Like most of the teams Captain Chris Zaskey and Mate Greg Hopkins on Devine Intervention were experiencing a slow first day of fishing (July 9-13), but that all changed when owner Mary Widmer hooked a blue at 2:49 pm with the release coming at 3:40 pm. As the lines went back out, another blue ate at 3:40 with Jack Widmer doing the angling this time. The release came at 4:12 pm giving Devine Intervention the Daily Release Jackpot and the lead in the tournament. After a blank on day two, things happened right away on the third and final day of fishing with Jon Widmer hooking up at 8:24 pm with the release coming at 8:44 am. The release brought Devine Intervention to 1500-points which proved just enough for the win making for a very special tournament for the Widmer family.
Team Devine Intervention including Jack Widmer, Mary Widmer, John Widmer , Barbara Widmer, Captain Chris Zaskey, mate Gregory Hopkins and Richy Lucas took the Bermuda Tourism Authority First Place Team, Atlantic Water Development Day one Release Jackpot , First Place Argo Group Overall Billfish Release Points Jackpot and Garmin $5,000 bonus for using Garmin fix mounted electronics earning a total of $105,200 and an invitation to the Offshore World Championship. The team received King Sailfish Mounts Trophies, Costa Sunglasses, Steve Gione artwork, Geoffrey Smith sculpture, custom Vanmark tournament gold and silver pendants, custom Release Marine Step Box, Garmin Virb camera, Bacardi Spirits, 15 gallons of Pettit Paint, a Tycoon Tackle Custom rod and Artic Ice Chillin Brew singles.
For Shake Down captain Eugene Barnes of St. Davids, Bermuda and angler Edward Barnes of Smiths, Bermuda the 2015 Bermuda Big Game Classic will always provide a special memory. At 10:16 am on the first day of fishing the hook up was reported with Edward Barnes in the chair doing battle from the 35-foot Bruno. After a one hour fight, the fish was along-side and the call was made to take the fish. With no transom door the fish had to be manhandled over the gunnel but fortunately the team possessed over 1,000-pounds of manpower and a lobster pot wench to get the job done. Once on board, they headed for the scales at Barr’s Bay Park to a growing crowd of spectators. The fish weighed it at 741-pounds which turned out to be the largest fish of the event. Team Shake Down including Captain Eugene Barnes, mate Minch Rawlins, Kevin Barnes, Mark Mitchell, Laureno Lima, Richard Vesely and Edward Barnes won the Bacardi Day One Marlin Jackpot and the CAT Engines Largest Marlin Jackpot for total winnings of $131,400. As they say in Bermuda “beware the lobster boats”!
Team Big Deal had a great showing in their first Bermuda event winning the Miles Market Second Place Team award, Second Place Argo Group Overall Billfish Release Points Jackpot, and Marlin Magazine Manufacturer’s Cup winner for Spencer Yachts with 1200-points from two blues and a white. Owner Ed Russo caught a blue on the first day and a white on the second day with angler Mike Pembroke also catching a blue on day two. Captain Brian Rabbitt, Mate Ben Zafir, Mike Pembroke, Ed Russo, Kim Pembroke, Larry Russo, Shalom Russo, and Daniel Davis earned $61,120, King Sailfish Mounts Trophies, Costa Sunglasses, Steve Gione artwork, Garmin Virb camera, Bacardi Spirits and 15 gallons of Pettit Paint.
Team Hit N Run also earned 1200-points from two blues and a white with owner and angler, Laura Russell, catching all three fish in the tournament. Captain Cory Gillespie, mate Mike Walsh, owner Byron Russell, K.J. Zeher and Oskie Rice on Hit N Run took the Garmin Third Place Team award, Argo Group Overall Billfish Release Points Jackpot Third Place Team Earning $28,880, King Sailfish Mounts Trophies, Costa Sunglasses, Steve Gione artwork, Garmin Virb camera, Bacardi Spirits and 15 gallons of Pettit Paint. Laura Russell received trophies and prizes for winning the Ocean Blue Graphics Top Lady angler and PW Marina High point angler of the tournament. Pretty work Laura!
Other teams winning big included Plane Simple led by owner Jim Jensen with Captain Jimmy Werling at the helm and mate Noah Beaman on the deck. On day two Jensen hooked up at 8:31 am with a blue. At 9:58, the call came from Werling the fish was on board, and they were headed to the scales. The fish, which came up tail wrapped made the mark weighing 540-pounds to take the Bacardi Day two Marlin Jackpot earning $34,200 for the team including Jim Jensen, Captain Jimmy Werling, mate Noah Beaman, Ryan Beal, Robyn Barth and Gerry Connell.
In the Butterfield & Vallis Optional Daily Billfish Release Jackpots, team Reel Addiction won the Island Construction Day Two daily catching two blue marlin winning Captain Cragin Curtis, Mate Mark Terceira, anglers Forster Darling, Gregory Larcher, Wylie Johnson, Jamie Todd, Carter Firth and Jonathan Reiss the $22,200 daily. Team Callie Girl took the King Sailfish Mounts Day three Billfish Release Jackpot with a blue and white release. Captain Gregg Middleton, mate Jonathan Oglesby, owner Casey Robinson, Cliff Spencer, Wade Willard, Danny Willard and Callie Ann Robinson also won $22,200. Team Sea Striker won the Fairmont Hamilton Princess Largest Gamefish award with a 161.3 tuna caught by Adrian L. Holler winning $5,800.
The 15th Anniversary Big Game Classic continued its many traditions and parties including the first day boat parade led by Captain Allen De Silva on Mako, the morning fleet blessing that was given by Randy Ramsey this year, Bacardi Spirit’s open bar, a mid-week BBQ at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, awards night cocktail reception at Bacardi’s International building, awards banquet dinner in the Hamilton Princess ballroom and after party on the dock featuring Hamish’s Burns band.