Local boats impressed last week at the second annual Jimmy Johnson’s Quest for the Ring Fishing Tournament, which featured 80 teams heading out of Marina Sen. Frank S. Farley State at Golden Nugget Atlantic City.
Avalon-based TLC hit the jackpot.
After angler Devin O’Neill weighed in a 437-pound blue marlin, those aboard the 53-foot Jarrett Bay won the coveted championship ring and scooped $295,000.
TLC won $45,000 for weighing the heaviest blue marlin, an additional $75,000 for leading the category each day (because no other blue marlin were weighed), and $175,000 for placing first in the blue marlin category.
Besides O’Neill, TLC anglers included Anthony DelVescovo, Tanner Ison, Brian O’Neill, Colin O’Neill, Devin O’Neill, Vince Tague III, Jeremy Warner and his 16-year-old companion, Cobb Scott. TLC is owned by Vincent Tague and run by John Thompson. TLC won the ring as the boat won the most money.
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Johnson, a Pro Football Hall of Fame coach who won Super Bowl titles with the Dallas Cowboys in 1992 and 1993, has hosted a version of that tournament every March for the past 11 years in Hollywood, Florida. He brought the tournament to the resort last season.
The categories were white marlin, blue marlin, sailfish, marlin, tuna, wahoo and dolphins. The event also promotes conservation, with around 50% or more fish released and minimum size requirements. The scholarship was worth $1.13 million, 10% of which was donated to support the Recreational Fishing Alliance’s FISHERIES Conservation Trust.
Low Profile, led by Captain Joseph Trainor, took home $40,000 after finishing first in the overall entry and heaviest dolphin categories. Angler Michael Savino weighed a 27.1-pound dolphin on Avalon’s 55-foot Gwaltney.
Titan Up, a 46ft Prowler from Brigantine, finished second in the small tuna class. Fisherman Collin Binder weighed in a 200 pound tuna to win $11,812.50. Wet Rock, a 50-foot Henriques from Ocean City, placed second in the heaviest white marlin general entry category for a total of $15,000. Angler Jouber Pereira caught a 60.4 pound white marlin during the tournament.
The boat with the second-highest amount was Outrage, a 52-foot Viking from Palm Beach, Florida. Outrage’s crew included owner and captain John Dougherty, with anglers Matt Cusamano, Ron Davis, Chip Garguilo, Tony Leonard, Michael McHugh, Eric Nabrzeski, Brian O’Donnell, Michael Steetle and Steve Voit.
Cusamano caught a 64.1 pound white marlin, the heaviest of the tournament. This catch was worth $30,000. The boat also won $125,000 and $75,000 for leading the daily white marlin ranking each day and the overall white marlin category, respectively. In total, the boat won $230,000.
Taylor Jean/MJ’s of South Jersey finished third with $170,000. The boat finished first in the heaviest tuna (a bigeye tuna from 231 ponds caught by fisherman Brandon Kape), the daily tuna rankings each day, and all optional tuna categories. Owner and Captain Ken Hager and anglers Alan Kape, Brandon Kape, Dante Sorento, Dave McKendrick, George Robinson, Michael Yacco, Joe Yacco and Kyle Shipp were aboard the 62ft Viking.
Roll Groove, of Ocean City, Maryland, finished fourth with $90,000. The boat was first in the heaviest overall wahoo entry (a catch of 42.2 pounds by angler and owner Darren Helwig) and optional wahoo categories and second in the white marlin category (a catch of 55, 3 books by fisherman Steve Poore)
Also aboard the 58ft Ritchie Howell were Captain Danny Prettyman and fishermen Eddie Kehl, Josh Shelton, Zak Smith and their mates Jake Graves and Charles Porter.
Just One More, from the Bayville section of Berkeley Township, won $80,000 for first place in the tuna standings after day four (fisherman Hunter Gutwein weighed in at 223 pounds) and second place in the tuna on heavier and optional grades of tuna.
Reelin Feelin, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., won $62,345.70 with 700 catch and release points. The 64ft Weaver released two white marlin and one blue marlin. Bullwinkle, a 57-foot Spencer from North Carolina, earned $34,404.30 with 600 catch-and-release points after releasing four white marlin.
The End Game Tournament team, a 32-foot competitor from Point Pleasant, won $36,937.50 with first place in the optional small tuna boat category, a 208-pound catch by angler Chris Vaughn. This hold also led the category on day five of the tournament.
Fishaholic, from Palm Beach, Florida, and Too Many Martinis, from St. Michaels, Maryland, each won $17,500. Avid fisherman Thomas Zerbo weighed a Dolphin at 16.3 pounds, the second heaviest in the tournament. Too Many Martinis angler Kurt Wallace caught the second heaviest wahoo (38.9 pounds).
SUSHI, from North Carolina, and Fishing for MD each won $15,000. Fishing for MD topped the tuna leaderboard after day two of the tournament, while SUSHI topped the category after day three. SUSHi angler Paul Collins weighed in a 164-pound tuna, and angler John Denny of Fishing for MD caught a 50-pound tuna.
Contact Patrick Mulranen: 609-272-7217