For 8 year-old Hunter Blount, Jr., winning the Barta Billfish Tournament is becoming routine. On the stage at the awards banquet on Saturday night, Blount Jr., listened to Captain Tred Barta discuss the principles and values of his tournament and then with outstretched arms and a salty grin, he received the coveted overall-winner, Billfish trophy. Aboard his grandfather's Barbra B, Hunter reeled two sailfish to the boat for releases. His grandfather, also known as Poppy, says, "I am so proud of him. Right now he is leading the Junior Angler division of the Governor's Cup. He is a real lucky kid and I am just so happy." The Barbra B's win capped an exciting seventh installment of the Barta Billfish tournament.
This year, Captain Barta returned following his illness and subsequent paralysis and his voice and energy was felt throughout the docks. Also felt throughout the docks was the wind. On Friday many boats headed to sea and many boats returned to find fish closer to home as the seas and wind was relentless. On Saturday only a handful of boats fished offshore due to wind and heavy seas. Two boats that did venture offshore Saturday were the Barbara B and Miss Marilyn both had released a sailfish on Friday along with the Chainlink to hold the top three spots.
On Saturday the Barbara B made the first release and Miss Marilyn followed with the 2nd to put them in 2nd place based on time. Chainlink took 3rd place. In the Jr. Angler Division Billfish, Hunter Blount won 1st place followed by John Winstead on the Chainlink and Cara Schad on the Impulse. The Run Off's Noah Turner took first place in the Dolphin Division with a 32.36lb fish followed by his team mate Will Vanciver on the Run Off with a 31.14lb fish and in 3rd place was Suiter Ragland on the Inspiration. In the Wahoo Division Reid Walters of the Chainlink took 1st place with a 27.62lb fish followed by Jack Huddle on the Builders Choice and Vance Fortier on the Fin Planner.
While the fishing at the 7th Annual tournament was limited by the weather, those who support Tred and support the mission to raise funds for the Boys & Girls Club filled the docks and tent alike. 81 boats fished the tournament this year and as in years past return anglers reunited beneath the tent and along Front Street in Beaufort. The staff and directors of the Barta Billfish tournament thanks all that participated, sponsored, volunteered, and assisted in the planning and production of this tournament. The 8th Annual Barta Billfish Tournament begins on July 14, 2011.