Updates from the Gulf Coast Triple Crown Championship

by Capt. Dave Lear

Summer Preview? - Posted: Sunday, May 19, 2019 8:09 PM
Kicking off the 2019 Gulf big-game tournament season, four dozen sport-fishers blasted off from The Wharf Marina in Orange Beach, Alabama, Thursday blessed by sunny skies and favorable seas. By the time the diesel smoke cleared and all contestants were back in their slips Saturday night, Relentless Pursuit, a past Triple Crown Champion, was declared the winner. Angler Dennis Pasentine and his crew whipped a 658.2-pound blue marlin to take top honors in this year's Orange Beach Billfish Classic to start the summer off right.

Greg Gaubert and his team mates aboard Double JJ were second in the marlin category with a fish tipping the scales at 399.4 pounds. Nathan Neames, competing aboard Reel Fire, rounded out the top three in the weight division with a 376-pound blue.

Thirty-eight smaller blue marlin were released by the fleet, along with three white marlin. Mollie, another past Triple Crown Champion, was the top release boat. Reel Fire was second and Born 2 Run was third.

The yellowfin tuna were few and far between, but two hefty cousins made it to this year’s weigh station. Bill Butler on Crawgator boated a 825.6-pound bluefin tuna and Stewart Fickel on Hot Rod scaled another at 735 pounds. Top wahoo was 58 pounds (Scott Cooper/CE), and the biggest dolphin came in at 46.2 pounds (Jarrett Johnson/Lucky Dog). Katie Gonsoulin on Done Deal was named the top lady angler for the 2019 event.

“It was a good weekend and everything went smoothly,” says Tournament Director Kate Dorland. “Everyone had a good time despite the scattered grass everywhere, and we raised a good bit of money for The Billfish Foundation. We’re the largest tournament benefactor for TBF in the world.”

The second leg of the prestigious Gulf Coast Triple Crown Championship, presented by Grander Marine and Invincible Boats, will feature plenty of gumbo and Louisiana hospitality. The Cajun Canyons Billfish Classic kicks off May 28 at the Cypress Cove Marina and Lodge in Venice and wraps up June 1. For more information or to register, please visit cajuncanyonsbillfishclassic.com

2019 GCTC Kicks Off With New Features - Posted: Wednesday, May 1, 2019 11:32 AM
Gulf Coast Triple Crown Championship
Announces Changes for 2019 Season

May 1, 2019; The Wharf; Orange Beach, Alabama:

Celebrating its ninth season in 2019, the prestigious Gulf Coast Triple Crown Championship will feature a couple of important changes to the series, including new sponsors. Grander Marine and Invincible Boats are coming aboard as the new 2019 Presenting Sponsors. The pairing is a good synergy on several levels.

“I personally like to fish the Triple Crown tournaments and have been part of a team that was in contention previously,” says Grander Marine owner and angler Chris Bazor. “Our company sells new boats, brokerage boats and offers service, so sponsoring the series is a good way to help fellow contestants and promote our business. We’ll be competing aboard a 40 Invincible catamaran this season, so we figured why not? The owner of Invincible Boats is a passionate offshore angler too and the company builds some of the best quality mono-hull and catamarans in the sport-fishing industry, so it was a natural partnership.”

Grander Marine has a showroom and full service facility on Canal Road in Orange Beach, Alabama. Another satellite facility is scheduled to open later this summer. In addition to being the Gulf Coast dealer for Invincible Boats, Grander Marine also carries a full line of premium fishing and pleasure boats as part of its line-up. The Blue Marlin Grand Championship, the final leg of the five-tournament series, is held at The Wharf Marina in Orange Beach.

GCTC Director Scott Burt also commissioned a commemorative trophy that will be on permanent display at The Wharf Marina’s Outfitter’s Store. Created by marine metal artist Frank Ledbetter, the perpetual trophy will sit atop a rotating base and will feature all previous Triple Crown Champions. The team trophy, another stunning marlin sculpture crafted by Ledbetter, will be awarded annually to each champion.

There will be no rule changes for the 2019 season, Burt announced. Feedback from teams indicated satisfaction with the status quo. There will be an added financial component in the Optional Cash Award category, however. A new $25,000 winner-take-all prize will be awarded to the top team entered in the optional category. Teams wishing to participate in the Optional Division must sign up prior to the first event, the Orange Beach Billfish Classic, May 16-19, at The Wharf Marina. The scoring format for the Triple Crown points will remain the same as 2018.

Following the OBBC, the Triple Crown focus shifts to Venice, Louisiana, May 28 through June 2, for the Cajun Canyons Billfish Classic. The Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic kicks off June 3 through 9 in Biloxi, followed by the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic later in the month (6/19-23) at Sandestin. The Blue Marlin Grand Championship wraps up the Triple Crown competition July 9-14.