The third-annual Mongo Offshore Challenge wrapped up 2022 with what was another amazing season, proving that the contest’s new US East Coast division managed to attract more of the best in American big-game fishing, adding to the already successful Gulf of Mexico division of years past.
The 2022 Mongo leaderboard stayed active, with many late-season leader mix-ups and categories ending with narrow wins. The format is designed by competitors for competitors, and is intended to help level the playing field and attract more teams to compete by allowing teams to fish when they want and as often as they want. Regardless of weather or moon phase, this tournament adds excitement to those fun-fishing trips—making every leader, crimp, fight, and gaff shot matter.
Teams fishing the Mongo check out prior to departure by using the tournament’s mobile app, which allows the participants to view who is fishing in real time. Teams also use the app to score fish that meet the challenging minimum-size limits, which also happen to be the highest in the industry, enforcing the tournament’s credo: Let the small ones go so they can grow.
The 2022 fleet of 214 registered teams, with boats 21 to 92 feet, fished more than 3,200 anglers, collectively competing in more than 4,400 trips, which included fun-fishing and tournament days. Mongo participants strove to land the largest blue marlin, swordfish, tuna, wahoo and mahi of the season in their division, in an attempt to be named the heavyweight champs with prestigious awards that included a custom 40-inch trophy and their share of more than $500,000 in cash and $40,000 in sponsored prizes. The results are as follows:
Rising Son’s, Viking 58
- Blue Marlin, 785 pounds
- Winnings: $121,125
Rising Son’s, a 58-foot Viking out of Orange Beach, Alabama, weighed in a 785-pound blue marlin caught by angler Toby Berthelot during the Mobile Big Game Fishing Club’s Labor Day Invitational in September to win the team two tournaments with one fish. Berthelot’s fish also surged ahead of the 2021 Mongo winners, It Just Takes Time’s 763-pound blue marlin they weighed during the team’s three-in-a-row wins at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic in June.
Double Nickel, Fin Cat 40
- Swordfish, 260.5 pounds
- Winnings: $51,000
Capt. Nick Froelich was fun fishing out of Sarasota, Florida, on September 15 when he pulled into Marina Jack to weigh a 260.5-pound broadbill. With this fish, the Double Nickel team beat out Grace-C-Mae, which was holding on to the top spot since June with a near-250-pounder caught out of Destin, Florida.
Cajun Made, Bahama 41
- Yellowfin Tuna, 217.2 pounds
- Winnings: $70,125
The Fourchon, Louisiana, team Cajun Made, with Capt. Chris Moran at the helm, weighed a 217.2-pound yellowfin tuna on August 18 at Grand Isle, Louisiana’s Bridge Side Marina to take the lead from the 72-foot F&S Second Wind, which weighed in a 206-pound yellowfin during the Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic in June.
Intense, Contender 44
- Wahoo, 93.1 pounds
- Winnings: $44,200
The Mobile, Alabama-based Team Intense weighed a 93-plus-pound wahoo in September during the King Master tournament in Biloxi, Mississippi. Angler Andrew Montgomery’s fish beat out Double J’s 92.3-pound wahoo weighed at Hurricane Hole Marina in Grand Isle in June, making this the second year running that the Intense team won both the Mongo and King Master wahoo category with the same fish.
La Posada, Buddy Davis 47
- Mahi, 45.6 pounds
- Winnings: $58,650
On May 29, Capt. Drew Holk and angler Kellan Lewis were out fun fishing on La Posada out of Pensacola, Florida, when they weighed in a 45.6-pound mahi at Outcast Tackle and Marine in Pensacola. This big fish beat out many teams’ attempts to lead the mahi category, including Walk West, whose respectable 45.1-pound mahi was weighed in July.
East Coast Division
RoShamBo, Guthrie 65
- Swordfish, 393.8 pounds
- Winnings: $9,225
Capt. Willie Zimmerman put angler Jeff Jacobs on a five-plus-hour fight with what he knew to be a respectable fish while fun fishing out of Ocean City, Maryland, on September 21. The 393-plus-pounder set the new Maryland state record for the species to beat out the 2021 record sword, a 301-pounder set by angler Peter Schultz on July 23, 2021.
Scup Slayer, Viking 72
- Bigeye Tuna, 204 pounds
- Winnings: $8,925
Scup Slayer’s Capt. Rob Goodwin, angler Nicky Rhodes, and the team out of Massachusetts weighed in a 204-pound bigeye caught out of Cape Cod during the Oak Bluffs Bluewater Classic tournament in July, taking the first-place spot. The 66-foot Viking, C-Student, barely missed the top spot with their 203-pound fish.
Widespread, Crown Boatworks 51
- Mahi, 41.8 pounds
- Winnings: $25,625
Capt. Jay Watson’s Widespread team, along with angler Kristen Wiles, were fishing out of Oregon Inlet Fishing Center in Nags Head, North Carolina, when they landed a 41-plus-pound mahi in early May. The fish stayed on top of the leaderboard for the duration of the season. Outnumbered, a 37-foot Freeman Boatworks, took the second-place spot with a 40.8-pound fish weighed at Toler’s Cove Marina in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.
The Mongo Offshore board of directors will add the Hawaiian Islands as a third regional division, and will expand the East Coast division to include all of South Florida and the Florida Keys for 2023. All three divisions will follow the same successful format as 2022, with fishing beginning on May 1 and ending on September 30.
Registration is now open for the 2023 season at mongooffshore.com.