January 28, 2023

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MidAtlantic/Virginia Beach Billfish Tournament Results

The crew of the Kaarmaa posing with their catch.

Photo: South Jersey Tournaments

MidAtlantic Tournament Results

It was bound to happen. Day Five at the MidAtlantic has a history of dramatic finishes and 2022 would be no different.  Many a crewmember has spent the night before the final day of the tournament tossing and turning as they nervously await the end of the final day of fishing.  Way back in 1997, the phrase “Moving Day” was first used for Day Five at this event because of the big changes that occur to the leaderboard. Fortunes have been made and dashed over the years, and 2022 would be no different as Day Five saw several major changes and a new tournament record set as well! The final day of fishing saw the largest fleet of the week head offshore as 160 boats had Day Five of the tournament left to fish and hopefully get a piece of the tournament’s $5.23 million purse.

White Marlin

Going into the final day of fishing, Michael Jordan’s Jupiter, Florida-based Catch 23 sat atop the leaderboard in the white marlin category with his 73-pounder, followed by Vero Beach, Florida’s Matthew Weber aboard his Max Bet with a 65-pounder. The tournament fleet, including Jordan and Weber, both veterans of this event, knew those two fish were beatable, and although the numbers of white marlin caught grew as the week wore on, finding one to meet the 69-inch, 65-pound minimum was proving to be difficult.

As the weigh-in session got underway, word began to leak out of boated white marlin of significant length that could potentially shake up the leaderboard. The sun was beginning to set as Captain Steve Castellini backed the Kaarmaa of Millstone, New Jersey’s Anthony Alves to the scale at Canyon Club Resort Marina in Cape May with a white marlin to weigh for Alves who was also the angler. As the billfish was hoisted from the boat, it was clear this fish was going to challenge the top two fish on the board. After taking the measurement, the marlin was hoisted to the scale, and Weighmaster Chris Booth confirmed the weight of 75 pounds to put Kaarmaa in the lead of the category.

However, word began to spread of another white marlin coming to Cape May, and just 30 minutes later, Captain Michael Pintozzi of Langhorne, Pennsylvania, pulled up to the scale with his Random Chaos to weigh a white marlin for angler Tom Jarvis. As the crowd of tournament participants looked on, the billfish was placed on the scale, and the weight of 66 pounds was announced to put Random Chaos in third place. In the end Kaarmaa’s 75-pounder took the top spot in the category and won $871,404. Catch 23’s 73-pounder caught on Day Three was second and received $693,615 while Random Chaos held on to third place and won $192,165.

Blue Marlin

The blue marlin category was hotly contested all week long and the 56 blues caught is the second highest in the tournament’s tenure, topped only by the 68 blues caught in 2019. As has been the case in several Day Five’s at the MidAtlantic over the years, darkness would cover Canyon Club Resort Marina as a blue marlin would be weighed, and this year, it would be the final fish weighed in the tournament.  The Avalon, New Jersey-based Low Profile of Captain Joe Trainor had a blue marlin on the deck that taped out at 122¾”, which angler Ken Wibble battled for well over three hours before being boated.

The crew of the Low Profile posing with their catch.

Photo: South Jersey Tournaments

As the huge billfish was hoisted to the scale and positioned, you could hear a pin drop, and moments later, the weight of 657 pounds was announced by Weighmaster Chris Booth. Low Profile took home $576,209 for the heaviest blue marlin while Robert Boyce of Key Largo, Florida finished in second place aboard his Lucky 7 and won $168,625 for his 619-pounder caught on Day Four. Christopher Kinsley of Seven Valleys, Pennsylvania, aboard his Kilo Charlie took third place and received $580,119 for his 607-pounder caught on Day Three. Worthy of note was that, for the second consecutive year, the top three blue marlin in the tournament were all over 600 pounds.

Tuna

The tuna category was another competitive category, as no less than 86 of that species were weighed. Although yellowfins were plentiful, big eyes were scarce, and only three were weighed during the week, and none of the tuna weighed on Day Five made a run at the leaders. Art Boykin of Berlin, Maryland, aboard his Lucky Duck took the top prize of $290,050 in the category with a big eye of 210 pounds caught on Day Four. For the second consecutive year, a boat would win two places in the category, and this year it was Summit, New Jersey’s Bob Hugin aboard his The Right Place, who took second and third place with big eyes of 193 and 152 pounds caught on Day One and won a total of $793,014 for both places.

Wahoo

The wahoo division saw a complete overhaul of the category on Day Five and the top prize of $65,729 went to Plantation, Florida’s Charles Phelan aboard his Special Situation for a tournament record 104-pounder that breaks the previous tournament record of 97 pounds set by Bill Gallo aboard his Joanna back in 2009. Second place went to Keith Boyd of Ivyland, Pennsylvania, aboard his Craftsmanship with a 72-pounder worth $57,528. Third place and $14,570 goes to Mike Penza of North Palm Beach, Florida, aboard his Oil Slick for a 46-pounder.

Dolphin

The dolphin category saw Fort Pierce, Florida’s Joseph Valentine aboard his Valentine win $78,231 for a 43-pounder caught on Day Four. Billy Wrede of Randolph, New Jersey, aboard Lovin’ Life finished second with a 39-pounder and won $34,874, also caught on Day Four. Donnie White of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, aboard his Sea Wolf finished in third place with a 33-pound dolphin weighed on Day Five and won $24,722.

Honorable Mentions

Some of the boats with notable billfish releases on Day Five include Ed Dunn’s D.A. Sea with six white marlin and one blue marlin released.  Peter Lorris’ Hydrosphere released three white marlin and a blue marlin. Michael Pintozzi’s Random Chaos and Joe Bernert’s Quick Raise each released a blue marlin. Pat Healey’s Viking 80 released five white marlin while Rob Gothier’s Bar South, Frank Goodhart’s Brenda Lou and Dave Smith’s Code Blu each released four white marlin. Matthew Weber’s Max Bet and Newt Cagle’s Hatterascal each released three white marlin.

Cash Prize Winners

Note that cash payouts vary by the level of calcuttas a participant enters.

Heaviest White Marlin – 75 lbs. – Kaarmaa – Anthony Alves – Millstone, NJ – $871,404

2nd Heaviest White Marlin – 73 lbs. – Catch 23 – Michael Jordan – Jupiter, FL – $658,045

3rd Heaviest White Marlin – 66 lbs. – Random Chaos – Michael Pintozzi – Langhorne, PA – $95,364

Heaviest Blue Marlin – 657 lbs. – Low Profile – Joe Trainor – Avalon, NJ – $576,209

2nd Heaviest Blue Marlin – 619 lbs. – Lucky 7 – Robert Boyce – Key Largo, FL – $161,011

3rd Heaviest Blue Marlin – 607 lbs. – Kilo Charlie – Christopher Kinsley – Seven Valleys, PA – $580,119

Heaviest Tuna – 210 lbs. – Lucky Duck – Art Boykin – Berlin, MD – $290,050

2nd Heaviest Tuna – 193 lbs. – The Right Place – Bob Hugin – Summit, NJ – $604,376

3rd Heaviest Tuna – 152 lbs. – The Right Place – Bob Hugin – Summit, NJ – $188,638

Heaviest Wahoo (New tournament record) – 104 lbs. – Special Situation – Charles Phelan – Plantation, FL – $65,729

2nd Heaviest Wahoo – 72 lbs. – Craftsmanship – Keith Boyd – Ivyland, PA – $57,528

3rd Heaviest Wahoo – 46 lbs. – Oil Slick – Michael Penza – North Palm Beach, FL – $14,570

Heaviest Dolphin – 43 lbs. – Valentine – Joseph Valentine – Fort Pierce, FL – $78,231

2nd Heaviest Dolphin – 39 lbs. – Lovin’ Life – Billy Wrede – Randolph, NJ – $34,874

3rd Heaviest Dolphin – 33 lbs. – Sea Wolf – Donnie White – Pottstown, PA – $24,722

Huk Billfish Points Calcutta – Cape May

Most Points – 750 – Viking 80 – Pat Healey – New Gretna, NJ – $12,690

2nd Most Points – 604¾ – Lucky 7 – Robert Boyce – Key Largo, FL – $7,614

3rd Most Points – 600 – Outrage – John Dougherty – Villanova, PA – $5,076

Atlantic Tackle Billfish Points Calcutta – Ocean City

Most Points – 1040 – Max Bet – Matthew Weber – Vero Beach, FL – $23,790

2nd Most Points – 868 – Bar South – Rob Gothier, Jr. – York, PA – $14,382

3rd Most Points – 825 – Reel Joy – John Gudelsky – Singer Island, FL – $9,588

The following participants received calcutta winnings for various positions on the leaderboard during the tournament.  Cash payouts vary by the level of calcuttas a participant enters.

White Marlin

65 lbs. – RoShamBo – Nick Shriver – Leonardtown, MD – $276,021

65 lbs. – Max Bet – Matthew Weber – Vero Beach, FL – $39,668

Blue Marlin

539 lbs. – No Quarter – Michael Peet – New Castle, DE – $47,752

528 lbs. – Oil Slick – Michael Penza – North Palm Beach, FL – $11,468

494 lbs. – D.A. Sea – Edward Dunn – Grasonville, MD – $267,937

490 lbs. – Random Chaos – Michael Pintozzi – Langhorne, PA – $32,373

469 lbs. – Three’s Enough – Justin Branning – Manasquan, NJ – $24,665

461 lbs. – Endorphin – Jere Murdoch – Howell, NJ – $29,365

414 lbs. – The Zipper – Eddie Zajdel – Ocean City, MD – $24,402

Tuna

88 lbs. – Random Chaos – Michael Pintozzi – Langhorne, PA – $32,054

84 lbs. – Catch 23 – Michael Jordan – Jupiter, FL – $32,336

82 lbs. – Double R – Rob Rowe – Jacksonville, FL – $3,233

82 lbs. – No Quarter – Michael Peet – New Castle, DE – $3,233

82 lbs. – C-Student – Keely Megarity – Houston, TX – $3,233

82 lbs. – Catch 23 – Michael Jordan – Jupiter, FL – $3,233

82 lbs. – C-Student – Keely Megarity – Houston, TX – $3,233

80 lbs. – Random Chaos – Michael Pintozzi – Langhorne, PA – $32,373

70 lbs. – Endorphin – Jere Murdoch – Howell, NJ – $8,272

69 lbs. – Tara Jessica – Gregory Wendell – Owings Mills, MD – $4,136

Point Winners (Trophies)

Note: Ties are broken based on time of catch.

Most Points White Marlin – 1040 – Max Bet – Matthew Weber – Vero Beach, FL

2nd Most Points White Marlin – 750 – Bar South – Rob Gothier, Jr. – York, PA

3rd Most Points White Marlin – 750 – Viking 80 – Pat Healey – New Gretna, NJ

Most Points Blue Marlin – 450 – Quick Raise – Joe Bernert – Hatboro, PA

2nd Most Points Blue Marlin – 304¾ – Lucky 7 – Robert Boyce – Key Largo, FL

3rd Most Points Blue Marlin – 300 – Reel Joy – John Gudelsky – Singer Island, FL

Most Points Tuna – 174½ – Double R – Rob Rowe – Jacksonville, FL

2nd Most Points Tuna – 172½ – The Right Place – Bob Hugin – Summit, NJ

3rd Most Points Tuna – 168½ – Reel Chaos – Donna Matarese – Pennsville, NJ

Most Points Overall – 1040 – Max Bet – Matthew Weber – Vero Beach, FL

Catch Report

White marlin released – 320

White marlin boated – 14

Blue marlin released – 41

Blue marlin boated – 15

Tuna weighed – 86

Wahoo weighed – 9

Dolphin weighed – 18

Rather than focus on awarding a single large payout for one winning fish, the MidAtlantic tournament prize structure is designed to award large payouts to multiple winners, and this year was no different. Four winners received checks of $576,000 or more while five more received checks of $168,000 or more. An additional five winners received checks of $57,000 or more.

For further information, contact Tournament Director Aaron Hoffman at 609-884-0177 or visit the tournament’s web site at www.themidatlantic.com where you’ll find all the facts, figures and information about this year’s event, including a complete rundown of calcutta payouts, rules and points, as well as an event schedule. On social media follow the MidAtlantic on Facebook at The MidAtlantic Tournament; on Twitter @midatl and on Instagram @themidatlantictournament.

Virginia Beach Billfish Tournament Results

The crew of the Cuttin' Up.

Cuttin’ Up, a 64 Viking owned by Steve Jones and run by his son, Capt. Nick Jones, struck early to win the 19th Annual Virginia Beach Billfish Tournament. With angler Josh Bowen on the rod, the team boated a blue marlin weighing 612.5 pounds on Thursday, good for 612.5 points. That catch held on and won the team a total payout of $281,400. Among the awards were Top Boat, Billfish Jackpot, High Rollers Jackpot, Daily and Blue Marlin Jackpot. Cuttin’ Up also won the Top Overall Angler, Top Crew and the F. Wayne McLeskey Memorial Trophy as the top boat.

Travis Jones and Skip Price are Cuttin’ Up’s mates. The other teammates were Hunter Darouse, Dan Mackey, Ryan McDougal, Dave Darouse, Mitch McDougal and Berton Neighbors, all from Virginia.

The Runner-Ups

Sea Toy, a previous VBBT Champion, made a late charge Saturday to earn second-place honors. Capt. Bull Tolson, David Biggs, Ken and Amanda Cofer, Tommy Fowler, Timmy Cullins and Dan Stephano, along with mates Catlin Peele and Ross Tolson, earned a payout of $113,400 for second-place boat, Billfish Jackpot, High Rollers and Billfish Day (Day 3). Amanda Cofer won the Kitty Falk Memorial Trophy as the top Lady Angler with two billfish releases.

Weldor’s Ark, a 55 Jarrett Bay owned by John Roberts and run by Capt. Dale Britt, was the third-place team overall. The boat released two verified blue marlin and earned $79,800 in prize money. John Roberts was also awarded a trophy as the Top Release Angler for those two fish.

Quick Sweep (57 Spencer) earned fourth-place honors as top boat after taking the Saturday daily. The team released two verified blue marlin and won $159,000, including first-place in the Legacy Jackpot division. Quick Sweep is owned by Brad Adam, with Capt. Jimmy Werling and Westin Bomnskie and Trip Patrick as crew.

Mister Pete, a 58 C&L run by Capt. Alan Neiford and owned by Rusty McClam III, won a payout of $32,400 and the fifth-place boat award after two blues. The team also took second place in the Legacy Jackpot division. Boyce Campsen and Joe West are the boat’s mates.

Other Winners

Daily Billfish Jackpot winners included Waverunner (53 Bobby Sullivan/Capt. Pat Foster) for top daily and Sally Girl (57 Ricky Scarborough/Capt. Jason Krahenbill) for second place. Those payouts were worth $29,400 and $12,600, respectively. BB earned the Wayne Sawyer Victory Lap Hard Charger Award for a double-header on sailfish.

In the Gamefish Divisions, Fender Bender (55 Jarrett Bay) won the top tuna catch after boating a 61.20-pound yellowfin. Alex Strangways was on the rod, with Capt. Colin Oxnard on the flying bridge. Capt. Jake Boltz guided Jeff Hunter to the heaviest wahoo at 58.6 pounds aboard Fly’N Fish, a 43 Cabo. Rob Johnson, fishing aboard SeaFix (61 Richie Howell/Capt. John Thomas), made the most lucrative catch by boating a 18.9-pound dolphin. All three gamefish-take-all prizes were worth $14,000.

The Charity Mystery Fish Drawings were won by Waste Knot, Sea Trader and Don’t Panic. In the other individual awards, Lee Albarty was named the Top Mate aboard Ann Warrick, taking home the Joel Webb Tribute to Excellence Trophy. Capt. Brad Diaz is Ann Warrick’s skipper. Connor Day won the Bryan “Pick” Dalheim Memorial Trophy as the top junior angler for gamefish with his 25.2-pound wahoo (Courtney Beth/Capt. Ryan Dickerson).

A total of 55 billfish were caught during the event, with 53 released. The tally included 16 blues (two boated), 12 sailfish and 27 white marlin. The poundage on wahoo, tuna and dolphin equaled 375.5 pounds.

“The bite wasn’t up to our usual standards to start,” said VBBT Tournament Director Paula Davis. “But we finished with a flourish and I’d like to thank all the teams for joining us again this year. We look forward to celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Virginia Beach Billfish Tournament next August 23-28, 2023.”

The crew of the Cuttin' Up posing with a check for $281,400.

John Wright Photography

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