Thomas Turner’s You Never Know! team entered the Blue Marlin Grand Championship looking for big things to happen, and happen they did. Angler Josh Goodson battled an 806.8-pound blue marlin on the first day of fishing, and while the blue wasn’t quite large enough to break the Alabama state record, it was enough to clinch first place and a lion’s share of the record $1.4 million tournament purse, winning $365,175 for their efforts. Capt. Joey Birbeck skippers You Never Know!, a 72 F&S based in Miramar, Florida.
Pour Intentions, a Destin-based 56 Viking, was the second-place boat. Angler Andrew Smoker boated a blue marlin weighing 455.6 pounds and the boat also released two blues to earn 810 points and third place in the release division. Owner Sean Ely and his team took home $191,190 in tournament and optional entry prize money. Sherry Polk, led by Capt. Mike Roberto on the new 72 Viking Share-E, won $91,110 for her 652.8-pound blue. That fish was good for third place and the Top Lady Angler title for Polk. Capt. Jeff Shoultz and the Mollie team took the fourth and final spot on the 2016 leaderboard with a 666.4-pound blue marlin.
Conundrum was the top release team, with three blue marlin and one white marlin let go for the tournament. Conundrum owner Dan Haeuser and Capt. Jimmy Crochet agreed that all three of the team’s blues were over the tournament minimums but elected to release them instead. Lisa Jo, owned by Michael Lovett and run by Logan Lovett, had good karma after winning the 61st tournament entry in the St. Jude Charity Auction. The Lisa Jo team released two blues and a white marlin to take second place. Pour Intentions edged out Done Deal based on time for third and fourth places, respectively. A total of 22 blue marlin, 23 white marlin and one sailfish were scored during the 2016 event.