Fishing the Bermuda Triple Crown

A summer-tournament highlight gets even better in 2023
A fleet of sport-fishing boats head out to sea in Bermuda.
The fleet heads to sea on the first day of the Bermuda Big Game Classic. Courtesy Out Your Front Door

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Ah, Bermuda. It’s nearly impossible to have a bad time when visiting this beautiful, serenely peaceful island. Perhaps it’s due to the location, some 600 miles east of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and essentially Middle of Nowhere, Atlantic Ocean. Maybe it’s the laid-back island vibe, or the relatively high per-capita income level of the 65,000 or so full-time local residents—a nod to its historic ties as a hub of international finance and investment banking.

Or it could be the ­marlin fishing. Let’s be more specific—the big blue marlin fishing. According to Grander Watch, there have been 19 Atlantic blues weighing more than 1,000 pounds put on the scale in Bermuda in modern times. The winner of the worldwide Blue Marlin World Cup has come from those storied waters eight times since 1985; only Kona has had more winners at nine, and usually with a much larger fleet fishing there. So, what makes it so productive? As with nearly every other big-blue fishery on the planet, it’s a combination of bait and structure, and Bermuda has plenty of both.

A team of sport-fishers at the Bermuda Triple Crown awards ceremony.
The Sea Striker team, led by boat owner Adrian Holler (center) won the 2022 Bermuda Triple Crown with 12 blue marlin and two white marlin caught in nine days of tournament fishing. Courtesy Out Your Front Door

This ­summer, the 19th anniversary of the storied Bermuda Triple Crown tournament series celebrates the finest in competition in one of the sport’s top destinations. The event, the Bermuda Billfish Blast, is slated for July 3-7 and gives participating teams the opportunity to fish the Blue Marlin World Cup as well. July 9-11 is the Bermuda Billfish Release Cup (not part of the BTC series), a laid-back, friendly competition that’s perfect for visiting friends and family. The largest event of the series is the Bermuda Big Game Classic on July 13-17, with everything wrapping up with the Sea Horse Anglers Club Billfish Tournament, July 20-24. There is no additional entry fee to participate in the Triple Crown.

Experience counts in Bermudian waters. Just ask Adrian Holler and his team on Sea Striker, the 2022 Triple Crown winners. Fishing aboard a 61-foot Jarrett Bay based out of Morehead City, North Carolina, Holler and his team have been coming to Bermuda for many years and put that time on the local waters to good use. They started strong by releasing three blues and a white ­marlin during the Billfish Blast, placing second in the tournament. Sea Striker’s run of consistent fishing continued, adding three blue marlin releases during the Big Game Classic and moving them to the series leader position with 3,100 points heading into the final leg. They ­continued to be at the top of their game during the Sea Horse Anglers Club Billfish Tournament, putting the finishing touches on an epic ­season by releasing six blues and one white ­marlin to earn first-place team honors in the ­tournament. Sea Striker’s tally of 6,200 points from 12 blues and two white marlin releases for their anglers—Rom Whitaker, Christian Bedsworth, Dave Pfeiffer, Curtis Struyk, Robbie Terry and Jim Sears—gave them the Triple Crown win, as well as $203,000 in prize money for their ­accomplishments over the series of tournaments.

A team of fishers in heavy fishing mode on the open ocean.
These waters offer some of the best heavy-tackle blue marlin fishing in the world. Richard Gibson

Speaking of prize money, one change for 2023 is in the structure of the optional jackpots, including the addition of several winner-take-all big-fish options that will give those who are interested the opportunity to win significantly more money. It could mean that this year’s teams will break all records for cash awards in this popular summer series. And these jackpots are also optional, so teams can enter as many or as few levels as they feel comfortable in participating.

Read Next: Check out more on Bermuda’s storied blue marlin fishery.

A total of 43 teams fished at least one leg of the 2022 Bermuda Triple Crown, ­competing for more than $1.1 million in cash. Over the course of nine days of competitive ­fishing, the fleet recorded 263 billfish releases, ­including 190 blue marlin, 70 white ­marlin and three spearfish. Six qualifying marlin over the ­500-pound minimum were boated, with the locals on Paradise One weighing the ­largest of the series at 713 pounds during the Bermuda Big Game Classic.

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