The Blue Marlin Grand Championship Tournament has a reputation of wowing the crowds every year, and this years Tournament did not disappoint.
Galati Yacht Sales were once again platinum sponsors for this event allowing us front row seats to cheer on our customers competing.
Galati Yacht Sales is always finding ways to get more involved with the Orange Beach tournament. Galati hosted their annual party at the Toby Keith bar inviting all owners and crew participating in the fishing tournament. It was a great turnout giving each of the boats an opportunity to mingle and enjoy dinner catered by Villagio and a live band. A fighting chair competition was set up inside the Toby Keith bar. The final winner was awarded with the opportunity to judge the Ms. Billfish pageant! A gambling station including Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, and Poker where set up as a fundraiser to raise money for St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital. A great kick off to the tournament!
J.J Tabor and his four buddies competed aboard a 37 Freeman Boatworks catamaran. Double J was an average 20 feet smaller than the other boats competing. J.J. and his team had planned to stick to fishing smaller game but when they crossed paths with a 716.6 lb. marlin they couldn’t resist. Fighting this monster for more than five hours, an even bigger challenge arose when it got to the center console, getting the colossal fish inside of the boat. Taking 30 minutes of scheming and maneuvering, the marlin was brought aboard by the four men and immediately iced down. With 300 miles to cover, the team rushed to the weigh-ins to make the 7 p.m. deadline.
Making it back to the Wharf with time to spare, the monster was hauled onto a cart and immediately jaws were dropping, cameras flashing, and people gasping. The weigh-in staff sprinted out with the cart and the crowd ran with them to the scale. The crowd of 15,000 roared with excitement as they gazed in awe at the beast that would win the tournament.
It was caught on 80-pound test line with a live blackfin tuna as bait. Over the long weekend, the team covered 891 miles of water in the open center console.
The larger vessels certainly made a statement as well. Caribe and owner/angler Larry Wireman outlasted a blue marlin that tipped the scales at 437.4 pounds after another five-hour battle. That fish was also caught on a live blackfin tuna.
“I just get in the chair,” Wireman says. “My crew deserves all the credit. That fight seemed like it lasted 10 years. It was the toughest fish I’ve ever caught. After we finally got it in, I had to go inside and take a nap.” Caribe’s fish was caught near the Noble Dan Croft oilrig in the central Gulf. Capt. Luke Crenshaw is the Caribe’s skipper.
Angler Jean Pierre Arceneaux on Colby Jean brought in the only other marlin weighed this year. It was caught in the Green Canyon and was landed after a three-hour fight. It weighed 335.2 pounds.
Black Tip, a 61 Buddy Davis from Key West, Florida, emerged triumphant with a 162-pound yellowfin. Sweet Beaver was a close second with a 155-pound fish, while the family team aboard Traders Hill made its mark on the leaderboard with one weighing 145.4 pounds.
Gotta Believe caught the top dolphin for 2015, a 41.8-pound gaffer. Quick Time lived up to its name with the second-place fish based on time, while You Never Know! came in third with an identical 34.2 pounds.
Only a handful of wahoo were brought in Saturday night. Blind Hog had the largest at 43.4 pounds, while the newly designated Gulf Legends awardee, Leon Edwards, fishing on his boat Lucky 2, took second and third-place with fish weighing 39 and 28.2 pounds.
A great group of boats and an even greater group of anglers called for another incredible fishing tournament in Orange Beach, Alabama.