While vacationing with his family in Florida several years ago, Josh Jorgensen, an avid angler from Canada, took up the sport of land-based shark fishing. After several years of fishing from the surf, Jorgensen and his friend Tom Kieras, decided to participate in a local shark fishing tournament in 2007. The team did not do very well, but by fishing the tournament, Jorgensen became inspired to start his own tournament.

After much research and effort, Jorgensen had organized the 1st Annual Blacktip Challenge Shark Fishing Tournament in 2008. The tournament was designed to target the winter Blacktip migration. Blacktip sharks begin their northern descent in December and return to the north in April. The tournament began on January 1st and ended on March 31st. A total of 14 anglers participated in 2008 and managed to catch and release 156 sharks during the three month period.

Behind the scenes of the 2009 Blacktip Challenge web series

After a successful inaugural tournament in 2008, 'Blacktip Challenge' creator and director, Josh Jorgensen, began planning for the 2009 event with an expanded vision. Josh, a supporter of conservation-minded fishing, expanded the tournament beyond the 'CPR' (catch, photograph & release) format of 2008 with added steps to qualify catches that include measurement taking for use in estimated weight formulas, and most notably, the application of research-tracking tags, prior to the release of all animals back to the wild. Jorgensen decided that a partnership with NOAA's Apex Predator Program was the most proficient way to involve tagging in the tournament format. The Blacktip Challenge also partnered with members of the scientific community like Dr. Nancy E. Kohler and Dr. Patrica A. Turner of the National Marine Fisheries Service, fisheries research biologist for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, Eric Sander, and David Hall of Hallprint fish tags. In efforts to share his passion, and after viewing enough of what he refers to as, "The same old fishing shows on TV", Jorgensen approached fellow big-game anglers and wildlife filmers, Sean & Brooks Paxton, to produce a seven episode mini series of the tournament. The series was aired on YouTube, reaching a combined audience of over 190,000. The seven-day tournament was also filmed by SpiegelTV, a German television production company of the news magazine Der Spiegel.

Filming an episode with the TV show How to Do Florida

As the tournament's popularity continued to grow, producers from the award winning show how to Do florida contacted Jorgensen to film a segment during the 2012 Blacktip Challenge. The episode showed it's audience how to do land-based shark fishing and was aired on Sun Sports and ABC.

In the fall of 2012, researchers from Nova Southeastern University (NSU) and St. Mary’s Medical Center (SMMC) contacted Jorgensen with the intent of conducting important shark research during the 2013 tournament. The scope of the research project was to improve the antibiotic treatment of shark attack victims by collecting bacteria samples from the oral flora of various shark species. Researchers from NSU and SMMC collected important samples during the 2013 tournament. Anglers caught more than 75 sharks (11 sharks exceeded eight feet in length) during the three day period of the tournament. The popular YouTube Channel BlacktipH filmed and produced a full length episode of the 2013 tournament. The episode was aired on YouTube, reaching an audience of over 170,000.

Previous Winners

Largest Shark

Pos Angler Year
1 Roger Suarez 2015
2 Shannon Bustamante 2015
3 Brandon Adams 2015
1 Peter Buban 2014
2 Devin Kanhai 2014
3 Shannon Bustamante 2014
1 Shannon Bustamante 2013
2 Mike O'Gorman 2013
3 James Fuqua 2013
1 Raymunod Muniz 2012
2 Billy Centrone 2012
3 Melissa Showman 2012
1 Peter Barrett 2011
2 Mike Croke 2011
3 Brian Brazaitis 2011
1 Chris Bishop 2009
2 Chris Bishop 2009
3 Chris Bishop 2009
1 Mike Palmer 2008

Largest Blacktip

Pos Angler Year
1 Melissa Showman 2015
2 Christopher Swenson 2015
3 Alberto Vanegas 2015
1 Shawn Ramsey 2014
2 Johnathan Serrano 2014
3 Johnathan Serrano 2014
1 Melissa Showman 2013
2 James Levin 2013
3 Kyle Moxon 2013
1 Ryan Bolash 2012
2 Pete Barrett 2012
3 CJ Floyd 2012
1 Brian Brazaitis 2011
2 JD Hammer 2011
3 Greg Miller 2011
1 Chris Bishop 2009
2 Chris Bishop 2009
3 Chris Bishop 2009
1 Mike Palmer 2008

Most Sharks

Pos Team Year
1 Gladiator Outdoors 2015
2 Team Quick Release 2015
3 Hammer And The Phenoms 2015
1 Hammer & the Phenoms 2014
2 Bombers 2014
3 Dirty South Shark Hunters 2014
1 Barrett 2013
2 Waterboys 2013
3 Hammer & the Phenoms 2013
1 Barrett 2012
2 Infinity 2012
3 Centrone 2012
1 Nico Salomoni 2011
1 Chris Bishop 2009
1 Howard Ball 2008

Largest Shark - Junior Angler

Angler Year
Zac Colton 2015
Cameron McCllelan 2014
Fallon Rogerson 2013
Steven Stallings 2012

Largest Shark - Spinning Tackle

Angler Year
Alex Stevens 2015
Anthony Tremarco 2014
James Levin 2013

Largest Shark - Female Angler

Angler Year
Melissa Showman 2015
Lisa Deboise 2014
Fallon Rogerson 2013
Melissa Showman 2012
Melissa Showman 2009

Largest Shark - 50lb

Angler Year
Dennis Bergeron 2014
Britney Lutzow 2013

Largest Shark - 30lb

Angler Year
Kevin Cabrera 2014
CJ Floyd 2013

Largest Fish

Angler Year
Dennis Bergeron 2015
Brandon Skoff 2014
Dennis Bergeron 2013
CJ Floyd 2012