June 10, 2013, Biloxi, Mississippi:
By Capt. Dave Lear
For most people, a pipe dream is a daydream or fantasy that can’t be achieved. For Corbin Bass and his team aboard Pipe Dream, a 60-foot Spencer based in Port Mansfield, Texas, yesterday’s dream became a reality, however. It only took about 35 minutes for the mate/designated angler to land his 439-pound blue marlin after it ate a live skipjack tuna shortly after dawn.
“We had the fish to the boat at 6:15,” Bass says. “It only jumped a couple times and the fight was pretty easy. We were fishing near the Ram Powell drilling rig and there were tuna popping everywhere.” Bass caught the fish on Shimano 80-pound tackle and this was his first time competing in the Classic.
“This is great tournament,” he says without hesitation. “The boat has fished here in the past, but this is my first time. It’s awesome. I’ll definitely be back.”
Corey Racca, fishing aboard Badonkadonk, a 82 Viking home-ported in Biloxi, was also a first-timer. HIs 388.5-pound blue marlin, caught on a “green” lure, made it on the leader board briefly.
“This was my first time ever fishing offshore,” he says. “It was quite an experience. The fight lasted 45 minutes, but I’m definitely ready to do it again.” Racca and his team also weighed in a yellowfin tuna and dolphin in the gamefish divisions.
But Lawrence Rowland and the team aboard Boonedocks, a 49 Middleton out of Pensacola, Florida, snuck into third place in the blue marlin category by weighing a 392.2-pound fish.
“That fish tried to take my lure away and I wanted it back,” a happy Rowland recalled with a laugh. Mollie, which recorded a 402.2 blue on Saturday, remained in second place in the division.
As the boats lined up waiting for their turn at the scales Sunday afternoon, a steady stream of tuna, wahoo and dolphin were carted to the stage. Taylor Harvey, aboard Four Reel, had the biggest dolphin, a slammer registering 53.2 pounds. Bryan Leiser on Patience, scored a 45.7-pound bull dolphin, while Laurie McVay on Reel Addiction weighed in one that tipped the scales at 43.9 pounds.
Testing the Water angler Scott Green brought the heaviest wahoo back to Biloxi this year. His 96.2-pound monster had many veteran dockhands shaking their heads at its size and girth. The intrepid crew of Intense, a 35-foot Contender center console, braved rough seas and an epic journey to record an 84- and 75.7-pound wahoo. Both fish were caught by Neal Foster of Mobile, Alabama.
“I have a favorite wahoo spot on the other side of the world, so we ran there and back,” Foster explained. The marathon trip was 712 miles through very choppy conditions.
Another first-timer, Nancy Paul of North Palm Beach, Florida, had quite a battle when a large tuna ate her purple & black lure right before sunset Saturday night. Inlet Magic was trolling near an oil rig and Paul had to muscle the tuna away from a pack of sharks. The 163-pounder, her biggest ever, vaulted her atop the tuna leader board. This is Paul’s first time fishing the Classic and her first visit to Biloxi.
Reel Addiction was a double-dipper. Laurie McVay also outlasted a 159-pound yellowfin to capture second place in the tuna division. Baron Davis, competing aboard You Never Know, recorded a 140.5-pound yellowfin, good for third place in the category.
Due to a one-day delay because of Tropical Storm Andrea, fishing continued into Sunday this year. By the time the scales closed at 4 p.m., the 52-boat fleet had safely returned and the celebrations began in earnest. The awards presentation was held later Sunday night.