From the Crow’s Nest | The SCene
This is Marlin Country
For two months every summer, Bermuda becomes
the marlin-hunting capital of the world.
IT Is a GorGeous Bermudaful day, the sun beats down brightly as
the white wake of the boat dissolves into snow-like patches of bubbles
against the bluest blue imaginable. The boat drones when, suddenly,
all peace is shattered as the water explodes and a majestic blue marlin
reaches for the sky.
Some say boring, some say exhilarating, but there is no denying that
fishing for the mighty blue marlin changes lives.
The quest for consistent numbers and huge blue marlin are what
bring upwards of 40 state-of-the-art sport fishing boats to the island
every June and on into July. Their presence becomes obvious as outriggers, towers and antennae dominate the marinas’ skylines and talk turns
The Bermuda Triple Crown consists of three tournaments which are
all fished during the month of July. Not only does this coincide with the
time that the biggest fish are thought to be here, but it also allows visiting
boats a chance to return to safer harbours in advance of hurricane season.
Among the various local tournaments that comprise the Bermuda Triple
Crown, something close to one million dollars is up for grabs.
Prior to the actual commencement of the Triple Crown, there is the
Bermuda Release Cup, a family-friendly two-day event that concen-
trates on releasing billfish and is designed to encourage participation in
the major events that follow.
The first of these competitive events is the Bermuda Billfish Blast.
Although primarily a release event, this coincides with the Blue Marlin
World Cup ( July 4th, annually) and, for this
reason, each boat is allowed to land one fish. The
latter event is in its 30th year and is fished all over
the world with a simple objective: the biggest
fish over 500 pounds, winner takes all. Last year
the “all” was $561,600, making this well worth
working for. Add this to the money already at
stake for the Triple Crown events, and the hunt
for big fish becomes an obsession.
It is no surprise that Bermuda attracts com-
Details of all these tournaments, entry forms
petitors from overseas. Bermuda, along with
Kona, Hawaii, boasts a World Cup winner eight
times. Granders (1,000 pounds-plus) are not uncommon here. Big fish
and the relative ease of access from the US east coast make this Island
the choice for serious tournament contestants.
Following the three days of the Bermuda Blast is the Bermuda Big
Game Classic, another three-day quest for the ultimate game fish and
the real showpiece of the series. As with the previous event this is a big
money modified-release event.
The modified-release format means that all fish under the minimum
weight (in this case, 500 pounds) are released. Each release scores a
fixed number of points, for example, 500 for a blue marlin. Fish that are
landed and weighed score one point per pound. This can lead to some
rather strategic decision-making because a quick release and 500 points
may be expedient over boating a fish and then having it just clear the
minimum by a few pounds or, worse luck, failing to make the mini-
mum—thus incurring a substantial penalty. Smaller billfish species such
as white marlin also score points but far fewer than blue marlin.
With that much money and so many prizes on the line, what keeps
the competitors honest? Simple as it may sound, a verifiable system of
digital photo/video evidence is used. In these, the fish must be clearly
visible for identification purposes with a code number that is only
assigned at the time the fish is reported as hooked up. Points are not
awarded until the process has been completed.
Rounding out the month is the Sea Horse Anglers’ Club Billfish
Tournament, the island’s oldest billfish tournament. Run along similar
lines to the other events, this tournament was
the pioneer of the modified-release tournaments
and set the high minimum weight that much of
the rest of the world has now followed.
All of the Bermuda events are qualifying
events for the coveted IGFA Offshore World
Championship Tournament that pits winners
from all over the world into a final showdown
for bragging rights.
and additional information can be found on the
internet at www.bermudatriplecrown.com.
By John Barnes | photograph By scott tucker
CRo Wn 2015 DATES
Leg 1 Bermuda Billfish Blast
Tournament, July 3-7
Leg 2 Bermuda Big Game Classic
Tournament, July 9-13
Leg 3 Sea Horse Anglers Club
Bermuda Billfish Tournament,