The 2013 Cajun Canyons Billfish Classic is now in the record books. Facing a nasty offshore forecast for our scheduled departure afternoon of Thursday, May 30, a total of 31 sport fishing yachts, ranging in length from 35 to 76 feet, fished for a total purse of $459,000.
Tuesday, May 28, our festivities started with our Dock Party, hosted by Rene Cross and the staff of Cypress Cove Marina & Lodge, along with the Island Bar & Grill. Everyone enjoyed the wonderful food, including the barbecued chicken, jambalaya, cole slaw, and baked beans. Hats off to Rene and Brad for a wonderful spread.
Wednesday, May 29, was our Official Registration Day along with “let’s keep an eye on the forecast.” Registration started at 2 p.m., but when the 4 p.m. marine forecast appeared, we made the call to push back our departure and fishing days for the safety of our participants. Our Captains Meeting and Kick-Off Party, sponsored by the good people of LeBeouf Brothers Towing, started at 7 p.m. with the announcement that boats will depart Friday, May 31, at 8 a.m. and now return, Sunday, June 2, at 2 p.m., extending our normal fishing hours with a better forecast than our original Thursday afternoon departure. Those wonderful people from Acme Oyster House out did themselves again for our Kick-Off Party with boiled shrimp, fried shrimp, gumbo, fried and raw oysters, red beans & rice, all the trimmings and of course, their world famous bread pudding. Most everyone enjoyed themselves, possibly a little too much, knowing they were not leaving the dock the next day!
Thursday, May 30, everyone enjoyed our TABASCO Bloody Mary Hangover Clinic prior to our final Optional Entries deadline of 1 p.m. Father Jerry of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Port Sulphur continued that fine Louisiana tradition of “the blessing of the fleet” mid-afternoon Thursday, while everyone was still preparing for the new Friday morning departure.
At 8 a.m. on Friday morning, May 31, and the were off with lines in the water immediately, only to find the fishing somewhat slow. Late Friday afternoon both C-Ya and Reel Worthless called in blue marlin releases, with the radio being rather quiet.
Saturday morning, the bite improved with multiple boats calling in both hook ups and releases. Then, Done Deal called in to report a boated blue marlin measuring 102 inches, but was over 100 miles offshore. They made the decision to keep fishing for releases and called in a released blue marlin at 10:22 a.m., then started the long journey back to Venice. Done Deal arrived at the docks of Cypress Cove Marina & Lodge at 5:45 p.m. flying both a blue marlin release flag and an upside down blue marlin flag.
Their fish measured 101.25 inches and weighed 372.4 pounds and the champagne started flowing while they refueled.
Sunday morning was slow on the radio, until boats starting arriving for the scales to open at 12 noon. We saw some nice fish at the scales and heard many fish stories about the one that got away, but Done Deal's 372.4-pound blue marlin was the only blue marlin boated, giving them a payout of $185,850.
Our Tag/Release division, sponsored by our friends at Release Marine, was won by Team Smooth Finish , a 54’ Bertram, led by owner/angler Brad Aery out of Rockport, Texas, with two blue marlin releases and one white marlin release. Team C-Ya, a 65-foot Blackwell, led by owner/angler Joel Broussard, fishing out of Grand Isle, Louisiana, finished in second place on time with two blue marlin releases, followed by Team Done Deal, a 56-foot Viking fishing out of Houma, Louisiana, that finished in third place with two blue marlin releases. Our Tag/Release winners all received gorgeous, custom-inlayed teak step boxes, compliments of founding Sponsor Release Marine (thanks Sam and Melissa).
Our Dolphin division was won by Sydney Turner, fishing on her dad’s 72-foot F&S custom yacht, You Never Know!, with a 34.8-pound dolphin. Team Reel Worthless, a 64-foot Viking, led by owner/angler Johnny Johnson, based in Brandon, Mississippi, took second place with a 33.5-pound dolphin. Third-place dolphin went to Team Miss Remy, a 60-foot Carolina Sportsman, fishing out of Venice, Louisiana, with angler Manning McPhillips and owner Rene Cross, weighing in at 31.9 pounds.
Our Tuna division was won by Team C-Ya, with angler Chris Callahan weighing in a nice 151.2-pound yellowfin tuna. Second-place tuna went to Team Tico Time, a 65-foot Hatteras out of Rockport, Texas, with owner/angler Dennis Wilkerson weighing in at 140.5 pounds. Third-place tuna went to Team Conundrum, a 61-foot Viking based in Orange Beach, Alabama, with angler Kenny McMaster weighing in at 138.7 pounds.
Our Top Female Angler Trophy, sponsored by Maui Jim Sunglasses, went to Sydney Turner fishing on You Never Know!
Sydney weighed in three dolphin, 34.8 pounds, 29.3 pounds and 25.6 pounds, along with a 38.6-pound wahoo and a 72-pound yellowfin tuna. She was awarded a custom trophy, a Maui Jim gift bag complete with a Top Female Angler robe, assorted gifts from comefishla.com and Professional Sports Shop, along with a gift certificate for a pair of Maui Jim sunglasses.
Our Top Youth Angler was 12-year-old Jansen Pellegrin, fishing on his dad's 45-foot Cabo, Caboom, out of Cocodrie, Louisiana. Jansen caught a 25.2-pound dolphin and a 31.7-pound yellowfin tuna. Young Jansen was awarded the Jim Peachy Memorial Trophy as our top Youth Angler.
Team Done Deal was awarded the C.R. Bob Potter Memorial Trophy as our Top Boat with 1,572 billfish points. Team Done Deal also received an invitation to fish the Offshore World Championship as the Cajun Canyons is a qualifying event for the World Championship. The combination of the weighed blue marlin and third place in Tag/Release will surely boost Team Done Deal’s standing in the Gulf Coast Triple Crown Series.
Continuing our tradition of “taking care of the working captains,” our winning captains were awarded gift bags with numerous gifts from comefishla.com, along with a TABASCO gift bucket.
When all was said and done, we ended up with 8 blue marlin releases, four white marlin releases and one blue marlin at the scales. We want to take this opportunity to thank ALL our participants and especially our loyal sponsors, the Best of the Best; please support them as they truly offer the finest products and services available. In closing, we hope to see all of you again next year the weekend after Memorial Day. THANKS!