A BLUE marlin hooked in the last five minutes of the final round of the 2014 Bahamas Billfish Championship (BBC) decided the overall title in thrilling fashion for Jr Davis and his team aboard Wave Paver.
The 600 points earned for the castch and the bonus points for finishing second in the Marsh Harbour Championship proved enough to take Wave Paver above Team Marlin Darlin in the overall standings.
Jr Davis has fished the BBC every year since 2006 and three years ago the 61-foot Garlington finished second overall. This year, Wave Paver fished all four of the Abaco tournaments, placing third in the Treasure Cay Championship and second in Marsh Harbour at the weekend.
Points were earned by the Kissimmee, Florida, team for releasing six blue marlin, three white marlin and two sailfish. Including bonus and participation points the team finished with a total of 5,700 points.
Team Marlin Darlin had led the four-tournament series going into the final leg at Marsh Harbour. Bob Jacobsen fished his 62-foot Spencer in only two of the four legs but built an impressive points tally with second place in the Guana Cay Championship and winning in Treasure Cay.
The team from Clearwater, Florida, released five blue marlin, four white marlin and a sailfish. With bonus and participation points they finished the series with 5,200 points. No stranger to the championship stage, team Fa La Me finished the series in third place. The 2012 overall champion, Frank Rodriguez led his team aboard a 70-foot Viking, to 4,300 points by releasing five blue marlin and one white marlin. The team from Winter Park, Florida, fished only Treasure Cay and Marsh Harbour but made a strong showing in both – placing second and third respectively.
Team Full Time, the Miami-based team led by owner Luis Perez, left the fleet trailing with five marlin releases and earned them victory in Marsh Harbour. They begun by releasing two blue marlin on the opening day and the crew aboard the 63-foot Bertram were able to release two more as well as a white marlin on the second day.
The Marsh Harbour Championship, hosted by Abaco Beach Resort and Boat Harbour Marina, produced 10 blue marlin, three white marlin and a sailfish.
Jr Davis’ personal cumulative 3,600 points for the season earned him the Jim Lambert Memorial Trophy for being the top angler in the series. Lambert was an avid BBC competitor for years and won the Championship in 1998. He was instrumental in the establishment of the BBC’s scholarship fund and the trophy is given in his memory by Smith-Merritt Insurance and Lucantha Insurance each year.
Wave Paver captain Russell Sinclair received the Lindsay Forde Memorial Trophy sponsored Lewis Marine Group and presented by Liz Forde and McKenzie Forde. Capt Sinclair and mates Jerry Owens and Ryan House each received the top captain and top mate trophies.
Monica Higgs of Abaco Gold, presented Jr Davis with the custom, hand-designed BBC Championship ring.
Wave Paver also received the overall championship trophy designed in Murano, Italy, by the artists at Orovetro Murano Company. This gorgeous piece of art is one-of-a-kind and was commissioned especially for the BBC, with the glass blue marlin atop a teak base created by Murray Products.
BBC President Jennifer Dudas presented personalised appreciation awards to the three teams that fished all four tournaments - Wave Paver, Ma Sheila and Island Time.
During the 2014 BBC series 85 billfish were released. Of those, 48 were blue marlin, 23 were white marlin and 14 were sailfish. All catches in BBC tournaments 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 BBC rules.
The BBC is the oldest billfish tournament series in the world and anglers can fish any or all of the tournaments with cumulative points determining the overall winner.
For information on the BBC, including results and tournament dates, and photo galleries of fishing in the Bahamas visit the BSFN (Bahamas Sport Fishing Network) page at tribune242.com or bsfn.biz.
Away from the competition yellowfin tuna are still biting. Geoff O’Connell and friends from Spanish Wells landed five yellowfin and one big blackfin from 30 to 65lbs off Shallow Ground, Eleuthera - it was flat calm and the fish were line shy as plenty more fish were spotted.
The full moon in June has brought in the mutton fish with hot spots in Bimini, West End, Sandy Point, Abaco and Andros with squid the key to success. Captain Trevor Rolle struck lucky.
Craig Eldon landed a sweet grouper while deep dropping near Green Cay, Nassau. Deep dropping has been popular for several weeks and is a fun way to relax and catch fish.