by John Bell
Miami International Boat Show - Guy Harvey and his partners in Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts LTD today officially announced plans to host the Billfish Invitational at the Bimini Big Game Club, on May 18, 2011.
Big Game Club Aerial
Net proceeds from the all release event will be administered by the Big Game Club for the direct benefit of conservation and education programs to be implemented in Bimini at the direction of the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and the IGFA.
Host to numerous major sport fishing tournaments for more than half a century, The Billfish Invitational marks the Big Game Club’s return to world-class bluewater tournament angling, after a decade long hiatus.
'With The Billfish Invitational, we’re not only restoring the Club’s legacy of great tournaments, good times and camaraderie, but also establishing a new tradition of using tournament proceeds to directly benefit our friends in Bimini who make this a special place', commented Mark Ellert, president of Guy Harvey Outpost, LTD.
'The founders of Guy Harvey Outpost, LTD consider ourselves stewards of history and tradition of both Bimini and the legendary Big Game Club,' said Dr. Harvey, who with partners Bill Shedd, Charles Forman and Mark Ellert supervised the reopening of the Big Game Club after a multi-million dollar renovation.
The tournament will feature three days of fishing, and target all billfish species. In addition to individual prizes, the tournament format will include the award of two perpetual trophies, to be displayed in the Club’s new trophy room lounge. One trophy is named for two giants among a long line of legendary Bimini personalities—Ernest Hemingway and Michael Lerner—and the second trophy honors Personal Achievement in the Advancement of Big Game Sport Fishing with the establishment of The Frank Johnson Trophy.
The Hemingway-Lerner Trophy will be presented to the tournament’s top Billfish Team, recognizing friendship, teamwork, and the pursuit of excellence, while Frank Johnson himself will be the inaugural recipient of the Frank Johnson Trophy.
'Sport fishing is both a team and individual sport, one that owes much of its modern day popularity to the passion, perseverance and friendship of men like Ernest Hemingway and Michael Lerner, which gave birth to the International Game Fish Association (IGFA), and the advancements brought to the sport by men like Frank Johnson,' Bill Shedd added.
Bimini’s location along the legendary Gulfstream (a 'river' of warm water) location is at the apex of a superhighway for migrating fish and acts as a kind of sushi conveyor belt carrying abundant food to the local fish. Deep water game fish include marlin, tuna, sailfish, wahoo and swordfish, while big grouper, barracuda and schools of snapper can be found on the reefs.
Bimini’s flats are home the fishermen’s favorite prey, bonefish and permit. With more than 50-record-setting catches in the waters around the island, Bimini has earned its title of Sport Fishing Capital of the World.
Eligible species for the Billfish Tournament include Blue Marlin, White Marlin, Sailfish, Spearfish and Swordfish.
Administered by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and the IGFA, tournament proceeds will be reinvested in Bimini and surrounding waters.