Legendary Walker’s Cay Marlin Tournaments Attract Elite Fishing Fleet

The Walker’s Cay Blue Marlin Invitational and Qualifier fishing tournaments attracted more elite offshore fishing boats than ever before. And hundreds of thousands in prize money was paid out to the Invitational overall winners aboard the 63-foot-Weaver Big Stick and the Qualifier overall winners aboard the 72-foot-long Viking Anakalea.

But, since Carl Allen and his family have been rebuilding Walker’s Cay over these last few years, and nearly every fisherman from South Florida and beyond has fond memories of Walker’s Cay from back-in-the-day, I think it’s safe to say that everyone wins now that Walker’s Cay is able to host more world-class fishing tournaments in its world class marina than ever before.

Captain Ronnie Fields of the Big Stick that was overall winner of this year’s Invitational agrees. “We won some money the first year. Last year we were third and our owner, David Bowen just loves the tournament. We all do. He grew up watching Walker’s Cay Chronicles like we all did. We just love the setup and the area.”

In fact, this year was even more special because a new Qualifier tournament was added (held the weekend after the Invitational) and the fishing was smoking hot—over 188 billfish were released during both tournaments.

But, like the best fish stories, the one that got away is the what veteran fisherman Allan Black who was fishing aboard the 60-foot-long Hatteras Blue Moose with the owner/angler Dan Coles will remember from the last day of this year’s Invitational.

“We knew Dan had a big fish,” Allan said recently. “It jumped a whole bunch of times, and then just dove straight to the bottom. He was on light tackle in about 1,200 feet when we first hooked up.

“But, every time we’d get near the fish, it would just get angry and go out about 100 yards and jump all over the place and then go down again. By this time, we were certain it was big enough to claim Biggest Blue Marlin of the tournament payout of over $220,000.”

But they had to catch the fish—on light tackle—that was literally pulling them out to sea.

“We chased it for about 16 miles,” he adds. “We hooked up at 2:30 or so and we were still fighting the fish as it got dark. It started jumping again right at sunset and then just went down. By that time, we were in 2,600 feet of water, and the fish just kept going down.

Since the marlin was worth $220,000 in prize money, Carl Allen and tournament Director Ryan Edwards held the awards ceremony.

“Dan fought the fish for almost seven hours, standing up. But we eventually ran out of line so all we could do was lock the drag down and pray. Even though it was 30-pound test the strength of the fish took him down to the gunnel.

“And then it was…gone.”

“We didn’t get into the dock until 10:15 that night,” Black continues. “We got into the dock right when the fireworks were going off. And it would have been cool to claim that big prize. But, since we were all highly experienced fishermen and it was such a team effort, we also know nothing could have been done any different. These guys were so professional from beginning to end, and I couldn’t have been with a better crew more likely to get that fish in that situation.”

“It’s heartbreaking but that’s also what makes fishing so great, right?” I ask.

“Yep,” he said. “It’s Ernest Hemingway stuff.”

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