Cape Verde Produces 2024 Blue Marlin World Cup Champion

Dogs Bollocks secures $1.27 million prize among 162 boats fishing in five countries
The Dogs Bollocks team standing on a dock weigh-in station, standing around a marlin strung up.
Ron Kawaja (far right), angler and founder of PELAGIC, poses with Captain Stuart Simpson and the crew of Dogs Bollocks after weighing their tournament-winning fish in Cape Verde. Photo Courtesy of Blue Marlin World Cup

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The 2024 Blue Marlin World Cup had no shortage of fireworks with 162 boats from five countries competing on July 4, 2024, for the prestigious title and the $1.27 million payout.

Each year, top billfish teams and anglers gather in the world’s best blue marlin destinations for a chance to land the biggest fish in this unique one-day tournament. Teams are allowed to fish for any eight-hour period in their respective time zones, with a minimum qualifying weight of 500 pounds. The heaviest blue marlin wins, as there are no second or third place categories. This winner-take-all format not only benefits the winning team with a higher payout but also helps to reduce the number of fish harvested.  

In the days leading up to the tournament, social media buzzed with reports from teams pre-fishing in the perennial hotspots like the Azores, Bermuda, Cape Verde, the Gulf of Mexico, Hawaii, and Madeira. Any of these locations could have produced the winning fish.  

Madeira reported first, with Sorted weighing in a fish at 557 pounds, setting the initial benchmark. Shortly after, Capt. Stuart Simpson on the Dogs Bollocks from Cape Verde reported boating a large marlin estimated around 800 pounds. However, rather than immediately running in for than official weight, they decided to continue fishing, building anticipation as the day unfolded.

Bermuda led the fleet with 49 participating boats in the 2024 Blue Marlin World Cup, many of which were also participating in the Bermuda Billfish Blast which took place simultaneously. Debaitable was the first to report from Bermuda, weighing in a 636-pound fish. Several hours later, Big Deal hooked a blue marlin late in the day, and eventually boated and weighed the 673-pound fish after a three-hour battle.

However, the news coming out of Bermuda was quickly overshadowed by the official weight from Dogs Bollocks’ fish coming in at 845 pounds, comfortably taking the top spot.   

As fishing concluded in the eastern Atlantic, Bermuda, and the Gulf of Mexico, attention turned to Hawaii and French Polynesia for the final eight-hour “leg” of the tournament. Yet despite the incredible fishing experienced off Kona in recent months, the renowned hotspot failed to produce a qualifying fish in the 2024 Blue Marlin World Cup.

At 10:30 pm EST, the call for “lines out” was made in Hawaii, officially securing the victory for Dogs Bollocks and their 845-pound blue marlin in the 2024 Blue Marlin World Cup.

Read Next: An Inside Look at Cape Verde’s Blue Marlin Fishery.

“For the months leading up to this tournament, I get to interact with some of the best billfishing teams in the world,” said Blue Marlin World Cup Tournament Director, Fly Navarro. “It’s like Christmas in July for me and I love every second of it. Congratulations to Dogs Bollocks on an incredible fish and victory, thank you to all teams that participated, and we’ll see you again in 2025.” 

Ron Kawaja, the winning angler and founder of PELAGIC, fought the winning fish for roughly two hours after it struck the Bonze Viper. The impressive catch further solidifies Cape Verde as a premier destination to target the world’s largest blue marlin.  

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