournament Committees who helped lift the enormous load that was required to set this tournament apart from all others in our history, as well as all the other people outside of MBYC who gave their time and energy towards its success. Ladies and gentlemen, we aimed for the stars with this one, and managed to hit almost every nail on the head. We have set the bar for ourselves next year. Rest up, it’s soon time to start planning the next one!
The 54th Montego Bay International Marlin Tournament is scheduled for September 23rd, 2015, and promises to continue the new direction of this year’s event.
We’ll see you there – till then, however – TIGHT LINES!!!!
My very best regards
MBYC Marlin Tournament Committee Chairman