IT’S BIG OH ALL THE WAY
14TH ANNUAL LA GUAIRA SHOOTOUT IN VENEZUELA
Starting with the first catch
of the tournament in the 14th annual edition of the prestigious
International La Guaira Billfish Shootout held April 9th to 12th, and up
until the signal for lines out on the third and final day of fishing, the
Fort Lauderdale team fishing aboard Big Oh held the lead over the other 22
teams in the tournament amassing an impressive total of 6,860 points with 12
blue marlin, 3 sailfish and a white marlin during the three days. Not only
did they win the overall pot but they also took all three dailies! The 2008
Shootout was once again the first leg of the Spanish Main Caribbean Series
and Big Oh was one of six boats that were competing in that series during
the Shootout, so the impressive win was doubly important for them.
In an event where anglers from the U.S., Europe, Aruba, Puerto Rico and
Venezuela competed, characterized by atypical conditions with greenish
currents and below average water temperatures resulting in very slow fishing
during the first two days, the fleet of 23 tournament boats still managed to
release a total of 88 billfish with 67 blue marlin, 20 sails and one white
Second place in the team category was taken by another Florida team fishing
aboard Prime Time with 3,870 points who battled with the Venezuelan/Puerto
Rican team aboard Blue Bird up until the last hour of fishing to decide who
would take second and who would take third place. Blue Bird finished with a
total of 3,500 points.
In the top individual angler standings three Floridians took top honors.
Kevin Paul of Big Oh with 2,730 points was the tournaments high point
angler, followed by Tom Wichers who fished aboard Prime Time with 2,260
points and Big Oh team mate Jimmy Fields with 2,210 points.
The winning teams received elegant sculpture trophies by Venezuelan sculptor
Jose Manuel Rodriguez while each of the top three individual anglers
received the Mustad Hooks Silver Hook Trophy. All the winners took home a
hefty sum in cash as well as luxury items from Hook & Tackle, Gameface Gear,
Leeward Rods, Pompanette, Shimano Reels, Pescador Brand Apparel, Diplomatico
Rum and Globalstar Venezuela Electronics.
A good portion of the proceeds was donated to Fundacion Amigos del Niño Con
Cancer (Friends of Children with Cancer Foundation FANCC www.fncancer.org.ve)
with several of the young patients present during the social events. In
fact, one of the younger cancer patient boys threw out the ‘first pitch’ in
the annual Venezuela vs The World softball game hosted by Pepsi and Solera
Premium Beer held on the lay-day Friday April 11th, where Venezuela
prevailed for the third year in a row this time by a score of 16 to 8.
Plans are already under way for the Venezuelan International Super Slam
scheduled for September 25th thru 29th. For additional information about
these and other interesting international tournaments visit
www.intlbillfishtourns.com or cal 305 213 5521.