2013 BMGC Ferrara
Orange Beach, Alabama — Two times is the lucky charm. The second-annual 2013 Blue Marlin Grand Championship, held at The Wharf Marina in Orange Beach, Alabama, not only broke two state marlin records but also featured some of the best fishing ever seen in the Gulf of Mexico. The event concluded Sunday as more than $1,035,000 in prize money was awarded during a breakfast ceremony sponsored by Spectrum Resorts at Baumhower’s Restaurant.
Angler and boat owner Chris Ferrara and his family team aboard Reel Fire were declared the 2013 Grand Champions. Ferrara shattered the former Alabama state record for blue marlin when he outlasted a fish weighing 845.8 pounds after a seven-hour fight. Ferrara’s fish eclipsed the old mark by 66 pounds. Team mate Ivan Duke also boated the second largest tuna caught at 165.2 pounds. The top tournament award and several optional cash categories earned the team an overall payout of $304,125. Capt. Mike Roberto runs the 60-foot Viking based in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Rising Sons, a 58 Viking owned and operated by Toby Berthelot, won the second-place team award and unofficial hard-luck honors when angler Jeremy Powers boated a blue weighing 789.8 pounds. His fish broke the 24-year-old Alabama blue marlin record for a brief time before it was toppled a couple hours later by Reel Fire‘s catch. That effort still earned the team $123,385 for the second-place tournament award and optional cash prizes.
Lady angler Laurie McVay, fishing aboard Reel Addiction, a 56 Viking run by Capt. Scooter Porto, won the third-place tournament award after she whipped a blue marlin weighing 722.2 pounds. Her catch earned owner and tournament co-director Rocky Jones a check for $65,590. McVay won a beautiful necklace sponsored by Be-Jeweled Jewelers after she was declared the Top Lady Angler. And as an added bonus, she also got engaged on the awards stage after Jones proposed and presented her with a ring.
Breathe Reel Deep, a 52 Ocean owned by Shawn Clemons, recorded a Gulf Grand Slam by catching and releasing a blue and white marlin, plus a sailfish in a single day. That accomplishment, combined with optional entries, earned Clemons and his family team a nice $70,245 payout.
Sherry Polk and Share-E won $12,500 for the fourth-place tournament award. Polk landed a 480.2-pound blue marlin to earn that prize.
Lucky 2 anglers Leon Edwards and Fred Dobbs combined to score the top dolphin (48 pounds) and wahoo (39 pounds), respectively, to pocket $24,525 in winnings.
Tuna killer Cory Racca, fishing aboard Badonkadonk, a 82 Viking, captured the biggest tuna of the week, a hefty 177-pound yellowfin. The optional prize money for that fish totaled $100,350. Capt. Jon Mitchel guided Racca to his winning catch.
A total of 23 boats in the 50-boat field earned checks during the event. Other top money winners included Rehab, First Choice, Tar Baby, High Cs, A Work of Art and Hooker.
Twelve-year-old Jansen Pellegrin, competing with his family aboard Caboom, put on an angling clinic for the adults. He released three white marlin and weighed a 115.8-pound tuna, two wahoo and a dolphin to earn a well-deserved Top Junior Angler title.
A total of 38 billfish were released during 2.5 days of fishing, including 12 blues, 23 whites and three sailfish or unidentified billfish. Catches were verified by video scoring and earned points based on the species. Hot boats included Crikey and Gandy Dancer (two blue marlin releases each), while Ramble On scored two whites and one blue marlin.
“Wow, what a fantastic event!” Tournament Director Scott Burt told the assembled teams. “We broke the state marlin record twice, witnessed an historic bite and awarded more than $1 million in prize money. It doesn’t get any better. But only until next year! Thank you for participating and thanks to all of our wonderful sponsors for making the Grand Championship possible.”
— Contact: Scott Burt, 850-527-2882