The Tournament, the Tradition, and The Triple Crown.
Nothing speaks to tradition like fishing tournaments in Port Aransas. From May to November, nearly every weekend in Port A is stacked with a fishing tournament, sometimes two. Fishing, and the evolution to big game fishing, are so deeply woven into the fabric of the town that Port Aransas Fisherman’s Wharf was built specifically with offshore tournaments in mind. The marina gets to flex that muscle on tournament weekends such as this, when the Texas Legends Billfish Tournament is in Port Aransas.
With 32 total boats braving the ocean (and over half a million in prize money), Texas Legends is the biggest billfish tournament in Port Aransas. Between this and more than 20 years of history, there’s a lot of tradition packed into the weekend. Some traditions span tournaments—a pineapple in the boat’s fighting chair is good luck, bananas on board are very, very bad luck—while others are more individualized.
The Texas Legends Billfish Tournament features the traditional captain’s meals and post game parties, but also speaks to an even deeper tradition: that of big game fishing itself. The tournament is dedicated to “all Texas fishermen, past and present, who have made a difference in Big Game Fishing.” This year, before the competing fleet pulled out of Fisherman’s Wharf with whoops, hollers, and bumping music, the anglers took a moment to remember that dedication. Over radio, the group was united in prayer during the Blessing of the Fleet, a centuries old fishing tradition that has made its way to Port A.
What Makes This Tournament Different?
Texas Legends isn’t all stiff traditions and history. While it’s a classic billfish tournament in many respects, Texas Legends stands out for its “jungle rules.” Jungle rules are the tournament’s way of saying there are no rules. There are no limits on distance, boats may depart from any port in Texas, and no angling rules apply other than fish must be caught on a conventional rod and reel and boated by hand or gaff.
This tournament is also unique in that they pioneered the video catch and release system that promotes release of all billfish. Points in Texas Legends are awarded by billfish species, not weight, and the videos that result from this format allows for an inside look at what an offshore fishing experience is really like.
Texas Triple Crown Billfish Tournament
Texas Legends Billfish Tournament banded together with Lone Star Shootout in Port O’Connor and Texas International Fishing Tournament (TIFT) in South Padre Island in 2020 to create the Texas Triple Crown Billfish Series, a new Texas tradition. Cumulative points from these three premier tournaments will crown the Grand Champion boat, captain, and first mate of the Texas Gulf Coast. The slogan of the Texas Triple Crown is “Built on Tradition,” and Legends is, fittingly, the anchor leg of the series. The Triple Crown trophy is proudly displayed year round at Fisherman’s Wharf. Three cheers to traditions, new and old!
Walk West was the grand champion winner of the 2021 Texas Legends Billfish Tournament!