The Triple Crown Story
Like many things on the northern Gulf Coast it was Sonny Middleton who came up with the original concept of a Billfish Championship Series. It took almost ten years to develop The Gulf Coast Triple Crown into a championship series promoting offshore big game fishing and awarding an annual "best of the best" champion. None of us in the beginning could have envisioned how popular or widespread the series would become.
Somewhat similar in concept to NASCAR, the GCTC tracks official winners in each sanctioned tournament beginning in May at The Wharf in Orange Beach, Alabama, and following the tournament teams through Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida and returning to The Wharf in July. Points are awarded to winning teams for first through third place scores in weighed Blue Marlin, and Billfish catch-and-release divisions.
The beauty of the Triple Crown lies in its simplicity. The series focuses on recognizing the best overall championship team while bringing exposure and recognition to the spectacular big game fishing in the Northern Gulf of Mexico. If you compete in a sanctioned tournament, you're automatically entered and eligible to win...it's that simple. By participating in all sanctioned events on the circuit teams increase their odds of winning by accumulating valuable bonus points.
In July, one team will be crowned the coveted Triple Crown Champions at the Wharf and take home the most sought after Trophy in big game fishing competition. The competition will be fierce as the most competitive teams in the Gulf square off for the Chase for The Championship
Championship Winner will receive:
- The Championship Trophy - a one of a kind masterpiece handcrafted by metal artist extraordinaire James Williams,
- Prominent exposure in the Gulf Coast Triple Crown media campaign,
- Ultimate bragging rights as the "best of the best" along the entire Gulf Coast.
'A Work of Art' Captures First Gulf Coast Triple Crown
92' Viking Leads Tournament Series from Start to Finish
Captain Jason Buck Becomes the First Ever Four Time Champion
For Immediate Release Contact: Jim Cox
The chase for the Gulf Coast Triple Crown, presented by Grander Marine, Invincible
Boats, and Mercury Marine, begins and ends at The Wharf in Orange Beach. Just like the
lead built by 'A Work of Art
' starting back in May.
The 92' Viking from Orange Beach finished third in the weighed Blue Marlin division of
the Orange Beach Billfish Classic while adding a second-place finish in the Catch and
Release division. Captain Jason Buck and crew scored 275-points in the season-opening
event, giving them a 25-point over several competitors after the first sanctioned
tournament. It was a lead they would never relinquish, en route to the championship,
leading wire-to-wire over the four events.
"I've always admired the teams that have won the Triple Crown in the past," said owner
Art Favre. "It's an accomplishment that rewards teams for their season-long consistency.
Every team that has been crowned the champion has been recognized by their peers as
being the best of the best for that year. And we were fortunate enough to have a great
season this year, and I am so proud of our team for winning this championship!"
The only event Favre's team didn't score points was the second tournament in Biloxi, but
they still held their 25-point advantage at the halfway mark of the season.
The third tournament was the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic at Sandestin, Florida.
A Work of Art
caught the heaviest Blue Marlin to win the tournament at 638.7-pounds and
built what proved to be an insurmountable lead of 275 points heading to the season finale
at The Wharf.
A Work of Art
's season-long dominance continued at what is known as 'The Greatest
Show in Sportfishing.' Weighing in, a 557.4-pound Blue Marlin secured a second-place
finish at The Blue Marlin Grand Championship and a run-away victory of the Gulf Coast
Captain Buck, who led Done Deal
to three Gulf Coast Triple Crown Championships in
2012, 2013, and 2018 is now the first-ever four-time Triple Crown Champion. "This a
team achievement. Everyone plays such an important role, starting with Art. He's a
hands-on owner. He does things for us like taking the night watch so the rest of us can get
some sleep and be focused when we need to be. He had some great guys already working
on the boat when I arrived, and I brought in a few of my guys, and we all work really
well together. This is a great honor for all of us."
Chris Bazor of Grander Marine not only sponsors the Gulf Coast Triple Crown but also
competes in the events, so he knows what an accomplishment it is to win. "I truly feel the
teams that tournament fish in the Gulf are some of the best in the world," he said. "So
when you win the Triple Crown, I think it showcases you on the world fishing stage
because the teams down here, like A Work of Art
, are respected worldwide."
It Just Takes Time
, a 72' Viking from Orange Beach, finished in second place with C-Ya
the 74' Spencer, also from Orange Beach, finishing third in the final 2022 Gulf Coast
Triple Crown standings
Congratulations Team Devotion
61' Viking, Orange Beach, AL - Captain Jason Hallmark & Owner Josh Tice
Photo credit: Jenni Guerry Photography
The Wharf; Orange Beach, Alabama:
It wasn't a 'wire-to-wire win, but the team that led the Gulf Coast Triple Crown standings after week one ended up being in that same spot eight tournaments later. Team Devotion, a 61' Viking from Orange Beach, took the lead after winning the Catch and Release division at the Louisiana Billfish Classic back in May and held off fierce competition to claim the 2021 championship.
This year's chase for Gulf's top honor featured four different lead changes over the nine sanctioned tournament series. After falling out of the top spot, Captain Jason Hallmark and mates Ben Arnold and Tyler Matherne added to their point total with a second-place finish at the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic's weighed Blue Marlin division. Their 472-pound fish put them back in contention at third place with two tournaments remaining.
A few weeks later, a second-place finish at the Pensacola Big Game Fishing Club's International Tournament vaulted them into first place heading into the series finale, the Blue Marlin Grand Championship. Ten teams all had a shot at winning the Gulf Coast Triple Crown, entering 'The Greatest Show in Sportfishing' at The Wharf in Orange Beach. But after the tournament, the standings didn't change, and Hallmark joined an exclusive group of captains to become a Gulf Coast Triple Crown Champion. "To have my name alongside those other great captains who have won it in the past...some of the best captains and fishermen in the world...that's an unbelievable honor for me and our team," said the victorious captain.
Big game fishing is, of course, a team sport, and Hallmark credits team owner Josh Tice for allowing him to assemble the championship team on Devotion. "Josh enabled me to put together an outstanding crew which is what gave us a chance to win. There is so much talent fishing on other teams in our part of the Gulf, if your crew isn't great, you have no shot at winning," said Hallmark. "My style is to always make our plan together as a team and get input from my guys. The Blue Marlin we caught at the ECBC was because Ben felt really strongly about where we should fish that weekend. I was thinking of going somewhere else, but we decided to go with Ben's idea, and it ended up being the right choice which eventually led us to win the Triple Crown," said Hallmark. "I know everyone says it's a team effort, but with us, it really is, and I feel very, very fortunate to be a part of this team."
2021 was the first year of fishing together for Tice and Hallmark, and the owner credits his captain not only for his fishing ability but also for who he brings on the boat. "That is one of Jason's greatest strengths, is to be able to put together an excellent crew. I think he's the best captain in the Gulf, and a big part of that is the team he can assemble. That has always been a trademark of his, being able to attract top talent to the boat he is running."
Pearl Earns the 2020 Gulf Coast Triple Crown Championship After Convincing Win in the BMGC
Photo credit: Jenni Guerry Photography
The Wharf; Orange Beach, Alabama:
After a three-hour battle Pearl
, a 48 Viking based in Orange Beach, Alabama, weighed a 642.2-pound marlin to earn the top honors in the 2020 Blue Marlin Grand Championship. The first-place finish catapulted the team to this year's Gulf Coast Triple Crown Championship title. The boat is owned by Andy Yarborough and was run by Capt. Bo Keough for the BMGC.
This marks the first time the Triple Crown title has been determined by a win at the Blue Marlin Grand Championship. That win, together with participation points, helped Pearl accumulate the 600 Triple Crown points overall needed to take the trophy. Grander Marine, Invincible Boats and Mercury Outboards are the Presenting Sponsors of the 2020 Gulf Coast Triple Crown Championship.
With its victory, Pearl
is taking home the exquisite Frank Ledbetter custom marlin sculpture, a five-foot tall stainless steel trophy. Permanent plaques will be displayed at the Signature Perpetual Trophy on display at The Wharf Outfitter Store, as well as on the iconic Wharf Marlin Tower. The team also earned bragging rights among the elite teams competing on the Gulf of Mexico big-game fishing circuit.
started the season with the first-place weighed blue marlin in the Orange Beach Billfish Classic, a 603.2-pound entry. The team also earned participation points in the Cajun Canyons Billfish Classic, Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic and the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic. The other team members for the BMGC win included Edgar McKee and mates Hunter Green and Kolby Thorton.
"It was a very special moment for Pearl
to win the Triple Crown Championship," Yarborough explains. "I would like to extend sincere thanks, gratitude and love to all the people who've helped make this possible for our team this season."
Relentless Pursuit Repeats as Gulf Coast Triple Crown Champion
Posted: Friday, July 12, 2019 1:20 PM
The Wharf; Orange Beach, Alabama:
In another close finish, Relentless Pursuit
, a 95 Jim Smith based in Venice, Louisiana, was named the 2019 Gulf Coast Triple Crown Champion. This season marks the second time the boat has earned top honors, following a 2015 championship run. Relentless Pursuit
is owned by Dennis Pastentine, with Capt. Robbie Doggett the boat's long-time skipper. In addition to bragging rights for another season, the team takes home a custom Frank Ledbetter metal marlin sculpture and $31,625 in cash including optional entry categories.
The Gulf Coast Triple Crown Championship is composed of the top five big-game tournaments in the region. The Blue Marlin Grand Championship is historically the last leg, but with Tropical Storm Barry moving west across the prime offshore waters, the tournament was cancelled for safety reasons. Done Deal
, a three-time Triple Crown Champion, was tied with Relentless Pursuit
before fishing started. Ties are determined by the largest marlin landed, which gave Relentless Pursuit
the winning combination.
"During the Orange Beach Billfish Classic we left the dock at noon and ran four hours to reach 130 miles offshore," Doggett explained. "Within 45 minutes we were already hooked up by the time other boats got there. The fight lasted an hour and 45 minutes. We slowly eased back in and weighed the fish the next morning." That winning 658.2-pound blue marlin was caught on a trolled ballyhoo skirted with a pink Islander lure.
"We call it Stinky Pinky once the ballyhoo is added," Doggett says with a laugh. "We strictly troll to cover more water and have an arsenal of 60 lures in various shades of blue, silver, purple, green and yellow. We run two rods each off the outriggers and two flat lines. We don't have the patience to live bait, but we've been pretty successful with our style of fishing."
In addition to the OBBC win, Relentless Pursuit
won the Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic with three blue marlin releases (no billfish were weighed) and earned series bonus participation points. Done Deal
also finished with 625 points from second place release awards in the Cajun Canyons Billfish Classic and the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic, plus bonus points. Katie Gonsoulin was the angler on Done Deal
's big fish, a 535.5-pound blue, good for a second-place finish in the CCBC. Jason Buck is the boat's captain and Jon Gonsoulin is the owner. Fleur de Lis
, a 72 Viking run by Capt. Scooter Porto and owned by Jeff Landry, was the third-place team in the 2019 GCTC standings with 500 points. The boat weighed the heaviest blue (602.7 pounds, angler Hunter Myers) in the CCBC, along with bonus points. Fleur de Lis
is based in Grand Isle, Louisiana.
"This was a total team effort," Doggett says of the 2019 Championship run. "This season was all about our former team mate, Dale Artigue, who passed away just before the holidays. His spirit was always with us in the cockpit. There are so many talented and hard-working crews fishing the Gulf that it makes competing against guys of this caliber such an incredible experience."
Marking its ninth season, the 2019 Gulf Coast Triple Crown Championship was presented by Invincible Boats and Grander Marine. The five legs include the Orange Beach Billfish Classic, the Cajun Canyons Billfish Classic, the Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic, the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic and the Blue Marlin Grand Championship.
For 2019 GCTC Director Scott Burt 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. Relentless Pursuit
will now have to decide where to display its second GCTC Championship blue marlin.
"It was a tough season with all the weather issues, but Capt. Robbie, Dennis and Team Relentless Pursuit
once again lived up to the boat's name and came out on top," Burt said. "Congratulations to them and well done to all the competing boats. We look forward to another exciting finish as the Gulf Coast Triple Crown Championship celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2020."
JULY 17, 2018
Done Deal Wins the Gulf Coast Triple Crown Championship For A Record Third Time
The third time is yet another charming and gleaming trophy for Jon and his daughter Katie, Captain Jason Buck and Done Deal team. With the Gulf Coast Triple Crown Championship lead heading into the Blue Marlin Grand Championship last week, the Houma, Louisiana crew earned its third title overall after a dominant performance. Done Deal was named Top Release Team with four blues and one white marlin to its credit. It also took the second-place Tournament Award after landing a 640.8-pound blue. Petite Katie Gonsoulin whipped that fish after an eight-hour battle in the chair.
Since its creation, Done Deal is the only team to repeat as Triple Crown Champions. The team accomplished the feat in back to back seasons in 2012 and 2013. The third crown in 2018 sets a new incredible standard for competitive marlin fishing in the Gulf.
"We've been fishing hard since 2013 to win the Crown again," Jon Gonsoulin said. "Adding Katie to the team as our designated angler has made it more special. There are a lot of great crews in the Gulf. But there's only one Jason Buck."
The late Sonny Middleton came up with the concept of the Triple Crown and Director Scott Burt helped develop and nurture it over the last seven-plus years.
"Sonny always thought the Triple Crown was a way to bring all the teams together," Buck explained. "Sonny was the godfather of sport-fishing in the Gulf. So I hope we're making him proud by claiming our third championship."
The Gulf Coast Triple Crown Championship consists of five sanctioned events in the central Gulf of Mexico and is sponsored by American Marine Brokerage. The affiliated tournaments include the Orange Beach Billfish Classic, Cajun Canyons Billfish Classic, Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic, Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic and the Blue Marlin Grand Championship.
The Triple Crown is scored on a hybrid system that includes both weight and release points for the top three finishes in the blue marlin divisions only. Bonus points are also accrued for series participation, weighed marlin lengths and tournament marlin records. The winning team receives The Championship Trophy, a five-foot tall, one of a kind masterpiece handcrafted by metal artist Frank Ledbetter. In addition, the Triple Crown Champion earns $12,500 and bragging rights among the Gulf's top big-game competitors.
Done Deal wrapped up the season with 921 points. That tally included first place and a tournament record blue in the Orange Beach Billfish Classic, second place catch and release in the Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic, second place in the Blue Marlin Grand Championship and bonus participation points.
Reel Addiction, a 56 Viking owned by Rocky Jones of Pensacola and run by Capt. Scooter Porto, finished second in the standings with 700 points. Reel Addiction had the second place fish in the Cajun Canyons Billfish Classic, first place in the Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic and earned bonus points for competing in all five events.
Rounding out third place was Wynsong, a 66 Viking based in Destin and run by Capt. Allen Staples. The team earned 610 points based on bonus points and a first-place win and second-place release honors in the Cajun Canyon tournament.
"Congratulations to Jon, Katie, Jason and the entire Done Deal team for another stellar season. The competition was intense, but you truly demonstrated your skill level and commitment to winning," said GCTC Director Scott Burt. "Done Deal has established a dynasty in Gulf sport-fishing that is going to be really hard to top."
Mollie Brings 2017 Gulf Coast Triple Crown Championship to Florida
For the first time in its seven-year history a company boat has won the prestigious Gulf Coast Triple Crown Championship. Mollie
, a 66 G&S owned by the Tractor and Equipment Company in Birmingham and operated by Capt. Jeff Shoults of Destin, Florida, captured the title after competing in the Blue Marlin Grand Championship that just concluded. Eric Hayles and Chance Young are the two mates working the cockpit of the custom sportfisher. Unlike previous years where private yachts earned top billing, Mollie
had different sets of anglers for each event.
"It is a little more difficult dealing with different teams each tournament," Shoults said at the awards presentation. "But my crew makes it easy by explaining what's going on and keeping everything together. We worked hard this season and I'm confident we're going to win some more money in future tournaments. But at this point in our careers, it's very gratifying to win this trophy and to be recognized among our peers."
The Gulf Coast Triple Crown Championship consists of five events in the central Gulf of Mexico and is sponsored by American Marine Brokerage. The affiliated tournaments include the Orange Beach Billfish Classic, Cajun Canyons Billfish Classic, Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic, Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic and the Blue Marlin Grand Championship.
The Triple Crown is scored on a hybrid system that includes both weight and release points for the top three finishes in the blue marlin divisions only. Bonus points are also accrued for series participation, weighed marlin lengths and tournament marlin records. The winning team receives The Championship Trophy, a seven-foot tall, one of a kind masterpiece handcrafted by metal artist Frank Ledbetter. In addition, the Triple Crown Champion earns bragging rights amongst the region's top big-game contestants.
In winning the exquisite marlin sculpture and honors this season, Mollie
placed second in the Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic with a blue weighing 654.2 pounds and was also named the top release boat with four more blue marlin credited. The team also earned bonus points for fishing the circuit and length allowances, for a total of 410 points.
, a 62 Viking owned by Bob Lyons, with Capt. Daniel Menard and mates Robert Eliason and Kendall Sauls, finished second in the standings with 350 points. Team Supreme
was third with 285 points. The 76 Viking is owned by Allen Krake, with Capt. Chase Lake and mate Rodney Johnson as the crew.
The Triple Crown Championship has now made its way across the Gulf. Patron
took it home to Texas in 2011 and Done Deal
captured it twice in 2012 and 2013 to represent Louisiana. Sea Mixer
put Alabama on the map in 2014, while Relentless Pursuit
gave Louisiana another showcase in 2015. Breathe Easy
(Alabama) was last year's winner.
"The Triple Crown Championship trophy will be right at home in Destin with its long sport-fishing heritage," says GCTC Director Scott Burt. "Congratulations to Capt. Jeff, Eric, Chance and all of Mollie
's anglers for an outstanding year. This boat is always a contender in the Gulf tournaments and now they have the hardware to match that skill and dedication."
Breathe Easy Wins the 2016 Gulf Coast Triple Crown Championship
The Best of The Best in The Gulf!
Captain: Patrick Ivie, Owner: Matt McDonald, Home Port: Orange Beach, AL, Boat: 68' Viking
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JULY 20, 2016
CONTACT: Scott Burt, 850-233-1633
Chris Miller, 850-348-1498
The Wharf, Orange Beach, Alabama:
From wire to wire one team led the field and on Saturday night the results were made official - Breathe Easy
is the 2016 Gulf Coast Triple Crown Champion. The 68 Viking, based in Orange Beach, is owned by Matt McDonald of Daphne, Alabama. Captain Patrick Ivie, also from Orange Beach, is the boat's skipper, with first mate Nick Knoepflein plus Shane Toole and Ryan Fields serving as additional crew members. American Marine Brokerage
was this year's GCTC presenting sponsor.
"This is really a big deal to clinch this here at home," McDonald said after the formal presentation of the custom trophy Sunday morning. "It all started when I hired Patrick. I've known him for years, but he took a leap of faith in me coming aboard and it's humbling to have that kind of dedication. Once he did, I knew the Triple Crown was a possibility. You always think big but you also have to be real about it too. Winning this took a lot of luck and hard work. It's not something that happens every season so we're definitely going to enjoy it."
The Gulf Coast Triple Crown Championship consists of five events in the central Gulf of Mexico. The affiliated tournaments include the Orange Beach Billfish Classic
, Cajun Canyons Billfish Classic
, Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic
, Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic
and the Blue Marlin Grand Championship
The Triple Crown is scored on a hybrid system that includes both weight and release points for the top three finishes in the blue marlin divisions only. Bonus points are also accrued for series participation, weighed marlin lengths and tournament marlin records. The winning team receives The Championship Trophy
, a seven-foot tall, one of a kind masterpiece handcrafted by metal artist Frank Ledbetter . In addition, the Triple Crown Champion earns bragging rights amongst the region's top big-game contestants.
To win the crown this season, Breathe Easy placed second in the Orange Beach Billfish Classic with a 574.0-pound blue, third place in the Cajun Canyons Billfish Classic with a 392.3-pounder, and second place in the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic. That last entry, a 835-pounder, missed first place by less than three pounds. The team also earned bonus points for competing in all five events, along with length allowances, for a total of 580 points.
"The Triple Crown is not just a one-time deal," says Ivie. "It is a seasonal accomplishment and really means a lot since we were competing against the best in the world as far as the style of fishing that we do. I owe this to Matt and my crew. All my guys grew up on charter boats like me, so we all have the same background. That really helps."
Sherry and Buell Polk, owners of Share-E, a brand new 72 Viking run by Capt. Mike Roberto, made a late charge at the crown by weighing a 652.8 blue at last week's Blue Marlin Grand Championship. But that fish wasn't quite enough and the team had to settle for second place in the GCTC standings with 460 points. Share-E is based in Venice, Louisiana.
Last year's runner-up, Rise Up, came in third this time with 365 points. The 54 Viking is owned by Rusty Skalla and calls Destin, Florida home. Capt. Jason Hallmark is the boat's skipper.
"Congratulations to Matt, Capt. Patrick and the entire Breathe Easy team for an outstanding season," says Scott Burt, GCTC director. "They started out strong and never looked back as they piled up catch after catch. Share-E, Rise Up and some other contenders made a strong push only to come up a little short. That just shows the caliber of the teams and the competitive spirit on display every summer here in the prolific Gulf."
Dennis Pastentine and his veteran team aboard Relentless Pursuit
, a 95 Jim Smith based in New Orleans, took the Gulf Coast Triple Crown Championship in 2015. With Captain Robbie Doggett as skipper, Michael Akiu and Jerry Morrison as mates, Relentless Pursuit
started strong by winning the Cajun Canyons Billfish Classic and competed in all five events that comprise the series.
RELENTLESS PURSUIT WINS
July 14, 2015; Orange Beach, Alabama:
2015 GULF COAST TRIPLE CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP
Dennis Pastentine and his veteran team aboard Relentless Pursuit
, a 95 Jim Smith based in New Orleans, Louisiana, are the 2015 Gulf Coast Triple Crown Champions. Captain Robbie Doggett is the skipper, with Michael Akiu and Jerry Morrison as mates. Relentless Pursuit
started strong by winning the Cajun Canyons Billfish Classic and competed in all five events that comprise the series. The Grand Marlin Restaurant and Oyster Bar and Gulf Coast Yacht Group were the 2015 Presenting Sponsors.
Pastentine caught the winning blue marlin, a 508.1-pounder during the Cajun Classic and also took top release honors by adding four blue marlin to his overall tally. During the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic in Sandestin, he released a blue and two white marlin. The boat also fished hard in the other qualifying events, including the Orange Beach Billfish Classic, the Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic and the Blue Marlin Grand Championship. By competing in all events, Relentless Pursuit
earned bonus points which proved to be the difference.
, a 54 Viking owned by Rusty Skalla, was the first runner-up in the 2015 series. Rise Up
was the top boat of the Orange Beach Billfish Classic after weighing a 502-pound blue marlin. Capt. Jason Hallmark is the skipper of the Destin-based sportfisher.
Owner/captain Johnny Dorland and his team aboard Cotton Patch
, a 60 Hatteras based in Orange Beach, Alabama, came in third in the points standings. Cotton Patch
outlasted a blue marlin weighing 899.6 pounds in the Emerald Coast event to take first place. As a new tournament record, the team also received bonus points in the Triple Crown standings.
The Triple Crown is scored on a hybrid system that includes both weight and release points for the top three finishes in the blue marlin divisions only. Bonus points are also accrued for series participation and tournament marlin records.
Dana Foster and Capt. Myles Colley on Born2Run
made a late run at the crown, only to come up a little short. The 63 Hatteras won third place in the Blue Marlin Grand Championship based solely on release points, but Relentless Pursuit
's early lead was too much to overcome. The other teams in the Championship race included past two-time champion Done Deal
, You Never Know!
and Ono Ocean
. Fishing partners Palmer Long and Bob Sossaman were so determined to compete they chartered a boat to fish Emerald Coast when the Ono Ocean
broke down. For their efforts, they were awarded the Busted Piston hard-luck award at the BMGC.
As Triple Crown Champions Relentless Pursuit
won a six-foot custom marlin sculpture by marine artist Frank Ledbetter and bragging rights for the competitive Gulf tournament circuit.
"Starting at Steve Thomas' Canyon Classic, Relentless Pursuit
relentlessly charged forward and never looked back," Tournament Director Scott Burt explained. "They just kept coming and they are the Champions today because of that competitive spirit. Congratulations to Dennis and Team Relentless Pursuit
on a great Gulf season."
, a 66 Spencer owned by Ronald Davis and run by Capt. Devin Potts, was declared the third-place winner in the 2014 Blue Marlin Grand Championship when Chris Davis caught a 368.2-pound blue marlin and Tyler Davis released another one. With that third place finish, and their top finishes that year in the other four tournaments of the series, Sea Mixer
stepped up to grab the coveted 2014 Gulf Coast Triple Crown Championship trophy, and with that win dashed Done Deal's
chance for a three-peat.
Sea Mixer Wins 2014 Gulf Coast Triple Crown Championship
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 14, 2014
Contact: Scott Burt, 850-233-1633
, a 66 Spencer owned by Ronald Davis of Orange Beach, Alabama, was crowned the 2014 Gulf Coast Triple Crown Champion after a third-place finish in Blue Marlin Grand Championship last weekend. Led by Capt. Devin Potts, the family team won the title after earning the most points in the grueling five-tournament Gulf series.
"It's a dream come true," Davis said after the results were announced at Sunday's awards breakfast at The Wharf in Orange Beach, Alabama. "The main thing is it was accomplished by my whole family and crew. It was a total team effort."
compiled 700 points based on first place in the Orange Beach Billfish Classic with a 528.6-pound blue marlin, a 708.6-pound first-place blue in the Cajun Canyons Billfish Classic in Venice, Louisiana, and a 368.2-pound marlin in the just-completed BMGC. Davis and his family also competed in the Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic in Biloxi and the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic in Sandestin, the other two qualifying events. Sea Mixer
used a live bait in the Green Canyon to land the marlin that put them over the top last weekend.
Triple Crown points are earned by winning the top three spots in blue marlin weight or catch-and-release divisions. Bonus points are also scored if a boat breaks an existing blue marlin tournament record and competes in all five sanctioned events.
Team Reel Worthless
came in second in the 2014 Triple Crown standings, followed by the preceding two-time champion Done Deal
. Reel Worthless
was the top release boat in the Canyons Classic, took third place in the blue marlin weight division in the MGCBC and caught the only blue marlin weighed in the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic. The team's first place tuna award in the Orange Beach Billfish Classic and fourth-place marlin award in the Grand Championship did not accrue any points.
, Triple Crown winner the past two years, was the top release boat in the OBBC and ECBC. All three boats earned extra points for fishing the five tournaments.
takes home a beautiful 6-foot metal marlin sculpture created by marine artist Frank Ledbetter and bragging rights for the next year. Davis said he didn't think the outcome would be this close.
"It's a special honor to compete with some really great boats and owners," he said. "It was pretty challenging and took a lot of commitment. We'll see if I'm personally able to defend the title next year. There are no guarantees and at 71, the Triple Crown competition stressed me out a lot. But Sea Mixer
and my family will definitely be in the mix next year, for sure."
Not yet ready to turn down the heat, the Done Deal boys from Louisiana fought their way through all five 2013 qualifying events and once again found themselves back at the winner's table, snatching up the coveted GCTC trophy for a second consecutive year in 2013. What could be better than a beautiful six-foot custom stainless steel marlin sculpture by renowned marine artist Frank Ledbetter? How about 2012/2013 bookends?
DONE DEAL REPEATS AS 2013 GULF TRIPLE CROWN CHAMPION
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JULY 15, 2013
Orange Beach, Alabama: Done Deal
has done it again. Coming off one of the most successful campaigns in big-game fishing, the 56-foot Viking based in Houma, Louisiana, was declared the 2013 Gulf Coast Triple Crown Champion yesterday at the conclusion of the last qualifying event.
Owner Jon Gonsoulin, Capt. Jason Buck, mates Lance Hightower and Travis Dorland and anglers Trevor Lott, Billy Cemac, Mike LaSalle and David Lebouf caught a 445.2-pound blue marlin and a 76.6-pound yellowfin tuna during the just-concluded Blue Marlin Grand Championship. Even though those fish did not earn the team any qualifying points, participation in that tournament along with the other four qualifiers gave it enough bonus points to earn the top standing. Breathe Reel Deep, You Never Know!, Reel Fire, CE
and Pipe Dream
were also final contenders for the title.
The GCTCC was created to recognize the top sportfishing team on the highly-competitive Gulf of Mexico blue marlin circuit. The original concept was the brainchild of Sonny Middleton of Middleton Marine, a long-time advocate of sport fishing and boating in the Gulf. Under the format points are accrued for first through third place finishes in the blue marlin divisions, catch-and-release divisions, as well as first-place finishes in the tuna, wahoo and dolphin categories. In addition to the Blue Marlin Grand Championship, other participating events include the Mobile Big Game Fishing Club's Memorial Day Tournament, the Cajun Canyons Billfish Classic, the Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic and the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic.
Along with bragging rights for another year, Done Deal
wins a beautiful six-foot custom stainless steel marlin sculpture by renowned marine artist Frank Ledbetter. The team will also be styling in custom-embroidered Columbia fishing shirts.
"I tip my hat to Team Breathe Reel Deep
," Gonsoulin said at the awards presentation. "They were neck and neck with us all year. They had a great run.
"This really means a lot to me and my team," he added, "And we'll definitely be back again next year to defend our title against this very top-notch competition."
2012 was the year of the Done Deal fishing out of Houma Louisiana. After a dream season of unbelievable tournament success, Jon Gonsoulin loaded the 2012 Trophy in his Citation jet after the Blue Marlin Grand Championship and flew it home to Louisiana. Nobody came close to catching the Done Deal as Jon proved once again the old adage, when you're hot...you're hot.
2011 saw the GCTC introduced for the first time at Bobby Carter's Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic at the popular Isle of Capri Casino in Biloxi. Reaction from anglers and crew was immediate and overwhelmingly positive. The excitement continued to build throughout the tournament circuit and culminated in a virtual tie at the conclusion remarkably similar to NASCAR's tie between Tony Steward and Carl Edwards that year. "Team Patron" would break the tie and take the inaugural Frank Ledbetter GCTC Trophy home to Texas.
Patron Wins the 2011 Gulf Coast Triple Crown
July 10, 2011: What an exciting finish! After three events two boats are tied for first, with both Patron and Pipe Dream boasting 398 points. The tie goes to the largest Blue Marlin weighed, and Patron's 702.5 pound Blue Marlin weighed at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic edged out the 665 pound fish weighed by Pipe Dream at the Bay Point Invitational.
|First Place Blue Marlin, Biloxi
|First Place Blue Marlin, Bay Point
|First Place C/R, Biloxi, Second Place Tuna, Bay Point
|First Place C/R, Destin
|TESTING THE WATER
|Third Place Blue Marlin, Biloxi, Third Place Dolphin, Bay Point
|First Place Dolphin, Third Place C/R Bay Point
|Third Place C/R, Destin, Third Place Wahoo, Bay Point
|First Place Tuna, Bay Point
|Second Place Tuna, Biloxi
|YOU NEVER KNOW!
|Second Place Tuna, Destin