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2019 Texas Billfish Classic to be the best yet

June 29th, 2019

tbc draggin up 2019 Texas Billfish Classic to be the best yet

The TBC continues to live up to its name as the fastest growing billfish tournament in Texas

By Brandon Rowan

In its fourth year of bringing highly competitive billfishing back to Freeport, the Texas Billfish Classic continues to grow, with the 2019 tournament promising to be the largest one yet.

Usually an August tournament, the Texas Billfish Classic changed dates to July 16-20 by popular demand. With the unfortunate cancellation and indefinite hiatus of Poco Bueno, many of the Gulf’s best fishing teams were still ready and hungry to fish those dates.

Those teams who have never fished the TBC are in for a treat. Tournament director Jasen Gast and staff produce one of the most popular and enjoyable tournament formats on the Texas Gulf Coast. Many participants appreciate the start time, which allows boats to leave during the day and avoid dangerous runs at night. The camaraderie of the kick off party, a spirited weigh-in and awards dinner are well known and anticipated events of the tournament.

Fishing was smoking hot last year. Draggin’ Up set a new tournament record by weighing a 514-pound blue marlin. The competition for tuna was tight with Smoker II’s first place fish weighing 93 pounds and $ea Dollar$’s 90-pound tuna nabbing second place.

“But one of the biggest success stories of the TBC is not the fishing, but what we are able to do on land,” Tournament Director Jasen Gast said.

The tournament works closely with three charities; the Billfish Foundation, the Freeport to Port O’Connor Toy Run and the Freedom Alliance, and has donated thousands to charity over the years. The 2018 Awards Banquet ended with Jasen and the Freedom Alliance’s Pepper Ailor presenting a donated all-terrain wheelchair to veteran Jacob De La Garza, who lost his leg in Afghanistan.

Don’t miss one of the year’s best tournaments and come on down to Freeport. The general public is invited and welcome to join the weigh-in.

For information on the Texas Billfish Classic and its schedule of events, visit www.TexasBillfishClassic.com or contact TexasBillfishClassic@yahoo.com

Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic Creates Special Lure Incentive

April 9th, 2019

91043FF9 6DE3 4E35 AFC1 981007A3F881 263x300 Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic Creates Special Lure Incentive

Photo courtesy of www.MGCBC.com

With 105 boats already pre-registered for the 2019 Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic and many more expected before the June 3 kick-off, the stakes will again be high for this popular sport-fishing event. More than $2 million in prize money was awarded in 2017 and 2018. Yet tournament organizers are sweetening the pot just a little more this year.

“We’re adding a special $25,000 incentive that will be paid if the winning fish is caught on a lure,” says Tournament Director Bobby Carter. “It has to be strictly a lure with no meat or bait attached. Dozens of genuine trophy blue marlin have been caught on plastics in the Gulf over the years, so including this special payout adds an interesting wrinkle to this year’s event.”

The Classic was the first tournament in the Gulf to increase the minimum length requirement to boat a blue marlin to 110 inches. Fish are measured from the tip of the lower jaw to the fork of the tail. Smaller billfish can still be caught and released as part of the competition. Teams can also enter optional release division categories for a chance at six-figure prize payouts. Qualifying catches are verified by video confirmation.

“We are continuing to work with the other Gulf tournaments to standardize the catch and release rules,” explains Tournament Coordinator Bert Merritt. “That aspect is a major component as we all move forward, especially with the levels of prize money involved. Our catch data bears this out. In today’s climate, raising the length to 110 inches to boat a qualifying blue makes sense.”

In addition to the blue marlin weight category and the release division (smaller blues, white marlin and sailfish/spearfish), teams can also weigh yellowfin tuna, wahoo and dolphin. The swordfish category has been retired after the new Mississippi state record was set in 2017.

The Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic is hosted by the Golden Nugget Casino & Hotel in Biloxi. Besides world-class gaming, the area offers beaches, golf, shopping and fine dining for family members who choose to stay ashore.

The 2019 MGCBC will be held June 3-9 at the Golden Nugget Casino & Hotel/Point Cadet Marina in Biloxi, Mississippi. To enter or learn more about the rules and tournament history, please visit www.mgcbc.com or through social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter).

Contact: Bobby Carter, 228-239-2575; bobby@mgcbc.com

Winter Wahoo

March 2nd, 2019

 

DSC 0012 300x200 Winter Wahoo

Photo: Kelly Groce

DSC 0067 227x300 Winter Wahoo

My first wahoo weighed in at 36 pounds. (Check out those seas behind me). Photo: Shayne Ellis

BY KELLY GROCE

I was lucky enough to tag along with Team Pay Czech as they went searching for wahoo out of Freeport Marina for the 2019 Winter Wahoo Championship. Despite the howling winds and 4-6’ seas, we caught wahoo, blackfin tuna, amberjack and barracuda and had an absolute blast while doing so. Huge thanks again to Joe Schiller, Joey Schiller, Shayne Ellis and Collin Ferrera for inviting me along my first overnight offshore trip as well as my first wahoo. Go Team Pay Czech!

 

Collin Ferrera stuck this beautiful wahoo. Photo: Kelly Groce

Fishing Cabo San Lucas

September 1st, 2018

Blue marlin, wahoo and scenic Pacific views from one of the world’s hottest sportfishing destinations.

Photography by Brandon and Meagan Rowan

pueblo bonito beach Fishing Cabo San Lucas

The Pacific thunders against the beach outside of the Pueblo Bontio Pacifica Golf & Spa Resort

mr cabo Fishing Cabo San Lucas

EL ARCO: Meagan in front of “Land’s End” – Cabo’s famous rock arch formation.

The sun rises over Cabo San Lucas as the sportfishing boats make their way offshore.

We were greeted with calm seas on our outing.

This marlin hit a naked caballito (Bigeye Scad) on the shotgun line and absolutely lit up with color next to the boat. Capt. Ramone and First Mate Julio of RedRum Sportfishing were absolute pros and put us on the fish.

 

My first blue marlin breaks the surface. Caught with RedRum Sportfishing on the ‘ReelRum’

A pair of remoras are revealed on the underside of this marlin.

 

This wahoo hit a skirted plunger on the port rigger line. We had unbelievable ceviche and grilled wahoo that night.

Draggin’ Up Wins the 2018 Texas Billfish Classic

August 15th, 2018

team draggin up marlin Draggin Up Wins the 2018 Texas Billfish Classic

Draggin’ Up were named tournament champions and won the blue marlin division with their 514 lb fish.

The Texas Billfish Classic saw continued growth in participation and a substantial increase in prize money during its third year. The TBC fleet released eight blue marlin, one white marlin, six sailfish and weighed one big blue marlin. The TBC is one of the fastest growing billfish tournaments in Texas and the only event that allows participants to leave at noon on Thursday and begin fishing right away on the same day.

Draggin’ Up, a 74’ Viking from Houston, was the only boat to weigh a blue marlin on Saturday, Aug. 4 to claim top honors in the Blue Marlin Division. Angler Sam Rasberry’s 119.5 inch blue marlin topped the scales at 514 pounds.

“We were having a slow first day with no bites, so we decided to make a move for second day. We got the bite shortly after 9 a.m.,” said Draggin’ Up Captain Kevin Deerman. “We definitely knew the fish was a keeper after second set of jumps and got the gaffs ready. Great tournament and worked out for us betting heavy in the Blue Marlin kill pots!”

In the Billfish Release Division, Bimini Babe a 74’ Viking, took home top honors with three blue marlin releases and one sailfish, while Tico Time, a 65’ Hatteras, released one blue marlin and two sailfish to finish in second place. Over-Ride, a 64’ Titan, finished in third place releasing one blue marlin.

The Bimini Babe Team was also crowned Champions of the Billfish Classic Cup. This new event was developed to reward competitive teams fishing in both the Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic and the Texas Billfish Classic. Owner Babe Appling, Captain Robert Jones and team left with an extra $10,000 and custom art to commemorate the big win!

The Tuna category was won by Clark Miller from Smoker II with a 93-pound Yellowfin. No stranger to the podium, Kurt Pantle on $EA DOLLAR$ came in second at 90 pounds, followed by Lee Bull on the REHAB at 50 pounds. A nice summer wahoo raised the bar pretty high as Jasen Gast and the REHAB crew pulled up his 51-pound fish, barely topping the second place fish brought in by Tiger Neal on the Smoker II. Brian Wood of Draggin’ Up, came in third at 29 pounds. The Dolphin category was taken with the only qualifying fish at 23 pounds by Chris Gavlick aboard the REHAB.

The Top Lady Angler was Emma Griffith on Over-Ride and the Top Junior Angler Award was presented to Ethan Middleton on the Change Order.

RESULTS:

Blue Marlin
1st- 514.0 lbs. Draggin’ Up – Angler Sam Rasberry

Catch and Release
1st – 2,000 pts – Bimini Babe – Captain Robert Jones

2nd – 1,000 pts – Tico Time – Captain Mike Hester

3rd – 600 pts – Over-Ride – Captain Jacob Dawson

Tuna
1st – 93 lbs – Smoker II – Clark Miller

2nd – 90 lbs – $ea Dollar$ – Kurt Pantle

3rd – 50 lbs – REHAB – Lee Bull

Wahoo
1st – 51 lbs – REHAB – Jasen Gast

2nd – 47 lbs – Smoker II – Tiger Neal

3rd – 29 lbs – Draggin’ Up – Brian Wood

Dolphin
1st – 23 lbs – REHAB – Chris Gavlick

Top Lady Angler
Emma Griffith on the Over-Ride

Top Junior Angler
Ethan Middleton on the Change Order

Texas Wahoo on Bad Intentions

February 6th, 2017

texas wahoo sharked Texas Wahoo on Bad Intentions

Dr. Bob Rose, right, reeled in this huge wahoo that got sharked on the way in. The partial fish weighed 73 pounds on certified scales.

Texas wahoo are Texas-sized at the Flower Garden Banks

Photography and Videography by Brandon Rowan | brandon@baygroupmedia.com

Bad Intentions, a 64′ Viking owned by Debbie Conway, headed out to the Flower Garden Banks late January 2017 in search of BIG wahoo. The lines hit the water at first light but the wahoo bite didn’t begin until 10 a.m. and continued until late in the afternoon. The most successful baits of the trip were Ilanders rigged with ballyhoo and trolling weights, and heavy jetheads in purple/black or halloween colors. Watch the video above to see these hard running wahoo in action.

 

Wahoo Recipes

January 1st, 2017

wahoo ceviche recipe Wahoo Recipes

REHAB Wahoo Ceviche

By Jasen Gast | REHAB Fishing Team

  • 1 lb. fish fillets
  • 6 juiced limes (or enough to cover the fillets)
  • 1 cup fresh tomatoes (diced)
  • 1 green pepper (chopped)
  • 1 medium onion (minced)
  • 2 jalapeño peppers (seeded and diced)
  • 3 TBSP parsley
  • 2 TBSP cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 TBSP white vinegar

Slice your fillets into smaller strips and soak in lime juice over night. Drain the juice out and add the mixed ingredients. Chill and serve.

Lemon-Basil Wahoo

By Debbie Conway | Bad Intentions Charters

  • One 1” thick wahoo steak
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 10-15 cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 1 cup of chopped fresh basil
  • Fresh lemon, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Remove four round fillets from steak and place in baking dish. Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, tomatoes and basil into a bowl and pour over the fish. Salt and pepper to your taste. Lift them up to allow liquid to equalize onto bottom of dish and make sure fish is coated on both sides.

Place paper-thin slices of lemons over the entire surface of your dish for garnishment and bake in the oven at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes uncovered. Don’t over cook fish!  Remove lemon garnishment and serve fish over rice.

The Good Life with John Kolius

July 17th, 2013

HOO The Good Life with John Kolius

The Kolius clan with a sweet trio of Wahoo.

Olympic Silver medalist and former America’s Cup skipper John Kolius and his wife Joanne are living the good life on their 45ft Viking Express in Florida. The following interview has been shortened for our print copy.  For the full interview, please go to www.gulfcoastmariner.com

GCM: Why did you leave Texas?

JK: We can’t really say which came first, deciding to cruise the Bahamas or wanting to fish more. All we know is that we both love the ocean and we both enjoy the feeling of being offshore.

GCM: What type of boat do you own?

JK: We have a 2006 45ft Viking Express Sportfish. The engines are 900 Common Rail Mans. She cruises comfortably at 24 knots. We have three AC units, two refrigerators, two freezers and two live bait wells.

GCM: What kind of fish do you like to fish for?

JK: Really big fish. There is nothing more exciting than a BIG fish behind the boat. The marlins, both blue and white, arrive in the Bahamas sometime in late April and when they do, we have a great time.

GCM: Who does most of the cooking on board?

JK: It’s about even. We have a small outdoor grill that travels with us and I usually do the grilling. Joanne prepares most of the sashimi along with any pan cooking that requires the stove.

GCM: Do you have any special recipes you can share with us?

JK: Sure! We eat fish a lot and we keep our recipes pretty simple. Bacon wrapped Wahoo: Take a loin and slice it open down the middle so that it opens up like a hot dog bun. Inside the loin use a mixture of paste wasabi and cream cheese. Close the loin. Wrap the loin in uncooked bacon. Place on the grill and cook until the bacon is done. Cut into medallions and serve with some rice.

GCM: Do you have any special places you like to go?

JK: We like to go to Hawk’s Nest on Cat Island. It just has a special charm we like. It’s a small hurricane hole with a good marina and the fishing is good.