Jinx Busters

Anglers are a superstitious lot. Bananas on board a boat are taboo. Mates will never wash lucky hats. Special food, music and rituals are observed to maintain good karma.

So when a boat does well on a bad omen day like Friday the 13th, it goes against common logic. The secret? Not realizing the actual date on the calendar.

“We’ve been fishing so much lately the days are all running together. So I didn’t even think about this being Friday the 13th,” said Harris Huddle, owner of Builder’s Choice, a 64 Jarrett Bay based in New Bern. “My wife came to town, so that was our good luck. She didn’t fish with us today, but she offered morale support.”

Harris and his tight, experienced crew, led by Capt. Brent Gaskill, racked up five white marlin releases on Friday to take the daily top boat prize. Huddle was on the rod for all of them and all were caught on naked ballyhoo.

“We were way up the line, near the Fences,” he explained. “We were by ourselves at first, but once we called in a couple releases it got busy. There were a dozen boats around us by the end of the day. We decided to take a chance and fish up that way and I’m glad we did.”

Uno Mas (77 Mark Willis) made a last-day charge with one blue and two white marlin releases to earn 450 points. Uno Mas is a former repeat PCBT champion and nearly always in contention.

Fender Bender, a 55 Jarrett Bay, released three white marlin on Friday, good for 300 points. The General, a 55 Buddy Cannady, also scored three whites to wrap up the week. Capt. Wade Fickling is The General’s skipper.

“The bite seemed to pick up a little today,” he said. “Or maybe it’s because we weren’t around as many other boats. We were up around the 200s, but there wasn’t much bait. We saw four fish, one wouldn’t eat and we caught the three that did. So it was good to end the week with a morale booster.”

The 38th annual Pirate’s Cove Billfish Tournament wraps up Friday night with the awards ceremony. Tournament Director Heather Maxwell will distribute more than $1.2 million in overall prize money to the top lucky winners. Before the clock strikes midnight or a black cat walks down the dock.