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.
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.