We had six boats depart Miami early Thursday for what was supposed to be a “nice” crossing. NOAA once again was off by 50%. The seas were not 2-3 but 4-5 with some 6-footers tossed in. All of the boats were offshore boats so we still made the crossing in less than 2 hrs at a comfortable 30 mph pace. When we arrived in Bimini, we were greeted by its famous electric blue water and much calmer conditions. During the final 10 miles, most of the boat raised it up to 40 mph and just cruised on it.
The fishing overall was very slow; not typical Bimini fishing at all. On the first day only two fish were weighed. “Team Dusky” weighed in a 30-pounder and “Preferred Marine” had a 16-pounder. The first day was in the books as the teams got ready for the poker tournament. The game was full of laughs as the guys from “Flying Button” out of Jacksonville were in rare form and making everyone laugh. To be honest with you, this was one of the funniest and most memorable nights I have spent in Bimini. We did manage to play a little poker in between all the jokes. In the end, our weigh master “Capt. Steve” took first place and all the poker money.
The second day was not much better as the fishing continued to be slow. All the teams reported plenty of action on the reefs but mostly cudas. A few more teams weighed fish but only the fish on “Twisted Bills” would make it to the leaderboard at 26 pounds.
Saturday night was going to be a long night. After the weigh-ins, teams got ready for the wards dinner and the after-party. The awards dinner at Bimini Bay is always something to behold. The food is fresh, delicious and always prepared with island flair. The long-awaited after-party was next on the list as all the teams headed down to Big John’s for a night of drinking and drinking. The bar was hopping with the live music of Stevie S and the Hypnotics. And the drinks were flowing. Teams were buying each other shot after shot and round after round. It was great to see everyone out and enjoying the night.
Of the twelve teams competing, seven were SKA teams. Five teams had never been to Bimini before. One of the best aspects of this tournament was the camaraderie. Since we were all there to fish the tournament… and that’s all there was to do, we got to hang out a lot with the teams. We made some great friends and also had some wonderful times at the docks, pool, and bars. It was an experience all want to repeat next year.
We are already planning next year’s event with a few changes:
- We are going to petition the SKA to make this a “wild card” tournament. In other words, your fish will count points for your division.
- Moving it a little later in the year. We think this will make it easier for teams to take some time off and make it over to the islands. It will also make the weather more predictable.
We all had a great time and we are looking forward to the event next year. If you are planning on heading over to Bimini and need any advice, please give us a shout.