26th Orange Beach Billfish Classic | May 17-22, 2022
World's Largest Tournament Donor To The Billfish Foundation
2021 Tournament Champions Sunrise
Sunrise Weighs Heaviest Blue Marlin Among 38 Teams at OBBC
The 25th Annual Orange Beach Billfish Classic (OBBC) had to be postponed from the original tournament dates due to
extremely rough seas. Rescheduled for the following week, 38 teams competed for $830,000 over Memorial Day
Weekend at The Wharf in Orange Beach, Alabama.
Reel Fire Top Catch and Release Team
Rebecca Takes Home $245,000
Two teams weighed in blue marlin, one on Friday night and one on Saturday, which created huge drama at the weigh
scale for the large crowd on Main Street at The Wharf. The first team to the scales was Rebecca, a
63' F & S from Port Aransas, Tx. Owner John Ramming and his crew reported a blue marlin with a lower jaw, fork
length of 118 inches. The official measurement came in at 118.5 inches, and when angler Jason Gast's fish was put on
the scale, the official weight was 647 pounds, giving the rest of the fleet an official weight to beat.
Later Friday night, another call came in from offshore to report a second caught blue marlin. The call came from
Sunrise, a 53' Guthrie from Panama City Beach, FL with another 118" inch fish. When the scales opened on Saturday
night, the blue marlin, caught on the troll, also measured 118.5 inches caught by angler Haywood Sanders. The two
blue marlin appeared to be 'twins' to tournament observers.
With the blue marlin hanging on the scale, the tension from both crews, as well as onlookers, was like that of 80-pound
monofilament with a 600-pound marlin on the line. When the official read-out displayed 649 pounds, Sunrise knew
they had won the tournament by exactly two pounds!
The Orange Beach Billfish Classic splits tournament entry fees awarding the top three teams weighing blue marlin
weighed and the three top catch and release teams in the event. Six teams released two blue marlin during the two and a
half days of full moon fishing. Reel Fire, a 76' Viking from Pensacola, was the top catch and release team based on
time among those six teams. Second Wind, a 72' F & S finished in second and Relentless Pursuit, the 95' Jim
Smith finished in third place.
Ten of the fourteen yellowfin tuna weighed on Saturday night topped 145 pounds! Jacob Channel on Get Reel, a 60'
Hatteras from Orange Beach, finished in the top spot among the big tunas with a 191.2-pound fish. Chris Ferrara, Jr.,
fishing on Reel Fire, finished in second at 184.4-pounds, and Rebecca came in third with their impressive 172.8-pound
Cotton Patch, another 60' Hatteras from Orange Beach, took home first placed honors in the wahoo division with
angler Peter Martin's 47.4-pound fish. Sunrise took the next two spots with 27.2 and 26.6-pound fish.
Reel Fire also caught the biggest dolphin at 29.2-pounds. Joey Birbeck's 26.8-pound dolphin was good for second
place on the 66' Viking C-Student and the 25.8-pound dolphin caught by Chris Scott on the 57' Buddy
Davis, 2x4 finished in third place.
Both the Top Lady Angler and Top Junior Angler awards were won by members of Gunnslinger, a 68' Viking. Scarlet
Fernandex was the top female angler with her blue marlin release, while Clark Adams was the top junior angler also
with a blue marlin release and a 163.4-pound yellowfin tuna.
The top three money-winning boats were Rebecca collecting $245,000, Reel Fire at $163,465, and Sunrise with
Over two hundred anglers in the tournament released seventeen blue marlin along with three white marlin. Fourteen
tunas came to scales along with four wahoo and three dolphin.
The Orange Beach Billfish Classic is the world's largest tournament donor to The Billfish Foundation and will return
for a 26th year in May of 2022.