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With a large customer base that participates each year, HMY Yacht Sales had numerous teams to cheer on during the 20th Anniversary Mike Schmidt Winner's Circle Charities Invitational Fishing Tournament in Old Bahama Bay. This year's team roster included 29 boats in total, 11 of which were Viking Yachts, and with stiff competition, the tournament was a nail biter down to the end.
On day one, last year's grand champ, the Viking Yachts 70' "Mr. LTD", barreled out of the gate and found great success. At the scales, the crew weighed in a 13.6 pound dolphin and a beast of a 114.8-pound yellow fin which was just shy of their tuna record of 115 pounds last year. With this bounty, "Mr. LTD" easily took the lead.
Day two saw the Noble family fishing on the Viking Yachts 62' "Reel Captivating" take over the lead with 126.9 meat points. Although "Mr. LTD" had almost five more points, they had yet to catch the final of the three mandatory species, a wahoo.
The scales were thick with excitement as lines out was called on the end of day three. The boats rolled in and finally "Mr. LTD" arrived at the weight station with a 40.1 pound fish, a wahoo! The qualifying fish made "Mr. LTD" a back-to-back victor at the Winner's Circle.
Tom and Alison Beckmeyer purchased "Mr. LTD" through HMY Yacht Sales Professional Mark Mitchell last September and just like last year, he was part of the crew during the WCC tournament. "On the "Mr. LTD" with the Alicat fishing team we have a blast fishing together. We prepare and fish pretty hard but we always have a good time doing it. Everyone gets along and we have a lot of positive attitudes and big personalities on the boat so it makes it a lot of fun," Mitchell recollects.
"We worked hard and got lucky on the first day with a 114.8 pound yellowfin tuna and a dolphin that weighed so we had to fish hard for the wahoo and ended up finding a good one mid-day on the last day of the tournament to win it. It was very special winning two years in a row on the "Mr. LTD" with the Alicat fishing Team," Mitchell concludes.
"Reel Captivating" claimed a solid 2nd Place finish with Susan Noble as the Top Lady Angler in the Tuna Division and Shari Noble in the Top Lady spot for Dolphin. "Reel Captivating" also released three billfish for the most billfish released.
HMY Yacht Sales Professional Brian Weaver was part of the crew aboard Viking 62' "Reel Captivating" alongside the Noble family. When asked about the tournament, Weaver said, "I have been fishing the Winner's Circle Charity Tournament since it began 20 years ago, and as a committee member for 19 years it's been exciting to help raise almost three million dollars for our charities." Weaver recalls, "Bob Noble [owner of the Viking "Stihl Leader" which just sold] is a generous sponsor, has fished every year as well, and is a two-time Grand Champion in years past, so together we enjoy both the fishing and giving back to the community."
Other notable mentions include Viking 60' "Fragrant Harbor" winning a daily on a 26.9 pound Wahoo and the Viking 64' "High Life" landing a 44.2 pound Dolphin. Hannah Grey aboard the Viking 70' "Hooked Up" earned the title of Top Lady Angler in the Wahoo Division.
Congratulations to all the winning teams and anglers who demonstrated pretty work for sure! A very big and heartfelt thank you goes out to all the incredible, generous sponsors who make this tournament possible year after year. To date, Winner's Circle Charities, founded by baseball Hall of Fame member Mike Schmidt, has distributed more than $2.5 million in funds to various charities including the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, American Cancer Society, Cleveland Clinic, Marine Institute Education Foundation, Riviera Beach Maritime Academy, Richard David Kann Melanoma Foundation, and Waterfront Way Foundation.
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