More than 200 anglers competing on 38 teams experienced hot marlin fishing, catching 70 blue and eight white marlin.
A fleet of 38 teams put on an exciting show at the Bermuda Big Game Classic from July 12 – 16, 2018. Three days of competitive tournament fishing produced high numbers of blue marlin releases and three fish brought to the scales surpassing 500 pounds. After lines out on day three, Team Playmaker totaled one white and six blue marlin releases, scoring 3,200 points across three days of fishing to win the 2018 Bermuda Big Game Classic, with winnings totaling $90,750. Team Overproof also scored big, landing a 930-pound blue marlin on day three, winning the Day-Three Largest Marlin and Winner-Take-All Largest Marlin jackpots for $118,800 in total winnings.
As the competition intensified each day, a seasoned team on a new boat landed a blue marlin and brought it to the scales at Barr’s Bay Park in Hamilton, Bermuda. Day one recorded a 605-pound blue marlin; day two saw a 611-pound blue marlin; and day three produced a 930-pound blue marlin. Blue marlin must weigh at least 500 pounds to be eligible for weighing at the Bermuda Big Game Classic.
Team Reel Lax, captained by James Barnes, took control of the leaderboard on day one of the Bermuda Big Game Classic. Four different anglers released blue marlin on Reel Lax, for a total of 2,000 points, to earn the Day-One Daily Billfish Release Jackpot.
Teams Hot Spot and Playmaker were both close behind Reel Lax. Playmaker, captained by Jerry Owens, released three blue marlin for a total of 1,500 points. Angler Andrew De Paulis caught all three of the blue marlin for the team.
Angler Ricky Sousa Sr. hooked a large blue marlin aboard Hot Spot, captained by Ricky Sousa Jr., on day one of the Bermuda Big Game Classic. After he fought the fish to the boat, the team new they had a fish that was eligible to weigh and boated it, but did not immediately return to the docks. They successfully released two more blue marlin on the day. Back at the docks, their fish weighed 605 pounds, winning the Day-One Largest Marlin Jackpot and putting them in the lead for largest blue marlin weighed during the tournament. They scored 1,605 points on the day.
Teams Es Mucho, C'est La Vie, El Cazador, Grander and Mama Who all had great days too, recording two blue marlin releases (1,000 points).
Reel Lax won the 2017 Bermuda Billfish Blast and some teams were wondering if the 2018 Bermuda Big Game Classic was going to be a repeat performance. On day two, Team Reel Lax’s props hit an unknown, unmarked object on their way offshore, forcing them to return back to the marina and miss the day’s fishing.
Seven different teams released two blue marlin (1,000 points) on day two, including Flyer, Pescador, No Vacancy, Amarula Sun, Waste Knot, C'est La Vie and Sea Toy. Flyer, captained by Bryce Garvey, won the Day-Two Daily Billfish Release Jackpot based on time. Bad Daddy, captained by Jason Walcott, released one blue marlin and one white marlin (700 points).
Team Blank Check, captained by Danny Hearn, stole the show on day two. Before 10 a.m., angler Kyle Liane hooked into a blue marlin that fought him for almost three hours. The team decided to head in early and weigh the fish. Back at the scales, the fish weighed 611 pounds and won the Day-Two Largest Marlin Jackpot. On day two, team Blank Check took the lead for largest blue marlin weighed during the 2018 Bermuda Big Game Classic.
After two days of fishing, Reel Lax and C'est La Vie both had 2,000 points with four blue marlin releases. Playmaker released one white and three blue marlin for 1,700 points. Hot Spot released two blue marlin and weighed their 605-pounder for 1,605 points. Es Mucho, Grander, Mama Who, Waste Knot and Sea Toy all had three blue marlin releases (1,500 points).
The final day of the Bermuda Big Game Classic had all the fireworks and excitement one could hope for in tournament marlin fishing. Teams Blank Check and Playmaker both released three marlin (1,500 points) on the day, although Blank Check won the Day-Three Daily Billfish Release Jackpot based on time. The two teams were already riding high from their performances in the Bermuda Big Game Classic, but clutch catches on day three solidified payouts for both teams.
After lines out on day three, two teams were still hooked up. Overproof and Reel Steel were both hooked into blue marlin in relatively close proximity to each other. Overproof hooked their fish just before 3 p.m., while Reel Steel hooked up a little after 3:30 p.m.
Reel Steel, captained by Jason Parker, was first to get their fish to the boat. Angler Marc Verzaleno fought the fish for almost 2 hours and 45 minutes. The team knew they had a fish well over the 500-pound minimum. Reel Steel fought the fish to leader several times, but eventually, the fish pulled off. The one silver lining was the 500 points they received for the release.
Overproof, captained by Peter Rans, boated their fish at 7:05 p.m. Angler Jason Friedman fought the fish for more than four hours. Back on shore, a crowd was ready to greet them at Barr’s Bay Park. The official weight of their blue marlin was 930 pounds, 70 pounds short of a grander. With one fish caught all tournament, Overproof landed the heaviest blue marlin of the event and won the Day-Three Largest Marlin Jackpot.
The 2018 Bermuda Big Game Classic tournament, presented by the Bermuda Tourism Authority, culminated in a highly popular Bacardi International cocktail reception, followed by the tournament awards banquet dinner in the Harbourview Ballroom at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess Hotel. After, participants celebrated with a live band on the Princess Marina dock.
The Bermuda Big Game Classic is sponsored by the Bermuda Tourism Authority, Miles Market, Garmin Electronics, the Fairmont Hamilton Princess Hotel, PW Marine, Fishing Tease, Steve T. Goione, Butterfield and Vallis, Satcom Direct, Lucas Oil, Island Construction, King Sailfish Mounts, Bacardi Spirits, YETI, VanMark Jewelry, Island Glass, CAT Marine, Gregory Poole CAT, Pantropic Power CAT, Foley CAT, GP Link, Jarrett Bay Boatworks, Merritt Boat and Engine Works, Viking Yachts, Spencer Yachts, American Custom Yachts, Willis Marine, Release Marine, Pettit, Dometic, Northern Lights, Airmar, The Waterfront Residence, Hawkins Private Island, Hamilton, Little Venice, Quick, One Communications, Soundview Millworks, Offshore Yacht Management and Shimano.