The Yamaha Contender Miami Billfish Tournament concluded another successful and exciting fishing tournament and fundraiser for marine conservation and education! The 2014 tournament produced a winning weekend for everyone! Held at the Miami Beach Marina on South Beach in Florida, 281 anglers aboard 56 boats fished for over $134,000 in cash, plus valuable prizes and trophies. Thanks to its anglers and sponsors, this non-profit organization donated $16,000 to area marine conservation organizations and education including groups such as The Billfish Foundation, Florida Keys Marine Laboratory, Costal Conservation Association (CCA), The Ed Fund and various scholarships.
The weekend offered anglers a mix of weather, but steady fishing each day, with 189 sailfish released in 2 days.
On Thursday, April 3rd, the tournament started with the Kick-Off Party and Captain’s Meeting with fantastic food from Sports Grill. Friday, April 4th, was the start of the 2-Day fishing competition. The 2-day tournament fleet of boats headed out with the excitement. Teams were after the glory of being the Top Outboard and Top Inboard Boats, but also kept their eyes out for Funfish that could win them great cash prizes as well.
As the fleet returned to the docks the excitement of the weigh-in grew. The competition was exciting as fish were brought in to compete on weight. To make the festivities even more enjoyable, participants and their family, friends and spectators enjoyed ice cold Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer, Tito’s Vodka, Papa’s Pilar Rum, Jose Cuervo Margaritas, and wine at the Presidential Challenge Wine Bar.
On day two, the boats in the One Day Outboard Challenge, presented by Eric’s Outboard, were added to the fleet. At the end of the day, Karma had 68 points with a combination of their billfish releases and weigh-in aggregate. This earned them the title of Top Boat in the One Day Outboard Challenge with total winnings of $6,095. This was a result of winning $5,000 for the Top One Day Top Boat prize, along with $595 from the 1st place Kettle of Fish and $500 for the heaviest Kingfish. Master Angler, Adam Cohen, also came from Karma. On their heels in second place was Reel Control with 50 points and taking home $3,265. Third place was Team Fine Awards.com2, who took home $4,084. Jessica Ocacio on Team Fine Awards.com2 also earned the title of Top Lady. Top Junior was Cameron Huston aboard D&D and Top Pee Wee was Bradley Dunn aboard Fillamagilla.
For the 2-day tournament participants, this was their 2nd day of fishing. At the end of the day the title of Top Outboard and Grand Champion Boat went to Bouncer’s Dusky with 14 releases and 2,800 points, bringing their two day total winnings to $46,050. This was a result of the Championship Boat prize of $5,000, the Top Inboard Boat prize of $10,000, the 3K Hook-up Winner Take All prize for $17,850; 1st place in the 2-day Pot of Gold for $6,800; 2nd place in Friday’s Outboard Daily for $2,040; 1st place in Saturday’s Outboard Daily for $3,060; $300 for 3rd place Dolphin and ironically, since his Dusky had trouble and had to substitute his boat with a Contender, an extra $1,000 for the Contender Factor extra prize money. Top Boat also won Jorge de Cardenas Master Angler with 1,800 points, Top Mate going to Abe Raymond and Top Captain to Capt. Bouncer Smith. Second Place Inboard went to Sports Grill’s team aboard Rock Star with 2,600 points. They took home $10,885 made up from the $4,000 prize for 2nd place Inboard Boat, $2,720 from 3rd place Pot of Gold; 2nd Place in Saturday’s Outboard Daily for $2,040 and $2,125 for Top afternoon boat in Saturday’s Half Day Daily. Third place Outboard went to Reel Karma with their prize money totaling $8,185.
In the Inboard Division Four Aces reigned with 2,600 points winning them $15,100. This was made up from the $10,000 Top Outboard Prize, 2nd place Pot of Gold for $4,080 and 2nd place in Friday’s Inboard Daily for $1,020. Second place inboard went to Miss Britt II with 1,200 points winning them $6,125 and 3rd place went to Asian Pearl with 2,000 point, taking home $4,530. Other divisions included Master Lady Angler, which was won by Stephanie Gordon with 600 points aboard Just Do It and Top Junior going to James David with 1,600 aboard Jichi.
The Funfish Division was not without its excitement as well. Red Stripe captured the Top Funfish Boat with a combined 112.8 pounds winning them $3,860. This was from 1st place Kettle of Fish for $3,060; $500 2nd place Kingfish at 35 pounds brought in by Erick Perez, and $300 for 3rd place Kingfish brought in by Kevin Cabrerra. Bryce Statham aboard Blue Moon/Big Easy won $1,000 with the Top Kingfish at 38.8 pounds. The Top Tuna at 22 pounds and $1,000 was won by Marc Granet aboard Just Do It. The Top Dolphin at 17.6 pounds and $1,000 went to Dave Bulthuis from Costa Sunglasses aboard the Thomas Flyer. In the new category of Wahoobia and $1,000 went to Carlos Padrone aboard First Choice with a 26.8 pound Cobia. Finally, Top Junior in the Funfish Division went to Chase Strelic aboard Eren’s Addiction with a 16.2 pound Kingfish.
All of the winners received their cash prizes, trophies and other great prizes during the Yamaha Awards Party catered and hosted by Sports Grill with a fantastic BBQ dinner. This party also offered participants and the public a huge silent auction with Yamaha Engines, trips, tackle, electronics and more. The end of the party was the moment everyone was waiting for…the drawing for the 25′ T Contender Boat with twin 200 hp Yamaha 4- stroke engines, Bluewater T-Top and Lean Post, Tigress Outriggers and Lighting and a Continental trailer. This year’s winner was Gilbert Galceran from Coral Gables.
The Miami Billfish Tournament has now raised and donated over $725,000 to marine conservation and education, fulfilling the Yamaha Contender Miami Billfish Tournament’s mission to promote awareness and support marine enhancement, education and conservation.
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