After a summer of not being able to fish, anglers from the Gulf Coast excited headed to Orange Beach, Alabama for a chance to fish on Labor Day weekend. 60 boats entered the largest tournament in the Gulf this summer and what they saw and also what they didn't see. There were no reports of oil being spotted and the fishing was solid all weekend.
The 31 foot Bertam Amante from Dauphin Island, AL may have been one of the smaller boats in the field of 60 of the MBGFC 44th Annual Invitational Tournament, but their fish certainly were not. Captain Mike Rogers and his crew of Nathan Dunn, Todd Crowley and Jim Cox scored 1,100 catch and release points which was the most in the tournament. Angler Nathan Dunn released a blue marlin on 50 pound class tackle and a sailfish on 30 pound line to win the top male angler award as well as coming in first place in catch and release. "We had a great trip" said Rogers, "we hooked two other blue marlin and one of which we fought for 45 minutes was about a 500 pound fish." The crew also caught 15 dolphin, two wahoos and a tuna fishing south of the Spur. "Captain Mike just knows how to find the fish. We were by ourselves for most of Saturday and then Sunday morning we had 9 boats with us. Then they all left and Mike decided to stay and 20 minutes later we caught our Marlin." The lost big blue marlin would have been a nice addition to the team's catch and release points. "She was a beauty, she hit the flat line and put on a great show. Forty-five minutes into the fight the hook just popped out...but that's fishing," said angler Jim Cox. "It would have been great to see her alongside the boat, get the pictures and video and then watch her swim free, but she decided to skip the part about being alongside the boat"! The win also qualifies the team for the IGFA Offshore World Champions in Cabo San Lucas in May of 2011. It marks the second time that Rogers and Cox have qualified for the event in the past five years.
The Lady Jacqueline top home first place in two categories as angler Bill Allison caught a 112 pound Yellowfin tuna to take the tuna division and Jesse Meade weighed in a Mahi at 33 pounds to claim the top spot for Dolphin. First place Wahoo went to Gordon Gill on the Never Better at 63 pounds. Nathan Dunn was the Top Male Angler as well as placing first in the Catch and Release Division and Gail Gele was the top Lady Female Angler aboard the Lady Lab.
No billfish were killed in the tournament. Nine blue marlin, nine sailfish, five white marlin and two short billed spearfish were released in the tournament.
For complete results visit www.mbgfc.org