News and Events
The Billfish Foundation bestows Club of Excellence award to OCLTC
Posted May 29, 2018
The Billfish Foundation will acknowledge the Ocean City Light Tackle Club in November 2018 with its Club of Excellence Award. The Ocean City Light Tackle Club and its members are very grateful for the TBF's recognition of the clubs history and dedication to billfish release fishing.
In April, 2000, the 53rd Derby was at Cancun, on Isla Mujeres. As in Panama, they fished two to a boat and had 22 anglers. They took a total of 131 billfish, an average of just under two fish per angler per day. Not a Derby record but the fourth best ever. A year later, April, 2001, the 54th was once again held in Panama at Pinas Bay's Tropic Star Lodge. The eighteen anglers didn't quite duplicate the success of the 51st, catching only 144 sailfish in the three days' but a notable event occurred: Bob Herder, almost 80 years old, won his Fourth Derby, the first win having been in 1972! In March, 2002, the 55th consecutive Derby was held back in Guatemala and its 18 anglers set new records. For the first time, more than 200 billfish were taken in the three days' fishing 244 to be precise. The catch per angler hour was 0.733, the highest ever. And our Champion, Wayne Six, took 25 Pacific sails himself in those three days of fishing, more than anyone had ever taken before.
The 56th was in Mexico, at Isla Mujeres, in April, 2003. It was not notable for ravenous fish that attacked baits as soon as they hit the water. In fact, the total catch was disappointing and not up to recent history. However, it was most notable for other reasons: there were 36 Derby anglers who were accompanied by 31 wives and 13 children. Never had so many anglers participated in an "out of the country" Derby and never have so many people been part of any Derby. After 56 years the Club seems as viable as ever. Also notable was that circle hooks were used exclusively for the first time. All fish were observed to have been hooked in the mouth; none to have been deep hooked.
The next Derby, the 57th in the unbroken string, was held in February, 2004 in Costa Rica at the new and luxurious resort of Los Suenos. Another large contingent (32 anglers and more than 40 spouses and children) participated. Everything was first class except the fishing: the 32 anglers took only 33 sailfish in three days of fishing. Fishing improved substantially at the 58th Derby, held in Panama at Pinas Bay at the Tropic Star Resort in April, 2005. There were 24 members, joined by 12 guests so that we occupied the entire Resort. In the three days of Derby fishing 214 billfish were released: 211 pacific sails, 2 black marlin and I striped marlin, all on 20# line. In the week the Club was there our members and guests took over 400 billfish. Again, circle hooks were required and used. All released fish appeared to be in excellent shape. And for the first time in its history, a woman fished the Derby as a member of the Club.
For the 59th Derby we were back in Palm Beach staying at The Breakers hotel and fishing out of Sailfish Marina. This January event included 16 members who over the 3 days of Derby fishing released a total of 43 sailfish. In 2007, for our 60th Derby, the Club returned to Guatemala. This was the first Derby considered a qualifying event for the IGFA Offshore World Championships. Thirty two anglers competed in this Derby releasing 190 sailfish and 2 blue marlin in three days of fishing. A little slow for Tom Murray's liking but a wonderful event none the less. 2008 found the Club back in Pinas bay, Panama for the 61st Derby. A large contingent again took over the entire lodge for the Club's third trip to the resort.
Our 62nd Derby was held at the beautiful Paridisus Resort in Flamingo, Costa Rica. 20 anglers competed over the 3 tournament days and caught 16 sailfish and 2 blue marlin.