2018 Texas Billfish Classic
TBC stands for two things this year: With the induction of the Billfish Classic Cup, tallying points from two tournaments, competitive sport fishing on the Gulf Coast is “to be continued” …
From August 1 to 4, Oceanmax reps Keith Mayes and Rusty Morgan will be at the third annual Texas Billfish Classic in Freeport, Texas. In addition to answering your most pressing product questions, they’ll be raffling off a one-liter Propspeed foul-release kit valued at $1,000. Says tournament organizer and seasoned sport fisherman Jasen Gast, “Our goal is to keep building partnerships that strengthen each year as we continue to grow the tournament with quality sponsors like Oceanmax.”
While this is Oceanmax’s second appearance at the tournament, it’s Rusty’s first: “This being my first major offshore tournament, I’m exited to hear from an experienced group of skippers about how we at Oceanmax can add to the experience of a multi-day fishing excursion,” he says. “Boats will be coming from all over the Gulf Coast, some putting in serious sea miles. Any opportunity to learn about the challenges involved in keeping a finely tuned sport fishing machine ready for action is always a great experience. Keith and I can’t wait to get down to Texas and see what the TBC is all about.”
From left to right: Mark Billingsley with Brooks Bunde and Scott McNatt of West Marine Pro at the 2017 Texas Billfish Classic
Also new this year is the Billfish Classic Cup, aimed at generating greater exposure for the event by partnering with the Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic, the region’s other big sport fishing tournament. “This is a winner-take-all option that will go to the top billfish-release team in both the MGCBC and TBC,” explains Jasen. The winning team will take home the trophy and a cash prize of $10,000, to be presented at the conclusion of the Texas Billfish Classic on August 4. No additional fees or paperwork are required to be in the running, and if you register by July 18, you and your crew can save $500 on entry fees.
One side effect of the sport fishing boom is that more boats are traveling longer distances from Texas to Louisiana, Mississippi and even Alabama to compete in billfish tournaments. “The idea of the BCC is to incentivize boats to fish in both tournaments each year. With this increased travel, there’s more wear and tear on the bottom of every boat.” Propspeed can benefit performance-oriented sport fishermen by providing significant speed gains and fuel savings.
The first part of the cup competition, the Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic, held June 4 to 10 in Biloxi, is already a done deal. Teams from Louisiana swept the catch-and-release category, with Done Deal, a 70-foot Viking captained by Jason Buck of Houma, being narrowly bested by 95-footer Relentless Pursuit, helmed by Jim Smith of New Orleans. Both teams scored 1,800 points. Rounding out the top three with 1,200 points was 48-footer Money Shot, skippered by Dale Bergeron of Grand Isle. The second part, the TBC, is a story yet to be told.
But according to Jasen, one of tournament’s biggest success stories is not the fishing done offshore but what TBC’s organizers have achieved on land. “Over the past three years, the TBC has donated more than $25,000 to local and regional nonprofit organizations,” directly attributable to the support of tournament sponsors and partners.
Charities supported this year include the Billfish Foundation, Freeport-to-Port O'Connor Toy Run and Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides support services to veterans and their families. Below is a short video below about the important work the Alliance does, including taking a handful of heroes out for a well-deserved day of fishing TBC-style.
The general public is invited to attend the kickoff party on Thursday and the weigh-ins on Friday and Saturday. Whether you’re a competitor or simply a spectator, come on down and say hi to Keith and Rusty!