Casa de Campo/La Romana, Dominican Republic 2019

April 10-14, 2019
Story by: Art McDonald

In a tournament marked by rough seas, windy squalls, and seaweed – god, was there seaweed, Captain Brent Gaskill from North Carolina guided his team aboard the 64’ custom Jarrett Bay, Builders Choice, to a comfortable victory during the three days of fishing in the prestigious Casa de Campo International Blue Marlin Classic – first leg of the Dominican Billfish Triple-Header Series.

IGFTO was represented by 10 members (Sine Mate, Mike Zorzi, Lee Robinson, Ed Tapping, Tess Sheil, Mike Cisneros, Reese Bowles, George Bihari, Tara Lyall, and yours truly).  Conditions weren’t up to the usual standards for this tournament as the water temperature, and the damn seaweed played havoc throughout the Tournament.  11 boats were entered in the event – question was…. where was everyone going to fish?  Apparently, Capt. Gaskill had a pretty good idea as his team tallied 2 Blue Marlin releases on Day one…. But they were late fish and, with Mama Who (Mississippi boat) & Business Stinks (Brazil-Venezuelan team) ending up first and second for the day, based on time.  Things on Day two were to, quickly, change.  Builder’s Choice chose a different area to fish (some 70 miles away) and, quickly, released two Blue Marlin within the first hour after lines were in, and added a 3rd in the afternoon – for a two-day total of 5 Blue Marlin.  Both Mama Who and Business Stinks went fishless for the day.  “After day two we never looked back” said a proud Harris Huddle, Builder’s Choice owner and winner of the Top Individual Angler Trophy.

When the smoke cleared at lines out on the third and final day of competition, the team/boat standings stood:   Builder’s Choice in First Place – with an impressive 3-day total of seven (7) Blue Marlin releases.  Mama Who took second place with a total of four (4) Blues released, followed by Business Stinks in Third Place with two (2) Blue Marlin releases.  Coincidentally, the same three teams/boats had finished first, second, and third the previous year, but in a different order with Mama Who as the winners in 2018.  A total of 17 Blue Marlin were released – averaging 1.5 fish per boat.