2015 Lone Star Shootout

August 31st, 2015

REHAB Blue Marlin Release1 2015 Lone Star Shootout

Lone Star Shootout champions, Team REHAB with a 412.5 pound blue marlin.


By Dawn Messina

The Lone Star Shootout, formally The Houston Invitational Billfish Tournament, started in Galveston in 2005 as a function of The Houston Big Game Fishing Club. It was moved to Freeport in 2007 and six years ago, again moved to Port O’Connor a location that has proven to successfully attract bigger participation.  The Lone Star Shootout provides serious funds for the Houston Big Game Fishing Club’s charitable programs, supporting college scholarships and other programs relating to fishing, boat safety and Warrior’s Weekend.

To date HBGFC, due in large part to the funds raised at the Shootout and with the support of its members and corporate sponsors, has funded over $150,000 in scholarship money.

The tournament was held July 22-27, following the week of Poco Bueno at Port O’Connor’s Caracol Coastal Development. Most of the boats that fished Poco also participated in the Lone Star Shootout. However, captains and crew members may change, fishing a different boat from the previous tourney.

The tournament concludes with an awards party, remembered and talked about each and every year for great food, entertainment and fellowship. Prizes are awarded for billfish, wahoo, tuna and dolphin.  The Perpetual Champion’s Trophy is the prized possession of each year’s champion and has become one of the most sought after trophies on the Gulf Coast tournament trail.

I found the Lone Star Shootout to be the most fun to attend. It’s smaller than Poco Bueno, but still offers the opportunity to compete against some of the best billfish teams in the U.S. and a chance to win big money. The Shootout has one of the largest payouts of any tournament in the western Gulf with a billfish release format.

The action started off hot on day one and kept going to the last minute of fishing with no less than ten boats reporting at least two marlin releases. After all the boats were in, videos reviewed and paperwork confirmed, the field had caught a record total of 98 billfish! The totals were 35 blue marlin, 30 white marlin and 33 sailfish.

The Lone Star Shootout had 52 participating boats this year, offering optional side pot betting instead of a Calcutta. These side pots pay out 95 percent of the total amount entered and the remaining 5 percent of the total will is donated to HBGFC Charitable and Scholarship Funds. Optional side pots include billfish release pots in the amounts of $5,000, $2,500, $1,000, and $500, daily pots of $500; gamefish pots, including weighed blue marlin pots of $3,000, $2,000, $1,000 and $500; a winner-take-all pot of $2,500 for total tournament points and a crew side pot in the amount of $400. This year’s total was a whopping $965,900! The Houston Big Game Fishing Club received $48,295 for their charitable fund.

The tournament also featured a $1 million reward for a state record blue marlin! To qualify for this reward, the fish must be certified by the State of Texas and caught according to all tournament rules and any other rules as specified in the $1 million reward rules published and provided to participants prior to the fishing days. Wow! Now we’re talking!

The point system employed during the tourney awards any released blue marlin 750 points for both the release side pots and for total score. Weighed blue marlin will count one point per pound for weighed blue marlin side pots and 750 points each for the total points scored. Released white marlin score 200 points and sailfish 100 points. Scoring for the overall tournament points will consist of total billfish release points, plus 750 points for each weighed blue marlin meeting the tournament minimum length of 102 inches.

lonestar 2015 Lone Star Shootout

The Shootout was well attended this year.

There was one aspect of the event I found interesting, that I never really understood until a good friend, Mark Phillips explained it. There is the “meat pot” and the “biggest fish pot,” meaning a boat can come in with the biggest fish and not win the big money depending on which side pot they bought into! They win a beautiful trophy and bragging rights but not necessarily money. Betting on the “meat pot” is very expensive but provides opportunity for a nice payout. So it’s kind of, “put your money where your mouth is” so to speak! It can be $40,000 and up depending on across-the-board betting for one boat and all species of tournament fish caught during the tournament.

Congratulations to the Lone Star Shootout Champion team REHAB, who scored 2,450 points with two blue marlin releases, two sailfish releases and weighed a 412.5-pound blue marlin on day one of fishing. REHAB is owned by Jasen Gast and captained by Troy Day.

Revisiting The Legacy’s Blue Marlin State Record

May 1st, 2015

legacybluemarlinrecord Revisiting The Legacys Blue Marlin State Record

Capt. Kevin Deerman and the crew of the Legacy celebrate their record breaking blue marlin caught during the 2014 Bastante John Uhr Memorial Billfish Tournament. The Rockport Aquarium plans to display a full body mount of this record breaking fish. The mount will be a permanent part of the Aquarium and the dedication ceremony will be held during this year’s Bastante Tournament.

legacybluemarlin1 Revisiting The Legacys Blue Marlin State Record

The crew of the Legacy prepares the marlin for the scales.

By Amanda Jenkins

On July 11, 2014, Kevin Deerman and his eight-man crew caught a blue marlin off the coast of Port Aransas that broke the Texas record,. Deerman, 50, of Galveston, was leading the crew in a 56’ Viking named “Legacy.” The crew included: George Gartner, the owner of the private boat, Michael Fitzpatrick, Ruben Ramos, Colin Ocker, Jeff Owen, Richard Richardson and Cameron Plaag.

The Legacy departed out of Port Aransas around 6 p.m., after waiting for some thunderstorms to pass.

“We were fishing the Bastante John UHR Memorial Billfish Tournament that we had registered for in Rockport the previous day,” says Deerman, “We ran about 130 miles out to the Hoover Diana Spar and started catching bait around 6 a.m.” After gathering a surplus of live tuna to attract the fish, the team started their journey around 6:45 a.m.

After the thunderstorms from the previous night passed through, the weather conditions were perfect for the day of the record catch. That morning was overcast, the water was calm, and there was no wind. The crew was only fishing for about 15 minutes after catching bait when they got the blue marlin to bite. “As soon as we had the fish situated in the cockpit we headed to the dock so we didn’t catch anything else other than bait,” says Deerman.

“We had the bite at 6:58 and it took another 40 minutes to get the fish in the boat before we could make the run back to the weigh station in Rockport,” explains Deerman. The team used their Shimano 130 Tiagra reels and Shimano 130 class rods to reel in the marlin. The line was 130 pounds IGFA Amilon.

It was truly a team effort and took the crew about 17 minutes to fight the marlin before they got her to the boat. Gartner, Fitzpatrick, Ramos and Ocker got the first gaff in the fish, and Owen was able to get a second gaff in. Richardson acted as the angler and “put a lot of heat on the fish,” the captain says. “At one point when the fish went down, he was as close to 60 pounds of drag.” Plaag was Deerman’s mate and wireman on the boat.

Once they got to the weigh station, the crew saw that they broke the record with an enormous 972.7 pounds (137.5” long) blue marlin.  The previous state record weighed 876.5 pounds and was caught on August 20, 1988 off the coast of South Padre Island.

The captain of the Legacy and his crew have many years of experience fishing. Deerman has been fishing in offshore waters most of his life and had his first captains job in 1986 when he received an offer to take a boat to the Bahamas. He has since spent about 15 years fishing in Mexico, Florida, Panama, Costa Rica and Texas. When he fishes for billfish in Texas it’s usually in tournaments.

Cameron Plaag or his father James Plaag always accompanies the captain on his fishing excursions.  “James spends more time on the bay than he does on land,” says Deerman, “I love any kind of fishing. When you catch a nice fish or a good number of species that you are targeting it’s all good, but my favorite fish to catch will always be the blue marlin!”