649.231.0278info@caicosclassic.tcCaicos Classic IGFA Billfish Release Tournament | Providenciales, Turks & Caicos

2013 Caicos Classic

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Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Islands | July 1st, 2013

The 18th Annual Caicos Classic IGFA Billfish Release Tournament, the Turks and Caicos’ IGFA Offshore World Championship Qualifying Event, took place last week from Friday June 28th until Monday July 1st. Over 30 anglers across 6 boats competed for the coveted win, giving them the opportunity to represent the Turks and Caicos at the IGFA Offshore World Championship to be held in 2014 in Costa Rica. The event also hosted some surprise guests and raised funds for The Edward C Gartland Youth Centre and The Billfish Foundation.

The Caicos Classic kicked off with a bang on Friday evening at SALT, at the new Blue Haven Marina in Leeward. The teams and a large crowd of spectators gathered for the reception and captain’s meeting followed by an open bar, burgers and live music into the night. The six competing boats included last year’s winner and longtime visitor to TCI, Spellbound, as well as five local boats which are sure to be familiar – Panoply, Magic V, Reel Deal, Maid in Whales and After 5.

The tournament welcomed special guest Tony Ludovico, world renowned underwater photographer, as well as Michael Kelly from The Billfish Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of billfish worldwide. Tony graciously donated several original prints of his amazing photography for sale with all proceeds benefiting the Caicos Classic charities and was present each evening to meet and greet. A charity raffle with amazing prizes valued at over $8,500 was also going on throughout the event.

SALT PartyThe first day of fishing got off to a slow start, with Spellbound recording the only blue marlin release of the day. Despite a quiet day for billfish, the weigh scales were very busy with several tuna and a wahoo. Reel Deal’s Alenus Augustin topped the scales with a 74.4lb yellowfin tuna, beating out After 5’s 37.7lb-er and Magic V’s impressive 70lb-er for the largest tuna of the tournament. Team Panoply landed a 14.5lb wahoo. After returning to the dock following the 4:30 lines out, the teams washed down and cleaned up and were treated to an impressive dinner spread from Baci Ristorante in Turtle Cove.

Day two on the water was a busy one! Spellbound extended their lead with 3 blue marlin releases for the day while Magic V, Panoply and After 5 got on the board with 1 blue marlin release each. Panoply also pulled a hook on a blue early in the afternoon, but secured a release on the second fish less than an hour later and brought a nice 27lb dolphin (mahi-mahi) to the weigh scales. At the end of the day the board stood with Spellbound in first, Magic V in second and Panoply in third. While three boats all recorded 1 release for the day, in a draw for points the earliest release time takes the top spot. Day two saw 6 releases, 2 pulled hooks and several fish raised. Teams then enjoyed a social evening at Tiki Hut Island Eatery in Turtle Cove and prepared for day 3 of fishing.

The final day of the tournament was an exciting one with many more billfish sightings and several hook ups. Panoply got off to a quick start, calling in a blue hook up just 15 minutes after lines in. The all ladies angling team led by Captain Bill Sewell reported a pulled hook 10 minutes later, less than 50ft from the leader! Spellbound were also unlucky with 2 pulled hooks. Maid in Whales celebrated owner Chris Haggie’s first ever blue marlin with the only release for the day! With over 20 blue marlin raised by 6 boats over 3 days, it’s clear why Turks and Caicos is such a hot spot for anglers seeking the ultimate sportfishing experience!

The 18th Annual Caicos Classic IGFA Billfish Release Tournament came to a close with an impressive awards evening hosted by SALT at Blue Haven Marina. The standings at the end of the three day tournament put Captain Toby Wiener and his team on Spellbound in the top spot for the second year in a row as they released 4 blue marlin for a final tally of 1200 points. Spellbound will once again be representing the TCI at the OWC event next year. Magic V came in second with 1 release and a score of 300 points and local charter boat Panoply with Captain Bill and their team of all lady anglers came in a close 3rd, also with 300 points.

2013 Winners, Team  Spellbound

2013 Winners, Team Spellbound

Team Spellbound took home the first place trophy as well as several other awards, with Toby Wiener receiving Top Captain, First mate Bill Caldwell as Top Mate and William Shakespeare as Top Angler. The ladies of Panoply received two awards, with Delphine Hartshorn as Top Lady Angler releasing the only blue marlin for participating ladies, and Belinda Martin with the Largest Dolphin. Blue Haven’s SALT Restaurant and Bar received the Top Restaurant award and Ed was recognized as the Top Observer. Following the awards, raffle prize winners were announced and the crowd enjoyed live music from Bowen Arrow and complimentary food from SALT.

Team Panoply

Third Place Team Panoply.

Tournament Director Art Pickering and Caicos Classic Committee members Belinda Martin and Delphine Hartshorn would like to extend thanks to major sponsor and host Blue Haven Marina and Resort as well as special guests Tony Ludovico, his manager Joel Williams and Michael Kelly from The Billfish Foundation for their support at this year’s event.

Big thanks are also extended to those who participated in the tournament as well as the long list of businesses and individuals who helped make this year’s event spectacular: Blue Haven Marina and Resort, SALT Restaurant and Bar, The Wine Cellar, Coors Lite, Cairsea, Scooter Bob’s, After 5 Concierge, Baci Ristorante, Tiki Hut Island Eatery, Turtle Cove Marina, Shout Media, Panoply Sport Fishing & Charters, PTS Equipment, Aquamarine Concierge, Casablanca Casino, Core Fuel, Nautique Sports, Green Bean, Linda and Mike St Louis, All the Observers and DEMA. Prizes for the charity raffle were graciously donated by Grace Bay Club, Panoply Sport Fishing & Charters, Provo Turtle Divers, Tiki Hut Island Eatery, SURFside Ocean Academy, Blue Horizon Resort, Mudjin Harbour Bar and Grill, Jai’s Jewelers, Graceway IGA and Caicos Cyclery.

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