BIMINI TOURNEY RECAP
The Renaissance/Team Varsity Jacket caught and released a blue marlin on the first day of the Bimini Big Game Club Billfish Invitational to help them win first place in the inaugural tournament. The three-day event attracted a field of more than 50 anglers.
Angler Mark Benka caught the top blue marlin helping the Renaissance/Varsity Jacket team win first fish honors as well as the top angler award. But the highlight of their victory was receiving the stainless steel, Hemmingway-Lerner Trophy, crafted by world-famous wildlife sculptor Kent Ullberg.
Second place went to Team Mirage, with angler Darren Davis catching the fish. Mirage called in a hook up each day and finally converted on day three with a 200-plus pound blue marlin caught within sight of the marina. They released the fish in just 10 minutes of the hook up. Mirage also had the potential winning sailfish on the line but was unable to convert. Rounding out their awards, Mirage also took the prize for last blue marlin and second place marlin.
In the fun-fish division, Pete Woods' Get Reel team brought in the largest dolphin at 30.6 pounds to take first place. Second place and top lady angler awards went to Karen Wimmer on the vessel Conquest. Third place and second place lady angler honors went to Caroline Ellert, fishing with the El Viejo team. The Hard Luck Trophy went to Ted Amberg of the Hillary Lynn team who had an unfortunate run-in with a dolphin that gave him a good slap to sensitive body parts.
Some of the toughest competition was in the most unusual catch category where the Hells Bay Hoppers team, who dove with a pod of pilot whales, missed taking first place from Team Tagline, who was able to ride and “release” a whale shark in 2,500 feet of water.
The closing ceremonies ended with a fabulous dinner and a sincere endorsement from Guy Harvey, Bill Shedd and Mark Ellert that next year's tournament will be even better. For more information on the Bimini Big Game Club, a Guy Harvey Outpost Resort and Marina, go to www.biggameclubbimini.com.