Bahamas Billfish Championship’s first tournament of the 2012 season
Miamian, Alex Vazquez led team Fish Tales to an impressive victory at the Bahamas Billfish Championship in Great Guana Cay, Abaco. Vazquez and teammate Joey Souto caught and released four blue marlin and a white marlin to earn 2,600 points for the win.
The BBC’s new format allows teams to fish three out of four days with a required ‘captain’s choice’ lay-day. Like most of the twenty-one boat fleet, Fish Tales took day one as their lay-day. Shortly after noon on day two, Vazquez released the team’s first blue marlin and Souto solidified the tournament lead by releasing the team’s second blue of the day shortly before three o’clock.
Fish Tales added to their lead on day three with another released blue marlin. However, on day three, all eyes were on Give It Away. BBC newcomers John and Anne Aramendia of Garden Ridge, Texas brought Give It Away within 300 points of the leader when Anne released a sailfish, white marlin and a blue marlin for a ‘grand slam.’ John added another blue and, at the end of day three, Give it Away had accrued 1,500 points to Fish Tales’ 1,800.
More importantly, in BBC tournaments, 700 ‘grand slam bonus’ points are awarded to a team catching a sailfish, white marlin (or spearfish) and blue marlin in one day during the tournament. At the conclusion of the tournament, the Grand Slam Bonus points are added to the team’s overall score for that tournament. This meant that the Hatteras 60, Fish Tales, needed more points on day four to avoid losing the lead.
But on day four, Barry Weshnak’s Miss Annie grabbed the spotlight releasing three blue marlin and edging Frank Rodriguez and Fa-La-Me out of third place because Miss Annie was the first to achieve 1,800 points. Meanwhile, Fish Tales added another blue and a white to finish with 2,600 points. Anne Aramendia released a sailfish adding another 100 points to Give It Away’s total.
The Guana Cay Championship win earned Alex Vazquez and team Fish Tales a Randy Rich designed trophy presented by tournament sponsors MarineMax and Hatteras Yachts. In addition, the Miami, Florida based Fish Tales received a $500 gift certificate from Treasure Coast Propellers and a custom set of teasers from Reel Tease and Chum Buoy. Capt. Chris Zielinski and the Fish Tales crew each received a Randy Rich designed trophy sponsored by Steve Lewis of the Lewis Marine Group.
Second Place honors at the Guana Cay Championship went to Give It Away, a 58 Randy Dixon. Aramendia’s team finished with 1,600 points; however, with the added 700 grand slam bonus points, Give It Away amassed 2,300 points and a solid grasp of second place. Give It Away was also awarded a Randy Rich trophy from MarineMax and Hatteras Yachts.
Former Bahamas Billfish Champion, Barry Weshnak from Allenwood, New Jersey finished in Third Place with 1,800 points. In addition to the Randy Rich trophies, the three winning teams also received Anejo Rum from Bacardi and Bristol Wine & Spirits and gift certificates from Maui Jim Sunglasses and Roffer’s Ocean Fishing Forecasting Service (ROFFS).
Twenty-one teams competed in the Guana Cay Championship, hosted by Orchid Bay Yacht Club & Marina. Of the 42 billfish caught and released, 19 were blue marlin, 15 were white marlin and 8 were sailfish. As with all BBC tournaments, all catches are validated using time and date stamped digital images. Affidavits signed by all participants fishing on each team further confirms that the fish was released in accordance with IGFA and Bahamas Billfish Championship rules.
MarineMax and Hatteras Yachts were the hosting sponsors of the Guana Cay Championship. And the new Hatterascal made its tournament debut at Guana Cay before heading to the Gulf of Mexico and up the east coast of the US competing in numerous blue water tournaments.
Social function during the tournament were hosted by CAT Marine Power, Ocean Club at Port Canaveral, Silver Airways and Treasure Coast Propellers.
Now celebrating its 39th season, the BBC is the oldest billfish tournament series in the world. Anglers can fish any or all of the tournaments with cumulative points determining the overall Bahamas Billfish Champions. In an effort to give-back to the Bahamian people, the Bahamas Billfish Championship endowed two scholarships that enable Bahamian students the opportunity to pursue a degree in marine biology or advanced education in the marine technologies.