The Texas Legends Billfish Tournament was created from a previous tournament called the Bob Byrd Memorial Marlin Tournament, which was originally held in Galveston and Freeport, Texas. Bob Byrd, Sr. was an innovator and was one of the first Texas Fishermen to try trolling artificial lures for billfish instead of traditional natural bait. He also pioneered using Hawaiian style live baiting techniques around the offshore oil platforms and buoys with great success. “Live Baiting” for blue marlin at the rigs is very popular now and has been responsible for many tournament wins. Bob promoted good sportsmanship and the releasing of non-tournament billfish. The memorial tournament was originally founded by his son Bobby Byrd and Capt. John Cochrane in 1999. They had a concept for a big money tournament promoting releasing billfish, verifying the release by video camera.

Texas Legends – Redefining the Big Money Tournament

In 2006, the tournament was moved to Port Aransas, Texas and John and Bobby changed the name to the Texas Legends Billfish Tournament. They made this decision to not only honor Bob Byrd Sr., but to dedicate the tournament to all Texas Fishermen, past and present, who have made a difference in Big Game Fishing. The tournament not only pioneered the concept of video release, but also allowed tournament contestants to leave from any Texas port, something that no other tournaments allowed at that time. In addition, the tournament permitted boats to leave the dock anytime after 5 pm on Thursday – Registration Day, providing anglers with an unhurried departure during daylight hours for safety and practicality.

IGFA rules were replaced with the Legends unique Jungle Rules, allowing anyone to fight the fish, promoting fun fishing with as few rules as possible.

Instead of killing a lot of billfish, the contestant’s catch and release is verified by a video camera. Large blue marlin are the only billfish eligible to be weighed. Since 2006 only 5 blue marlin have been weighed – confirming the video release concept works and that you don’t have to kill a lot of billfish to have a big money tournament. The tournament record blue marlin is 545 lbs. caught in 2010 on the Patron.

Finally, there was the creation of the Texas Big Game Fishing Roll Call, a tribute list of outstanding big game fishermen and professional captains and mates who have passed on in our sport.

Today the Texas Legends is held every August in Port Aransas, Texas. This is an ideal location for the event, with boats fishing the entire Texas Coast.

Texas Legends – Past Tournament Champions

YEAR

BOAT NAME

OWNER

CAPTAIN

BOB  BYRD  MEMORIAL  MARLIN  TOURNAMENT

1999

ADELANTE

Will Ohmstede

Billy Evans

2000

CAJUN PLAYBOY

Tom & Tim Hazelwood

Tom Hazelwood

2001

FEW DOLLARS MORE

Bob Bower

Mike Jackson

2002

REEL AFFAIR

Carl Hutchins

Bobby Wells

2003

NUNZIO

Mark Martino

Bob Larson

2004

SEA GYPSY

Tommy Ahrens

Robert Jones

2005

BOOGIEMAN

John & Hugh Echols

David Cochrane

TEXAS  LEGENDS  BILLFISH  TOURNAMENT

2006

ROCK-N-ROBIN

Robin Parsley

Jason Pruns

2007

TOP BRASS

John McMurray

Key Puckett

2008

AKELA

Kirby Marina

Ed Bass

2009

SEAY GODDESS

Donnie Seay

John Uhr III

2010

PATRON

Tom Shumate

Joe Lyall

2011

LET IT RIDE

Gary Edwards

Tony Casias

2012

DONAKEN

Ken & Donna Porter

Dave Noling

2013

LEGACY

George Gartner

Kevin Deerman

2014

BANDIT

Bert Steindorf

Kevin Scott

 2015

BIMINI BABE 

 Floyd Appling

Robert Jones

2016

GOT’M ON

 Tom Partlow

 K.T. Scott