A strong showing by junior angler Avery Holgersen pushed Fa La Me to the top.
Between legs one and two of the Bermuda Triple Crown, the Bermuda Billfish Release Cup hosted 17 teams for a one-day tournament on July 11. The Release Cup fishing tournament is scheduled as a two-day event, but captains voted to cancel day one of fishing because of nasty weather and jarring sea conditions. Anglers targeted blue marlin, white marlin and gamefish in overall and optional jackpot categories.
Team Just A Dog was the first team to release a blue marlin. Angler Scott Spaulding hopped in the fighting chair and battled the fish to the boat, leading to a successful release at 10:50 a.m. A number of other teams saw decent numbers of fish, and even hooked up to marlin, but were unable to get the fish to leader and score points.
Junior angler Avery Holgersen, aboard Fa La Me, had the standout performance of the tournament. For her first fish, the 13-year-old battled an estimated 500-pound blue marlin to the boat. Fa La Me captain Rob Moore joked, “I hope a fish like that shows up for the Classic in a couple days!” Next up, Holgersen fought and landed a white marlin at 2:45 p.m.
Before Team Fa La Me released their white marlin, Capt. Will Thornhill, aboard Mama Who called in a double hookup of blue marlin to tournament control. Lines out on tournament day was 3:30 p.m., so the late hookups added major excitement. Thornhill and crew worked on both the fish, with Sales De La Bar and Joe West handling angling duties.
Thornhill mentioned later in the day, his team was able to get both of the fish near the boat at different times during the fight. First, De La Bar got his fish close enough for a leader grab and successful release at 4:01 p.m. West was next. He started gaining line on his fish, but was unexpectedly cut off.
“We think a shark got the marlin because when we saw the leader it was all frayed,” Thornhill said. If Mama Who would have landed both blues, they would have shot past Fa La Me to the top of the leaderboard.
Team Es Mucho, captained by Allen DeSilva, cashed in on a wahoo bite in the grey conditions. With two different fish landed, the largest weighed 42.2 pounds, caught by angler Teresa Brewer.
The 2019 Bermuda Billfish Release Cup tournament hosted registration and a barbecue dinner at Bermuda Fun Golf. Teams competed against each other on the miniature golf course for glass trophies. The tournament culminated in a dinner and awards ceremony at the Bone Fish Bar and Grill at the Royal Navy Dockyard. All winners received King Sailfish Mounts and Soundview Millworks trophies and prizes.
Team Fa La Me, captained by Rob Moore, scored 700 points to win first-place team, first-place overall release points jackpot, all levels of the daily release jackpots, and an invitation to the 2020 Offshore World Championship. Total Winnings: $27,975.
Team Just A Dog, captained by Michael Farrens, scored 500 points to win the second-place team and second-place overall release points jackpot. Total Winnings: $8,145.
Team Mama Who, captained by Will Thornhill, scored 500 points to win third-place team and third-place overall release points jackpot. Total Winnings: $3,450.
Team Es Mucho, captained by Allen DeSilva, landed a 42.2-pound wahoo to win all three gamefish categories. Total Winnings: $4,000.
TOP JUNIOR AND LADY ANGLER
The top junior and lady angler award went to Avery Holgersen, 13, aboard Fa La Me, for her blue and white marlin releases.
BERMUDA SLOOP FOUNDATION
The Bermuda Billfish Release Cup donated $5,000 to the Bermuda Sloop Foundation’s Adam Goodwin Master Mariner Scholarship.
The 2019 Bermuda Billfish Release Cup is sponsored by the Bermuda Tourism Authority, West End Development Company (WEDCO), Royal Navy Dockyard, Pier 41 Dockyard Bermuda, Bone Fish Bar and Grille, CAT Marine, Gregory Poole CAT, Pantropic Power CAT, Foley CAT, Ring Power CAT, Fairmont Hamilton Princess Hotel, Lucas Oil, Garmin Electronics, VanMark Jewelry Designers, Bermuda Sloop Foundation, Fishing Tease, Goslings, YETI, King Sailfish Mounts, GP Link, Marine Artist Steve Goione, Miles Market, Island Construction, Global Rescue, Spar Yard Marine Solutions, Hamilton Bermuda, Soundview Millworks, Bermuda Fun Golf, Rubis Energy, Marlin magazine, Sport Fishing magazine and Salt Water Sportsman magazine.