Gunsmoke Shoots to Victory in Los Sueños

Tarheel team wins overall series championship title

2018 Los Suenos Signature Triple Crown
Phil Arkin, Curtis White and Carlos Gonzalez celebrate victory in the third leg for the Gunsmoke team.© Los Sueños Resort and Marina / Pepper Ailor

Ask any successful tournament team and they will say persistence is an important ingredient in the recipe for a big win. Phil Arklin's Gunsmoke team has been fishing in the Los Sueños Signature Triple Crown since he built the 43-foot Maverick in 2010, and he will be the first to say that they have had their ups and downs on the leaderboard. However, this year it all came together for the team. Anglers Arkin, Curtis White and Carlos Gonzalez caught nearly all their bites and Warner Porras kept them in the fish over the course of the three-day event, thanks in part to a strong Day Three finish. For the tournament, they released 18 sailfish and four marlin.

Geaux Fly, another 43-foot Maverick, finished in second place this year. Capt. David Mesen and the family team of Will Drost, his father Mitch, daughter Annaleigh Richardson and new son-in-law Cullen Richardson fought hard this year, topping the standings on the first day of the event and remaining in contention for the win throughout the three-day tournament. They slipped to second but were understandably ecstatic with the finish, especially given the intense level of competition. They released 17 sailfish and four marlin.

Proving that a 90-footer can be just as competitive as the smaller boats, Capt. Tyler Andresen put the Jaruco team in third place overall; his team of anglers released 18 sails and two marlin in the tournament on the big Jarrett Bay. This is their first top three finish since they started fishing this event in 2015.

Capt. John Bayliss and his Tarheel team were crowned the overall series champions this year, accumulating a total of 10,600 points. Fishing aboard the 44-foot Scarborough/Bayliss, the team of Smyth McKissick, Rob Shore, Carroll Brizendine, Jorge Carrillo and John Bayliss Jr. deflected a late-day charge by Geaux Fly and several others for the $100,000 bonus prize awarded to the top team of the three-tournament series.

2018 Los Suenos Signature Triple Crown
Gunsmoke receives a Champagne shower upon returning to their slip in Los Sueños on the final day of the tournament.© Los Sueños Resort and Marina / Pepper Ailor
2018 Los Suenos Signature Triple Crown
The Drost family, all smiles with an incredible performance and a second-place finish in the highly competitive event.© Los Sueños Resort and Marina / Pepper Ailor
2018 Los Suenos Signature Triple Crown
Though they missed first place by just a few fish, the team was ecstatic to finish in the tournament's runner-up spot.© Los Sueños Resort and Marina / Pepper Ailor
2018 Los Suenos Signature Triple Crown
Fishing on the new 90-foot Jarrett Bay, the Jaruco team nailed down third place.© Los Sueños Resort and Marina / Pepper Ailor
2018 Los Suenos Signature Triple Crown
The team's celebration went on throughout the evening as their prizes were awarded.© Los Sueños Resort and Marina / Pepper Ailor
2018 Los Suenos Signature Triple Crown
Capt. John Bayliss led his Tarheel team to victory as the overall series champion team, earning the $100,000 bonus.© Los Sueños Resort and Marina / Pepper Ailor
2018 Los Suenos Signature Triple Crown
Tarheel heads out on the final day.© Los Sueños Resort and Marina / Pepper Ailor
2018 Los Suenos Signature Triple Crown
A look at Capt. Jon Duffie's Agitator, a top tournament and series champion team.© Los Sueños Resort and Marina / Pepper Ailor
2018 Los Suenos Signature Triple Crown
Ted Smith's Southern Pride heads to the slip after a day of fishing off Los Sueños.© Los Sueños Resort and Marina / Pepper Ailor
2018 Los Suenos Signature Triple Crown
Geaux Fly returns to port as the celebration begins.© Los Sueños Resort and Marina / Pepper Ailor
2018 Los Suenos Signature Triple Crown
A stunning fireworks show caps the evening's awards presentation.© Los Sueños Resort and Marina / Pepper Ailor