Capt. Ronnie Fields and his team on the 59-foot Spencer Caroline slid into first place on Day Two of the International Cap Cana Billfish Shootout and never let go of the lead. It’s the second year in a row that Fields has won the top spot in the tournament. He won the 2010 event as captain on Gray Ingram’s Big Oh.
“We just stayed consistent,” Fields said. “The crew did a great job making the most of every bite we got.”
The marlin bite did not disappoint the fleet who made the journey to Cap Cana Marina and Resort on the eastern end of the Dominican Republic. Caroline finished with an impressive tally of 15 white marlin releases and one blue dog over the three-day tournament to win the top spot overall. They caught all of their fish on circle hooks, adding an additional 10 points per catch. White marlin were worth 200 points in the tournament while blues scored 500.
Conditions on day one were ideal as the fleet headed northeast out of Cap Cana Marina to the area around Macao Bank. Action had been good leading up to the tournament with boats scoring solid numbers of white marlin and a handful of blues and the crew on Prime Time made the most of it. Capt. Butch Cox and his team caught seven whites on the day to take home the daily. Caramba sat in second place with 1,350 points while Blue Bird was in third with 1,260. The smallest boat in the tournament, the 32-foot Marlin Chaser was in fourth place after Day One, releasing a blue and a white for 700 points. The 11-boat fleet caught 30 whites, three blues and one sailfish on the day.
Caroline had an epic day on Day Two of the Shootout, scoring five whites and a blue marlin release to score 1,560 points on the day and make the leap from fifth place to first. Prime Time added two releases, including a blue and a white on the day to hold onto second place. Caramba released two whites and moved into third. The fleet kept up it’s impressive pace, releasing 27 white marlin, two blues and a sailfish on Day Two.
The lay day took place after the second day of fishing and several crews decided to take part in the first-annual Cap Cana Cookoff sponsored by the food blog Your Meat Tooth. Despite some drizzly conditions, three teams showed up with fantastic food for judging and to share their dishes with the other competitors and observers. Hans Mangual and Carlos Garcia of the Peje received top honors for their team’s version of the Cuban dish “gallinita rellera.” They wowed the judges with a beautiful snapper served whole and stuffed with squid risotto. It did not last long as everyone dove in for seconds and thirds. Marlin Chaser‘s “not-so-chili chili” finished in second place and Team Teke won third for their dish of smoked dorado and smoked wahoo.
Blue Bird soared into action on the final day of fishing and nearly overtook Caroline for the lead. Blue Bird landed nine white marlin on the day to win the daily and move into second place overall. Caroline finished on top with 3,660 points, less than one fish ahead of Blue Bird. Prime Time took third with 3,330 points. Over the three days of fishing, the 11-boat fleet released 96 whites, seven blues and two sails.