by John Bell
Hemingway, Playboy, running with the bulls (sharks that is), seaplane landings and takeoffs, a sunset serenade with country artist Craig Morgan and 3,400 pounds of wahoo made for one of The Bahamas’ most intriguing tournaments in recent memory.
Team unloads Wahoo catch for weigh-in
The eclectic scene was staged at the historic Bimini Big Game Club Resort and Marina Feb. 21-23 as part of the Wahoo Smackdown II Tournament that attracted 22 teams, more than 100 Anglers and 132 wahoo caught during the two-day tournament.
Taking home over $7,500 in cash and prizes for top team (334.7 pounds of wahoo) and largest catch (96.7 pounds) was Frank Roach, Kevin Marsh, Billy Thomas and Dillon Kemp competing for Fishin A Loan out of Daytona Beach, Florida.
Team Overtime—Daniel Bell, Rue Monay, Steven Jenkins and Hugh Jazz out of Ocoee, Florida—took second place team honors ($1,500) with 191.1 pounds. And winners of the November 2012 Wahoo Smackdown tournament, Ocean Alley, out of Hollywood, Florida, took third place ($1,000) with 186.9 pounds total catch weight.
Ditch Digger finished second in the largest fish category (65.7 pounds) and Overtime was third with 60.1 pounds.
Overall, according to tournament director Capt. Paul Cameron, more than $30,000 in cash and prizes were awarded.
Cameron said due to the success of the two wahoo tournaments, the Big Game Club will be hosting the Billfish Bonanza on May 15-18. Those interested in more information should go to Big Game Club Bimini.
'This is a tournament that will be talked about for quite some time,' said Michael Weber, General Manager for the 51-room Big Game Club Resort and Marina, which hosted the tournament. 'Not only was there huge wahoo action for the teams participating, but we had writer John Hemingway, grandson of Ernest Hemingway, fishing with team Makin It Happen; Shawn Dillon, Playboy Magazine’s Miss February 2013 was the hostess for our awards ceremony and country artist, Craig Morgan was here fishing aboard Miss Kathleen with Captain Chase Camacho and filming a segment for his TV Show 'Craig Morgan: All Access Outdoors. Also, it was great to see Tropic Ocean Airways’ seaplane service shuttling guests to and from Fort Lauderdale International Airport. It was a very, very busy and 'Epic' weekend.'
Weber said as an additional bonus, the sold-out resort customers were treated to a special preview of Bimini Bull Run, a unique one-day guaranteed shark encounter experience featuring a specially designed shark cage system attached directly to the docks at The Big Game Club Marina.
Those testing the system, including Playmate Shawn Dillon and a reporter with the Bahamas ZNS Network, used a unique 'Hooka' air system, allowing non-certified divers to experience the shark watching opportunity.
Playboy's Miss February and friend tryout the new Bimini Bull Run Shark Encounter - Bimini Wahoo Smackdown II
Bimini’s location along the legendary Gulf Stream (a 'river' of warm water) location is at the apex of a superhighway for migrating fish and acts as a kind of sushi conveyor belt carrying abundant food to the local fish. Deepwater game fish include marlin, tuna, sailfish, wahoo and swordfish, while big grouper, barracuda and schools of snapper can be found on the reefs.
Bimini’s flats are home the fishermen’s favorite prey, bonefish and permit. With more than 50-record-setting catches in the waters around the island, Bimini has earned its title of Sport Fishing Capital of the World. Sport Fishing Magazine recently ranked Bimini as number three in the Top Ten Greatest Fisheries of All Time.
Tropic Ocean Airways Team poses with Shawn Dillon, Playboy's Miss February 2013 - Bimini Wahoo Smackdown II
Country Artist Craig Morgan entertains at the Bimini Big Game Club - Bimini Wahoo Smackdown II
Writer John Hemingway (far left) joined team Makin it Happen out of Miami. - Bimini Wahoo Smackdown II
Fishin a Loan out of Daytona Beach, Florida winners of overall and largest fish - Bimini Wahoo Smackdown II