More than 200 anglers competing on 38 teams experienced three days of record fishing, releasing 91 blue marlin, 17 white marlin and a spearfish.
A fleet of 38 teams put on a fish-catching clinic at the 2018 Bermuda Billfish Blast. Three days of red-hot fishing produced a record number 91 blue marlin releases during the event, with most blues ranging in the 200- to 400-pound class. After lines out on day three, Team Auspicious totalled six blue and two white marlin releases across three days of fishing to surpass the field and win the 2018 Bermuda Billfish Blast.
As the competition intensified each day, the blue marlin bite cooperated with increased numbers. Day one recorded 26 blue marlin releases, day two saw 32 releases, and day three topped out at 33 blue marlin releases. Blue marlin releases were worth 500 points, garnering the most attention, while species such as white marlin and spearfish scored 200 points.
Team Auspicious, captained by Edward "Cookie" Murray, jumped out to an early lead on day one of the Bermuda Billfish Blast. The team relied heavily on owner and angler Joe Rahman — in fact, he landed every single fish for Auspicious during the tournament. Rahman released two blues before lunch, with a single white marlin released in the early afternoon. The three marlin were enough to win both levels of the Daily Marlin Release Jackpot and to control the leaderboard.
Teams Hit ‘N’ Run, Big Deal, Treasure Isle, Es Mucho and Plane Simple all had great days too, recording two blue marlin releases. Reel Addiction and Overproof each released a blue marlin and white marlin. No doubt about it, the leaderboard was tight after day one.
Team Just A Dog, captained and owned by Michael Farrens, went from zero to hero on day two. On day one, they didn’t release a single marlin. On day two, they released three blue marlin to lead the day. Angler Chase Farrens hooked all three marlin between 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., proving there was no afternoon lull in the bite. Team Waste Knot, captained by Pat Kannan, was close behind, landing two blue marlin and a white marlin. Anglers Scott Poole, Jr. and Ven Poole each caught a blue marlin; Scott Poole fought and released the white marlin. They followed a similar course to Just A Dog, recording a strong day two of fishing after striking out on day one.
Just a Dog won the day two level one Billfish Release Jackpot. Team Waste Knot won the day two level two Billfish Release Jackpot, since Just a Dog did not enter the level two optional.
After two days of fishing, Auspicious still held the lead with one white marlin and three blue marlin releases (1,700 points). Teams Big Deal, Flyer, Just A Dog, Plane Simple, Reel Lax, Sea Toy, and Treasure Isle all had three blue marlin releases (1,500 points). Team Waste Knot had one white marlin and two blue marlin releases (1,200 points). Just one blue marlin or one white marlin release was the difference between the top nine teams after two days of fishing.
For teams Reel Addiction, Uno Mas and Bad Daddy, day three was their time to shine.
Reel Addiction, winners of the 2016 Bermuda Billfish Blast and captained by Cragin Curtis, released three blue marlin on the day. Angler Parke Berolzheimer fought and released all three fish for the team.
Uno Mas, a team that always does well in the Bermuda Triple Crown series, had their best fishing day of the tournament. Uno Mas split up their fishing duties among three anglers, with Dave Mothershead releasing a blue marlin, Drew McDowelll releasing a blue marlin, and Sean Gallagher releasing a white marlin.
Bad Daddy, captained by Jason "Tiny" Walcott, released two blue marlin and one white marlin on the day. Lady angler Katie Berg successfully fought all three fish. The excitement was obvious amongst the team after the third marlin swam free after release.
Most years during the Bermuda Billfish Blast tournament, any of the three teams mentioned probably would have won the day. In fact, these teams likely would have been in contention to win the entire tournament. But 2018 was different— the bite was hot and team Auspicious was even hotter.
Day three for Auspicious was the best of the tournament. Angler Joe Rahman hooked three blue marlin and one white marlin, doubling their total points from day one and two. The 1,700 points the team scored was enough to place them in the top ten had they not scored fish in any other day of the tournament. Auspicious, again, won both levels of the Daily Marlin Release Jackpot.
On July 4, the Bermuda Billfish Blast offered optional Winner-Take-All blue marlin jackpots at two levels. The team that caught the largest blue marlin over 500 pounds would have won the entire jackpot if they entered levels one and two. Because no one weighed a fish on July 4, the on-the-dock jackpot wasn’t won. By tournament rule, that jackpot money was awarded to the top three boats in the Overall Billfish Release Points Jackpot.
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The 2018 Bermuda Billfish Blast tournament, presented by the Bermuda Tourism Authority, culminated in a highly popular awards banquet dinner in the Harbourview Ballroom at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess Hotel. More than 350 people were in attendance. All winners received King Sailfish Mounts trophies and prizes.
The Bermuda Billfish Blast is sponsored by the Bermuda Tourism Authority, West End Development Company, Bacardi Spirits, CAT Marine, Gregory Poole CAT, Pantropic Power CAT, Foley CAT, the Fairmont Hamilton Princess Hotel, Satcom Direct, Lucas Oil, Garmin Electronics, VanMark Jewelry, PW Marine, Fishing Tease, YETI, King Sailfish Mounts, Marine Artist Steve Goione, Island Glass, Miles Market, Waterfront Properties, Island Construction, The Waterfront Residence, Hawkins Island, Hamilton Bermuda, JABSCO, Rule Pumps, E&P Marine, and Soundview Millworks.