With a rare grand slam—blue marlin, white marlin and sailfish—the Jichi team put on a clinic of how to win a tournament during the 2021 Jimmy Johnson National Billfish Championship, which was held March 2-6, 2021.
Watch: Learn to rig a swimming mackerel here.
Jimmy Johnson’s Quest for the Ring Championship Fishing Week features a week of competitive fishing across South Florida, consisting of the National Billfish Championship and the one-day Celebrity Pro-Am. A highlight of the South Florida billfish tournament season, this week of events has something for everyone, as top anglers join together for what is always a good time with guaranteed prize money.
With fishing options available from Jupiter to Islamorada, the South Florida fishing community came together for a safe and responsible tournament featuring socially distant events throughout the week and a tournament-record-breaking 751 releases by the 76 teams in two days of fishing from four official locations: Ocean Reef Club, Miami Beach Marina, Bahia Mar and Sailfish Marina.
The guaranteed payout for the Billfish Championship is a hybrid—annually guaranteed at $1 million, with additional cash based on boat entries; this year, an additional $145,000 was paid out. Big winners this year were owner and captain Luis Isaias, along with anglers Albert Castro, Chris Gallaraga, Cap Hinkley, Jess Kunkel, Victor Paneda, Orlando Puente, Ricky Querejeta, Alex Vasquez and Manual Vidal, fishing aboard the 46-foot Jarrett Bay Jichi.
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They scored 26 billfish releases, including a grand slam, to bring home a total of $266,500, and entrance into Jimmy Johnson’s prestigious Ring of Honor. In second place with 24 releases was another familiar name: Capt. Art Sapp’s Native Son. They won $203,000 for their efforts in the tournament; hellREYzer was third: Owner Rey Acosta’s team tallied 19 releases, good for $73,750.