For the third time in the 26 year history of the World Cup Blue Marlin Championship (World Cup), a grander marlin won the event. In the unique World Cup, only 1 team wins the prize. There is no second place in the 1 day world wide tournament which takes place on the fourth of July annually. The winning team fishing aboard the Happy Hooker in the Cape Verde Islands consisted of Captain Berno Niebuhr from Germany and angler Chris Brand from Portugal. It is the first time in the history of the World Cup that a team has scored a repeat victory. Niebuhr and Brand also won the event in 2006 with an 850 lb blue marlin. Also aboard for the epic catch were gaff man Amilton Gomez Barros, wire man Antonio Da Cruz Gomez and Vincent Cox who video taped the catch.
There were 149 teams fishing in 17 locations around the globe. Each team fishes from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM in their time zone. Fishing starts on the far side of the dateline in Vanuatu and New Guinea and concludes in Hawaii and French Polynesia.
Since the heaviest blue marlin over 500 lb wins, as soon as a fish is weighed in, the information is spread to the rest of the teams so they will know what they have to beat and smaller fish can be released. The number of teams set a World Cup record for participation and generated prize money of well over $350,000. there was a separate pool called the Big Blue Challenge with 34 teams entered. None of those teams caught a 500 lb marlin, so an additional $130,000 plus will be returned in accordance with World Cup rules. Three other marlin were landed prior to the Happy Hooker calling in the weight of their fish. A team fishing on La Onda Emma with captain Wolfgang Maier, also fishing in the Cape Verde Islands, landed a 511 lb blue. In the Canary Islands, Hedonist, with captain Manuel Ramirez boated a 600 lb marlin, and in Madeira, off the coast of Portugal, the team aboard Audaz brought a 546 lb marlin to the scales. Unfortunately none of these teams were entered in the Big Blue Challenge.
Fishing hot spots Bermuda and Kona, Hawaii were uncharacteristically slow on July 4. Each location had produced 6 World Cup winners over past years. This year, 49 World Cup teams in Bermuda failed to catch a fish over 500 lbs although a few smaller marlin were released. In Kona, not a single blue marlin was caught by the 44 boat fleet. Madeira, with 14 teams entered also reported slower than usual fishing. Three World Cup winners have come from Madeira in the past.
The only other 2 World Cup winners over 1000 lb came from Bermuda. They were an 1189 lb blue caught by Martin Estis aboard Tripleplay in 2004 and Don Hunt’s 1195 lb winner on Challenger in 1993.
For the first time, World Cup hookup by hookup action was posted on Facebook and Twitter which produced a large following around the world. The real time leading catch, sponsored by Black Bart Lures, was also posted on the World Cup web site, www.bluemarlinworldcup.com.
Mike Leech, Tournament Director said he was pleased with the record participation considering the weak world economy. He also noted that communications ran very smoothly with the help of constant updates posted on the social networks.
(Official Report from Mike Leech from bluemarlinworldcup.com)