Luis Bacardi’s 57-foot Bertram, Rum Bum, made a clean sweep of the 5th annual Bermuda Triangle Series (BTS) by winning all three legs. Bacardi himself went down in the history books as the first angler to win all three legs, adding three more precious gems to his Ed Pang gold hook-shaped pendant.
The BTS kicked-off with the Bahamas Open held June 10-13 and fished within the Abaco Billfish Challenge (ABC) in Boat Harbour. Four teams took to the waters to test their fish-catching abilities: Brooks Smith’s Team Uno Mas, Allan Bir’s Team Perfect Parts and Bacardi’s Team Rum Bum. Alexis Jacob’s Team Real Obsession joined for this leg only. Day One saw Uno Mas and Perfect Parts both score a blue marlin release, with Uno Mas leading on time. Come Day Two, Rum Bum was high boat of the day with two blue marlin releases. Fishing was slowest Day Three, but Perfect Parts added to their score with a blue marlin release while Rum Bum released a white.
“That last day, we pulled the hook on a marlin 2 seconds before the swivel hit the rod tip, so we disqualified it,” says Dave ‘Pompano’ Wimberly, mate on Rum Bum. “That would have been our third marlin for the tournament.”
In the final tally, Team Rum Bum won this first leg of the BTS with two blues and one white for 1050 points, while Allan Bir’s Team Perfect Parts finished second with two blues for 800 points. Reel Obsession placed third in this leg with the release of a blue and white for 650 points, but it was Brooks Smith’s Team Uno Mas who placed third in the series with one blue for 400 points.
“All legs of our series are ‘open’ to boats in the area and boats can join as a local entry and win prizes for the leg,” says tournament director, Jimmy Loveland.
Rum Bum’s Bacardi scored Top Angler for the Bahamas leg and pocketed a sapphire-for his previously won Ed Pang gold hook pendant.
Exhilarated by their win, Rum Bum’s crew set off on a 700-plus-mile crossing from the Bahamas to Bermuda for the BTS’s second leg.
Wimberly says, “We never took a single wave higher than the hull. It was glass, real calm, a nice trip. We made it in about 50 hours.”
The three-day Bermuda Open, held out of Hamilton, got under way July 6 with two teams: Rum Bum and Perfect Parts. Team Uno Mas sat out this leg; opting to go to St. Thomas instead, series rules require fishing two of the three legs.
Neither Rum Bum nor Perfect Parts released a billfish Day One, but blues and whites were seen in this granderland. Come Day Two, Rum Bum released a small (200-pound) blue. Finally, with flat calm seas in spite of Hurricane Bertha stirring to the south, Rum Bum released another two blues on Day Three.
“The fish are really aggressive in Bermuda,” says Rum Bum’s Wimberly. “But, you can’t see them tease up like in St. Thomas. I pride myself on being able to see the bite first, but here, you can look straight at the lure and never see it.”
Rum Bum won the BTS leg two with 3 blue marlin released on 50-pound test for 1200 points.
“While anglers can choose to use any line test – 50, 80 or 130 – they used 50 here in Bermuda in order to gain maximum points for their releases,” says Loveland. Loveland added “Next year we plan to open up a heavy-weight division with a separate Calcutta for those not fishing the series.”
Bacardi also won Top Angler for the Bermuda leg, picking up a ruby to be added to his Ed Pang gold hook pendant.
Series standings heading in the last leg, the USVI Open, fished inside of the USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament (ABMT) August 13-17, were Team Rum Bum in the lead with 2250 series points, Team Perfect Parts with 800 series points, and Team Uno Mas with 400 series points.
Team Rum Bum stretched their lead in the BTS even further with the release of 10 blue marlin to win both the ABMT and third BTS leg.
Of the ABMT, Wimberly says, “It’s the Superbowl of sports fishing and we figured if we won it, the BTS would take care of itself.”
He adds, “We just went out there each day and set our minds on catching all we saw. Let me tell you, it was really physical out there. The fish were really aggressive. You can’t make a mistake. It’s the best of the best fishing out there and we feel blessed to have won.”
In final tally, Team Rum Bum earned Top Team of the 2008 BTS series with 6550 points. Luis Bacardi finished as Top Series Angler, winning yet another stone for his gold hook pendant, this one a diamond. Team Perfect Parts finished second with 2000 points and Team Uno Mas third with 1200 points.
“We thank the teams who participated in 2008 BTS,” says Loveland, “and invite them back next year as well as other teams that want to catch fish in some of the best billfishing grounds in the world.”