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Capt. Bob Lewis Boat Center-Yamaha Billfish Challenge - March 3 & 4, 2007

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Tournament Dates:

Captain's Meeting:
Thursday, March 1, 2007
Fishing Days:
March 3 & 4, 2007

Events Calendar:

Checkout the list of event times and dates: captain’s meeting, fishing days, awards ceremony and the Kid’s Fishing Challenge. Click here

Prizes & Awards:

We paid out over $143,000 in 2006! Checkout this year’s prize and award divisions: Billfish Division, Fun Fish, The Challenge, Fort Knox & Pirate’s Chest. Click here

About Us:

The Capt. Bob Lewis Billfish Challenge is an invitational event limited to 65 paid boats. Last year’s participants must respond by January 15, 2006, with their intentions of fishing the event. The remaining available positions will be filled from the waiting list on a first come basis until the 65- paid boat limit is fulfilled. Read More

Above It All
By Sam White Eric West
Courtesy of the World Billfish Series

While the technique of using a kite to deploy a fisherman’s baited line can trace its origins back to the ancient Chinese and the innovative Pacific islanders, it was Capt. Bob Lewis that really defined the use of the fishing kite in the sailfish-rich waters off southern Florida. By using a kite to suspend a frisky live bait, Capt. Bob soon realized the inherent benefits of such a technique (in fact there are many). First, the kite kept the bait swimming in frantic circles very close to the ocean’s surface and within easy reach of the sailfish and other gamefish that he was targeting. It also kept the heavier leader material suspended vertically above the bait and out of the water, leaving less to spook a wary adversary. And by fishing the kite on the upwind side of the vessel, it allowed a larger spread of additional lines to be deployed, covering a much larger swath of ocean.

Today, the technique of kite fishing has been adapted to many far-flung locations such as North Carolina for yellowfin tuna, the canyons of the Northeast for bluefin tuna and even the partyboats of California on their long-range trips lasting many days off the Pacific coast of Mexico. But its roots in modern fishing lie firmly attached to the south Florida region and Capt. Bob Lewis. Today’s anglers have modified the original kites to fly in a variety of winds, even attaching helium balloons in order to put their baits aloft in the calmest of conditions. Flying multiple kites, done by weighting the edges of the kites so they fly apart from each other, has also become standard fare as has fishing multiple lines from each kite in order to cover even more ground in search of sailfish. As an early innovator of kite fishing, Capt. Bob would smile at these modern twists upon his original theme.

The Capt. Bob Lewis Billfish Challenge was formed in 1993 and incorporated in 1998, obtaining 501 c. (3) status as a nonprofit organization in January of 2000. It was named in honor of Capt. Bob Lewis, who passed away in January, 1997. The first tournament, planned on short notice, registered only five boats but was still deemed a success to those who participated. Expanding each year, in 2002 the tournament became an invitational and was limited to the first 60 paid entries, expanding to 65 entries in 2005. The proceeds benefit the youth of south Florida through educational and fishing/diving programs, with the tournament proceeds distributed to beneficiaries that exemplify the ideals of the tournament. Total contributions to various youth programs have reached nearly $300,000 as of 2006. All tournament directors and committee members serve on a volunteer basis with the exception of the executive director.

One new change in the event for 2007 was the introduction of Capt. Ernie Portuondo as the new executive director. Portuondo takes the reins from Capt. Marty Locke who successfully drove the event for four seasons before recently relocating to Texas. As the tournament enters its 14th season, Portuondo has his sights set on increasing the overall tournament purse as well as increasing the tournament’s contributions to their charity-driven beneficiaries.

This year’s tournament fielded 56 of the region’s finest fishing teams, each searching not only for the tournament’s top cash prizes but also the fame and notoriety that goes along with a prestigious victory against a field of tough, seasoned competitors. To back up this point, 50 of the registered teams scored at least one sailfish release during the two-day event. Just take a look at some of the teams who have won this event in the past (and who were also in this year’s field): Uptight, L&H, Chopper/Complete Angler, Get Lit, Contender One…and the list goes on. It would take both an extremely talented team as well as a healthy pinch of luck to make it to the winner’s circle.

While all eyes were on the Wound Up, winner of three south Florida tournaments to date, it would be the team aboard the Qualifier that would sneak in under the radar to steal the glory on this weekend. With a super-steady performance, the team released seven sailfish on Day One, then backed up that feat with another seven on Day Two to finish the tournament with 14 releases and 2800 points, good enough for not only the win but the top event prize of $15,000. The team also netted an additional $22,000 and change for their participation in the optional categories.

While they finished just two releases behind the Qualifier, the team aboard the Owl’s Nest also had a great weekend during the Capt. Bob Lewis, releasing 12 sails and banking over $100,000 with their participation in the optional categories in which the winning team elected not to pursue. The Game Time, Sandman and 4 Aces rounded out the top five, respectively, in the tournament with 11 releases each.

Fishing aboard the Hook, Bob Christoph, Jr. was the tournament’s Top Angler with six releases—he will have the opportunity to represent the Capt. Bob Lewis Billfish Challenge during this year’s World Billfish Series Grand Championships in Costa Rica, to be held Dec. 5-8, 2007.

With a new tournament director and a plan for expanded growth by opening up the tournament to the public for the first time, this should be one event that’s on everyone’s calendar in 2008.

Check out the Complete 2007 Tournament Results.

NMFS Mandates Use of Circle Hooks in Atlantic Billfish Tournaments

Effective January 1, 2007, a new Federal regulation requires anglers fishing from HMS permitted vessels (and vessels that should be permitted) to use “only” non-offset circle hooks when deploying natural baits or natural bait/artificial lure combinations in Atlantic billfish tournaments. This regulation allows the use of “J”-hooks with artificial lures in tournaments. There are no recreation circle hook requirements outside of billfish tournaments.

Capt. Bob Lewis Billfish Challenge
PO Box 560237
Miami, FL 33157-0237

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