In only its second year, the Bermuda Triple Crown saw dramatic growth in participation and awards. The bite also cooperated this year with a record number of hookups and photographed releases. The average fish ran around 400 pounds with the biggest weighing at 797 pounds. Mix in the charter and private boats in Bermuda with the U.S. boats making the run of at least 680 miles to the island and you have many of the most competitive teams in fishing plying the rich waters off Bermuda. Add fish going into the grander range and you have the Super Bowl of billfishing series.
Overall, the series awarded $771,000 in cash and $60,000 in prizes. In the end, the Coral Gables based team on RUM BUM, a 54' Bertram, won the championship with 3500 points. Owner Luis Bacardi, Captain Jim O'Neil, team members Jennifer Bacardi, Sean Williams, Shawn Albury and Andre Pepin each receive the coveted Triple Crown Champion Ring from Vanmark Jewelry, a bronze sculpture from Geoffrey Smith, a trophy from King Sailfish Mounts, a Furuno Sounder, championship apparel from Pelagic Gear embroidered by Yaupon Embroidery, Triple Crown paintings from Steve Goione, a de-hooker from Arc De hooker, special Triple Crown lures from Jaslure, Mold Craft, Pacific Trolling Gear and Black Bart Lures, a trophy from Bermuda Tourism, Ocean Waves Sunglasses, Panoptx Sunglasses and a Pompanette flying gaff for the boat.
The series started off with the Bermuda Billfish Blast on July 2. The two-day event recorded a record 47 teams competing for over $215,000 in cash and prizes. Sixty-five hookups were recorded with twenty three blues and five whites successfully photographed and released with one qualifying blue coming in at 580-pounds. Team WON BY LAND took the early lead with 1000-points. RUM BUM followed close behind with 900 and NEVER ENOUGH trailed at 700-points.
The Bermuda Big Game Classic ran July 12-16, and also had a record turnout with 58 teams competing for an amazing $470,000 in cash and prizes. One hundred and seventy four hookups were recorded in the three-day event with 65 blues and 22 whites successfully photographed and released with 4 qualifying blues coming to the scales. The tournament seated over 500 guests at the gala awards banquet. By the end of the Classic, winning team RUM BUM passed all other competitors and stood at 3300 points. Their closest competitor was ON ICE at 2000 points. QUEEN OF HEARTS sat third at 1534 points.
The Sea Horse Anglers Club Billfish Tournament ran July 19-23 and continued the trend for the series with a record 30 boats and $120,000 in cash and prizes. Thirty-three blues, six whites and one spearfish were successfully photographed and released with one qualifying blue of 532 pounds coming to the scales. Team RUM BUM's lead was cut to 300 points but they added a white marlin release to open up a 500-point cushion. As teams continued to climb the ladder RUM BUM just couldn't get another release. However, in the end, RUM BUM's stellar performance in the Blast and Classic and total of five blues and five whites released during the series to earn 3500-points was enough to hold off the charging QUEEN OF HEARTS that finished second at 3034 points. DE MAKO finished third at 3,000 points.
Big congratulations to team RUM BUM, winners of the 2006 Bermuda Triple Crown Billfish Championship.