Florida Angler Wins Record $656K with Top Blue Marlin
That's a lot of dough for one fish!
Anthony Johnson was in the right place at the right time to win the 31st annual Blue Marlin World Cup Championship. Fishing out of Madeira, an archipelago in the eastern Atlantic Ocean that is part of Portugal, the angler from Davie, Fla., caught a 652-pound blue marlin Saturday.
That fish was the only marlin landed in the unique winner-take-all tournament, earning Johnson and his team a record payout of $656,000. A portion of the tournament proceeds supports the IGFA and The Billfish Foundation.
The World Cup is a qualifying event for the Offshore World Championship, so Johnson will also receive an invitation to fish next year's OWC in April in Costa Rica. The World Cup is held on July 4. Teams can fish anywhere in the world that day for eight hours in their time zone. They can only boat blue marlin over 500 pounds.
Johnson fished on Pesca Grossa with Capt. Duart Nuno Goncalves of Madeira and Captain Gerard "Frothy" de Silva of Trinidad & Tobago. When his fish was weighed, the other 149 teams were notified that they had to beat a 652-pounder. And none of them could.
According to tournament director Mike Leech of Fort Lauderdale, the day before the tournament, a team caught a marlin weighing 1,254 pounds fishing out of Cape Verde, off the western coast of Africa.
In Bermuda, 25 blue marlin were caught during the tournament. In Kona, Hawaii, where the 2014 World Cup winner was caught, 27 marlin were released. And one team fishing out of the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean raised five marlin, but none was big enough to boat.
Other locations where marlin were raised, lost or released included Ascension Island in the middle of the southern Atlantic Ocean, Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, Papua, New Guinea, the Bahamas, Cameroon, French Polynesia, Panama, Mexico and the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States.
By Steve Waters
Sun Sentinel Reporter
Re-printed with permission.