The 2017 Bermuda Triple Crown Billfish Championship saw 49 boats fish at least one leg each of the tournament for a total series purse of $1,057,850 plus trophies and prizes. Anglers caught 200 billfish--126 blues, 70 whites and four spearfish--with an average of 4.08 billfish per team.
Team Fa-La-Me, this year’s Bermuda Triple Crown winner, put on a clinic, nearly lapping the field with a record 6,500 points from nine blue and 10 white marlin releases during the nine days of fishing. The 92-foot Viking (owned by Frank and Mary Ellen Rodriguez and crewed by Captain Rob Moore and mates Tyler Beckford, Taylor Beckford and West Rivers) got things going in the Billfish Blast placing third overall with five whites and two blues for 2,000 points.
They continued to grind it out during a slower bite of the Big Game Classic, earning 900 points from one blue and two white releases to place ninth overall. Then came the Sea Horse, once again the magical event for Fa-La-Me. The team scored a whopping 3,600 points from six blue and three white marlin releases to win the event for a third time.
Fa-La-Me has become one of the winningest teams in the past decade and holds a 2012 Bahamas Billfish Championship ring, the coveted 2015 Offshore World Championship ring and an unprecedented third Bermuda Triple Crown championship after wins in 2012 and 2014.
The teamed picked up $140,280 in winnings on their way to the series win, and were awarded VanMark custom rings to the captain, mate and five high-point anglers; a King Sailfish Mounts trophy; a Garmin Quatix watch; Bacardi Special Edition Rum; AFTCO apparel; a Soundview Millworks trophy; a Yeti tumbler; and a Steve Goione limited-edition BTC print.
The boat also received a Release Marine Custom Strep Box, a Yeti Cooler, a Taylor Offshore Kraken Dredge, an AFTCO harness and belt, Lucas Oil products, a Baitmaster Gift Certificate and a Big T lure spread.
The big fish of the season was caught during the Big Game Classic by Captain Bryce Garvey, boating an 871-pound blue caught by angler Marc Woodbury on Kevin Jaffe’s new 86-foot Merritt Flyer. This is the third largest fish weighed in BTC history.
Two other qualifying marlin were weighed during the tournaments: a 540-pound blue caught by Sales De La Barre on the 77-foot Jarrett Bay Mama Who in the Classic, and 570-pound blue caught by Marc Verzaleno on the 66-foot Hines Farley Reel Steel in the Sea Horse. Both fish were big winners and caught by 17-year-old junior anglers.
Many of the participants continued to support the IGFA Great Marlin Race PSAT tag program. Throughout the season, sponsored tags were deployed by Dan Murphy on Last Stall, Art Farve on A Work of Art, Dan Devine on Seamaster, Elaine Jones on Mama Who, Frank Rodrigues on Fa-La-Me and Spencer Butterfield on Galatea. Dan Doyle Sr. on Blank Check and Byron Russell on Hit & Run also sponsored tags and will be deploying them in the future.
The Bermuda Triple Crown Billfish Championship is a series of three tournaments presented by the Bermuda Tourism Authority with participants enjoying many dinner parties, quality gifts, entertaining video productions, live bands, open bars and a participant-friendly environment. But most of all, what makes the BTC special is the Bermuda community and marlin fishery. Once again, a memorable time was had by all.
Congratulations to team Fa-La-Me!