Venice, LA – The 2012 Cajun Canyons Billfish Classic is now in the record books. A total of 46 sportfishing yachts, ranging in length from 33’ to 70’, fished for a total purse of $574,650.00.
Tuesday, May 29, the festivities started with our Dock Party, hosted by Rene Cross and the good people at Cypress Cove Marina & Lodge and Island Bar and Grill. Everyone enjoyed the barbecued chicken, pulled pork, baked beans, cole slaw and potato salad. Thanks Rene and Brad!
Wednesday, May 30, was our Official Registration Day along with our Captain’s Meeting and Kick-Off Party-again sponsored by our good friends at LeBeouf Brothers Towing. We can’t say enough about those Acme Oyster House people serving up Jambalaya, Gumbo, boiled jumbo shrimp, and their world-famous bread pudding, and of course our traditional Osyter Bar was also a hit.
Thursday, May 31, was off to somewhat of a slow start after our Kick-Off Party, but everyone enjoyed our Hangover Clinic featuring TABASCO Bloody Mary Mix and Absolut Vodka, along with some strong coffee. Deacon Patrick continued a fine Louisiana tradition with our “Blessing of the Fleet” at Cypress Cove Marina. Our fleet left the docks at 4:00 pm Thursday afternoon—then the storm and water spout moved into the marina to crush multiple tents and our complete party area underneath the hotel. Luckily there was no damage to any of our participating yachts.
Friday, June 1, while rebuilding, we received numerous reports of both Blue Marlin and White Marlin releases, with Team Pipe Dream of Port Mansfield, Texas calling in two Blue Marlin releases along with Bad Habit of Venice, Louisiana with two Blue Marlin releases and multiple White Marlin releases. Then the action really picked up with both Team Cajun Odysea, a 33’ Freeman out of Venice, Louisiana calling in a 114” Blue Marlin alongside the boat and Team Reel Bounty, a 68’ Hatteras out of Galveston, Texas having a 104” Blue Marlin in the boat. Seems it took Cajun Odysea over an hour to boat their fish into their catamaran. Reel Bounty weighed in first at 461.1 lbs for angler Tony Annan and Capt. Kirk Elliott, with Cajun Odysea Blue Marlin weighing in at 589.8 lbs for angler Mike Gray, a new tournament record!
Friday also saw Team Cap’n Daddy out of Madisonville, Louisiana bring two nice tuna to the dock. The first was a 179.4 yellowfin caught by Matson Hood, with the second being a 179.7 Big Eye Tuna, caught by Dominique Chagnon, which is now pending as the #2 Big Eye Tuna for the state of Louisiana.
Saturday, June 4, the bite continued, with Team Balls to the Wall of Houma, Louisiana calling in two Blue marlin releases before 9:15 am; the bite was still on. Team Bad Habit would hang on to their lead with two Blue Marlin and three White Marlin releases to take 1st Place in our Tag/Release division winning $16,425.00; Team Pipe Dream would take 2nd Place on time with two Blue Marlin releases, winning $67,455.00, with Team Balls to the Wall taking 3rd Place with two Blue Marlin releases, winning $26,550.00. All our Tag/Release winners were awarded gorgeous inlaid teak step boxes from our Tag/Release Sponsor Release Marine. Team Bad Habit was also awarded the C.R. Bob Potter Memorial Trophy for Top Billfish Boat, along with an invitation to fish the I.G.F.A. Offshore World Championship in 2012.Saturday also got exciting with Team Freedom, a 65’ American Custom Yachts, fishing out of Port Fourchon, Louisiana, calling in a “nice fish in the boat and headed to the scales”. When Team Freedom arrived at the dock, they had a whopping 122” Blue Marlin that weighed in at 744 lbs. Team Freedoms fish at 744 lbs is our new tournament record and pending #3 for the state of Louisiana in the Blue Marlin category. Team Freedom took 1st place, winning $51,030.00, with Team Cajun Odysea taking 2nd place, winning $79,920.00, with Team Reel Bounty taking 3rd Place and winning $67,500.00.
Team Cap’n Daddy would hang on to take both 1st and 2nd Place in our Tuna division, winning $85,320.00, with Team Crikey and angler Josh Herren winning $16,830.00.
Our Dolphin division also saw some nice fish, with Nick Bouzious, fishing on the 64’ Viking, Reel Worthless weighing in a 39.5 lb Bull took 1st Place, winning $26,325.00, followed by angler Roberto Velazquez, fishing on the Pipe Dream (Texas), weighing in a 38.3 lb. Bull for 2nd Place, winning $28,755.00, with angler Tony Mitchell, fishing on the 46’ Bertram, Sea Bandit out of Biloxi, Mississippi taking 3rd Place with a 36.1 lb. dolphin.
Our Wahoo division was won by Team Double J, fishing on their 38’ Contender out of Port Fourchon, Louisiana with three fish: 85.7 lbs caught by angler Michael Marcello, a 67.7 lb Wahoo caught by angler Neal Foster, and angler Michael Marcello also weighing in a 56.7 lb Wahoo for third place and a complete sweep of Wahoo. Team Double J won $55,350.00 with their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Place Wahoo.
Our Top Youth Angler prizes went to 10 year old Sam Roberto, fishing on the 60’ Hatteras, First Choice with his dad, Captain Mike Roberto, releasing one White Marlin and weighing in a 32.7 lb Tuna and a 26.9 lb Wahoo. Sams’ prize package included a waterproof video camera and a Maui Jim Sunglasses gift certificate along with a custom trophy. Our Top Youth Angler trophy is now in Memory of our good friend, Captain Jim Peachey.
Our Top Female Angler prize went to Courtney Willhoft, fishing on the 65’ Hatteras Ms. Mary, releasing one Blue Marlin and one White Marlin. Courtney was awarded a custom trophy along with a TABASCO gift bucket from our friends on Avery Island, and a Maui Jim Sunglasses gift certificate.
Continuing our tradition of “taking care of the working Captains”, our winning Captains were awarded gift bags with Maui Jim Sunglasses gift certificates, along with numerous gifts from comefishLa.com, along with a TABASCO gift bucket.
Saturday evening, Acme Oyster House did it again, serving up Seafood Pasta and Natchitoches meat pies, fried catfish and, even more bread pudding. Combine this with our open bar; and a good time was had by all.
When all was said and done, we ended up with 14 Blue Marlin releases, and 9 White Marlin releases and 1 Sailfish release. We want to take this opportunity to thank ALL our participants and especially our loyal sponsors, the Best of the Best; please support them as they truly offer the finest products and services available. In closing, we hope to see all of you again next year the weekend after Memorial Day. THANKS!