Reel Lax Wins 2017 Bermuda Billfish Blast | Marlin Magazine

Bermuda Billfish Blast Falls to Reel Lax

The event featured a record cash purse of $370,000 plus prizes and trophies

2017 bermuda billfish blast reel lax first place team

The Reel Lax team, winners of the 2017 Bermuda Billfish Blast.

Courtesy Michelle Makmann / Out Your Front Door

In the world of high-stakes tournament fishing, it’s important but not essential that a team get off to a strong start. In the 2017 Bermuda Billfish Blast, Capt. James Barnes and the Reel Lax team had only a single release – a spearfish worth just 100 points – on the first day of the tournament. They rebounded nicely on the second day though, with three blue marlin and two white marlin to vault into the lead. And while they wouldn’t release a billfish on Day Three, their 2,100 points would be enough to earn them first place and $170,400, a tournament record first-place cash award.Reel Lax owner Lester Petracca, mates Michael Mason and Simon Carosi and anglers Chris Petracca, Danny Fox and Hamish Burns also earned an invitation to participate in the 2018 Offshore World Championship. The Reel Lax is a 61-foot Garlington.

2017 bermuda billfish blast kanaloa second place team

Capt. Nick Garnsey made the most of the tournament and helped put Kanaloa into second place.

Courtesy Michelle Makmann / Out Your Front Door

First-time Bermuda visitor Capt. Nick Garnsey and the Esposito family on Kanaloa enjoyed their time on the island as well. The team released four blue marlin to finish in second place with 2,000 points, good for $115,320.

In third was the familiar team of Frank and Mary Ellen Rodriguez on Fa-La-Me, a 92-foot Viking. Capt. Rob Moore and mates Taylor and Tyler Beckford put the team in the money with two blue marlin and five white marlin, worth $48,400. Frank Rodriguez also sponsored an IGFA satellite tag, which they deployed on one of their blue marlin.

Parke Berolzheimer on Reel Addiction was the event’s top angler with three blue marlin releases, while Laura Russell was the top lady with a blue and a white aboard No Vacancy. The 44 participating teams released a total of 51 blue marlin, 36 white marlin and two spearfish during the three-day tournament.

2017 bermuda billfish blast fa la me third place team

Always a fun-loving team in any tournament, Frank and Mary Ellen Rodriguez had another great trip to Bermuda this year.

Courtesy Michelle Makmann / Out Your Front Door

2017 bermuda billfish blast reel lax first place boat

Reel Lax idles out on Day Two of the tournament.

Courtesy Michelle Makmann / Out Your Front Door

2017 bermuda billfish blast kanaloa garlington

Kanaloa heads for open water.

Courtesy Michelle Makmann / Out Your Front Door

2017 bermuda billfish blast fa la me 92 viking

At 92 feet, Fa-La-Me was one of the largest boats in this year's fleet.

Courtesy Michelle Makmann / Out Your Front Door

2017 bermuda billfish blast parke berolzheimer top angler

Parke Berolzheimer, right, was the top angler.

Courtesy Michelle Makmann / Out Your Front Door

2017 bermuda billfish blast laura russell top lady angler

Laura Russell was the event's top lady angler.

Courtesy Michelle Makmann / Out Your Front Door

2017 bermuda billfish blast junior anglers

The tournament's top junior anglers.

Courtesy Michelle Makmann / Out Your Front Door

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