The 2011 Bahamas Billfish Championship (BBC) will go down as a record setter in terms of fishing and participation. The top three winning teams, including Zues, Wave Paver and Chasin Tail achieved the highest scores ever recorded in the BBC’s 38-year history. The series, which is made up of five billfish tournaments in the Bahamas, averaged 31 teams at each event and those teams caught a record 275 billfish — including 135 blue marlin, 85 white marlin and 55 sailfish.
But the biggest story of the 2011 BBC, was the monster blue marlin that Don McKinney’s team Double Dog caught during the Treasure Cay leg. It was a spectacular finale to the five tournament season and the 1,119-pound blue marlin established a new Bahamas record! Angler David Albury of Man-O-War Cay, Bahamas, fought the big blue for three hours and 17 minutes before being able to bring the fish to gaff. The big blue shattered the old Bahamas record of 1,060.5 pounds, which was caught in Bimini in 1979, also during a BBC event.
Already looking ahead to 2012, tournament director Al Behrendt announced a series of rule changes for the BBC. Here is a quick rundown of the rule changes.
Tournament Format Change
Captain’s Choice Lay Day — All teams will fish any three out of the available four fishing days (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday). Ribbons must be picked-up each fishing day between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. from the Committee Boat. (The ribbons must be shown in any photos and/or video of those fish that are released.)
To qualify as a “released fish,” the leader must be brought within the grasp of the mate or the end of the leader must be wound to the rod tip. A Billfish Release Affidavit must be completed for each billfish released and presented to the Committee Boat between the hours of 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. on the same day the fish is caught. These hours can be extended if a team is fighting a fish and reported to the Committee Boat prior to “lines out of the water.”
New Angling Rules
Teams fishing the Bahamas Billfish Championship may not include any individual who has been paid to be a captain or crew in the last three years. Professional captains and crew can not fish a rod, feed a fish and/or bring a fish to the boat.
After speaking with Al Behrendt about the rule change, he said the tournament committee decided to make this new rule to give all teams a fighting chance and level the playing field. “With the price of fuel and entry fees it takes to fish in these events, it is only fair that we don’t let any one team stack the deck with a team of anglers that are all full-time captains and mates,” he said.
Finally, all boats participating in the Bahamas Billfish Championship tournaments must hold a valid Bahamas Fishing Permit with a Bahamas Fisheries sticker affixed thereto.
For a complete copy of the BBC rules, go to www.bahamasbillfish.com.
Bahamas Billfish Championship Rule Change