Three local boats in race for Gulf Coast Triple Crown

Tina Harbuck
Capt. Allen Staples and Capt. Caleb Brown aboard the Wynsong, along with anglers Zach Tokheim, Ham Poyner, Pickett Reese, Chris Sheppard and Will Wilson, took first place in the Cajun Canyons Billfish Classic in Louisiana with this 669.3-pound blue marlin. Tokheim, standing just to the right of the fish, was the angler on the rod. [CONTRIBUTED PHOTO]

With one tournament left to go, three local boats are in the running for the Gulf Coast Triple Crown Big Game Fishing Championship.

The Reel Addiction out of Pensacola, with Capt. Scooter Porto and deckhand Seth Brennan of Destin, is in second place with 450 points; the Wynsong out of Destin with Capt. Allen Staples is in third with 360 points; and Capt. Chase Lake and Team Supreme of Destin is in fourth place with 265 points.

The Gulf Coast Triple Crown is a championship series that promotes offshore big game fishing and awards an annual champion.

Last year, Destin’s Capt. Jeff Shoults and his crew aboard the Mollie brought home the Triple Crown trophy.

The tournament series consists of five tournaments, starting with the Orange Beach Billfish Classic in mid-May, followed by the Cajun Canyons Billfish Classic in Venice, Lousiana. Third in the string of tournaments is the Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic held out of Biloxi and the next was the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic held at Baytowne Marina in Sandestin.

Last on the list is the Blue Marlin Grand Championship, which is scheduled to go July 10-15 at The Wharf in Orange Beach.

The Triple Crown is scored on a system that includes both weight and release points for the top three finishes in the blue marlin divisions. Captains can earn points for series participation, weighed marlin lengths and marlin records.

Winner of the tournament will receive $12,500 in cash awards as well as a seven-foot tall hand-crafted championship trophy, and bragging rights along the Gulf Coast.

Holding down first place in the race for the Triple Crown after four tournaments is Done Deal out of Louisiana with 486 points. They placed first in the Orange Beach Classic with a 740-pound blue marlin, second in catch and release at the Mississippi tournament and third in catch and release at the Emerald Coast Classic.

Reel Addicition earn their second place spot in the race for the crown with a 545 pound blue marlin that took second place in the Cajun Canyon tournament and first place blue marlin, 796.9 pounds, at Mississippi.

Destin’s Wynsong, which is in third, had their best tournament at the Cajun Canyon with a first place blue marlin, 699.3 pounds, and second in catch and release.

Fourth place Team Supreme took third in the Orange Beach for catch and release and second in Mississippi with a second place blue marlin, 739.1 pounds.

All three of the area boats are scheduled to fish the last tournament, the Blue Marlin Grand Championship, for a chance at the money, trophy and bragging rights.