After a one-week weather delay, the 2022 Blue Marlin Grand Championship, presented by Pelagic, once again saw the final weigh-ins at The Wharf in Orange Beach, Alabama come down to just a few pounds separating the first and second place fish.
A Work of Art, a 92' Viking from Orange Beach, was the first of only two teams to weigh a Blue Marlin during the tournament. Owner Art Favre and Captain Jason Buck's fish had a lower-jaw-to-tail fork measurement of 115 inches. The Blue Marlin caught by angler Lance Glaser weighed in at 557.4-pounds giving them the early lead while knowing there was another fish yet to hit the scales.
"It's a great fish, and it's always extra special when we get to weigh one here at The Wharf," said Favre. "But with the level of competition in this event, we know another big fish is coming in a little later."
It didn't take long for the second Blue Marlin to arrive. Captain Chris Hood and Owner Nick Pratt of the 72' Viking It Just Takes Time, also from Orange Beach, backed in the weigh dock with a Blue Marlin that measured 120.5 inches.
Despite a length advantage of five and a half inches compared to A Work Of Art's fish, when it was hoisted in front of the big crowd, everyone knew there wouldn't be many pounds separating the two fish. When the winning weight of 568.4-pounds was announced for angler Nick Crovato's Blue Marlin, It Just Takes Time became the tenth team to win 'The Greatest Show in Sportfishing' in ten different years.
"We've had success in other tournaments along the Gulf Coast, but this was the one our entire crew wanted to win the most," said a champagne-soaked Pratt. "To win this one, right here in our hometown, against the best of the best, is something we will cherish forever."
While only two Blue Marlin were weighed, the billfish bite was hot all weekend as over 70 total billfish were released, creating a very tight top catch and release battle that lasted until the final hour of fishing.
C-YA, a 72' Spencer from Orange Beach, released seven Blue Marlin giving Captain Devin Potts the win in the Catch and Release division. "It was the best weekend of fishing I've ever had in the Gulf of Mexico," said Potts. "I'm glad we could hold Landon and Tyler down the stretch because they also had spectacular weekends!"
Captain Landon Bell and his team on Southern Charm, a 63' Orange Beach Hatteras, released five Blue Marlin and two White Marlin to finish in second place. 2020 Blue Marlin Grand Championship winner Pearl, a 48' Viking from Orange Beach, with Captain Tyler Maxwell finished in third place in Catch and Release by releasing five Blue Marlin and one White Marlin.
In the optional gamefish categories, Get Reel, a 60' Hatteras from Orange Beach, took first and second place in the Tuna division with 154.2 and 105-pound Yellowfins, followed by the Venice, Louisiana 61' Viking Crawgator's 54-pound third place fish.
Reel Wicked, a 73' Donzi from Destin, Florida, won the Dolphin division at 28.8 pounds. Get Reel placed second at 26.8-pounds and Up-To-It, a 52' Viking from Destin, finished third at 25.6-pounds.
Sea Wolff, a 62' Destin-based G & S, caught the top Wahoo at 40.6-pounds with the only other Wahoo caught by Up-To-It at 22.2-pounds.
The Blue Marlin Grand Championship returns to The Wharf in Orange Beach, Alabama, July 12-16th, 2023.
Tournament Grand Champions:
It Just Takes Time - 72' Viking - 568.4 lb Blue Marlin
Captain Chris Hood, Angler Nick Crovato
2nd Place: Blue Marlin - A Work of Art - 92' Viking - 557.4 lb
Captain Jason Buck, Angler Lance Glaser
Tournament Catch & Release:
1st Place: C-YA, 74' Spencer, Captain Devin Potts
7 Blue Marlin Released
2nd Place: Southern Charm, 63' Hatteras, Captain Landon Bell
5 Blue Marlin, 2 White Marlin Released
3rd Place: Pearl, 48' Viking, Captain Tyler Maxwell
5 Blue Marlin, 1 White Marlin Released