A Sailfish, Some Wine, & an Eight-Year-Old Angler

A Sailfish, Some Wine, & an Eight-Year-Old Angler

Red wine might not be your beverage of choice while sportfishing, but it sure came in handy for one boat during the Edisto Invitational Billfish Tournament. Before we get into why the Bad Becky found themselves ready to pop a cork, let’s introduce the 8-year-old that led them to it. 

Addie Burns, the granddaughter of Claude Burns, owner of the Bad Becky, is an athlete known for her dominance on the soccer field and, more recently, her skills on the rod. During the first day of fishing in the Edisto Invitational Billfish Tournament, Addie found herself fighting a sailfish shortly after lines in.

“It was a little scary at first because I have never reeled one in. I had to reel really fast,” she said. “Everyone was cheering me on and that made it really exciting. Afterwards, I felt proud and like I could reel another one in.”  

Photo courtesy of Bad Becky Sportfishing

Photo courtesy of Bad Becky Sportfishing

Addie sure wasn’t the only one proud of her accomplishments that day. The whole crew erupted in cheers, hugs, high-fives, fist bumps and congratulations after she released the sailfish. When asked about how he felt during that moment, James Burns, Addie’s father, said, “Amazing!! It was Addie’s first billfish, and she fought the fish better than some grown men…I couldn’t be more proud of the young lady she has become! I’m one proud Daddy!” 

When it came time to showcase that Addie had released a sailfish, the team scrambled to find a pink lady angler flag. After realizing they didn’t have one on the boat, the crew of MacGyvers didn’t shy away from a chance to get creative. “Everyone was running around trying to figure out how to dye it pink,” Addie recalled. “They put red Gatorade all over it and it didn’t look very pink. So they soaked it in red wine. And then it came out pink and we took a picture with it and hung it on the boat.” The Bad Becky proudly raised that wine-soaked flag that afternoon and into the evening, a reminder of what brings people of all ages together when sportfishing. James explained, “Fishing with my daughter up to this point has really been the pinnacle of my fishing years. I look forward to the day my younger three children can join in and, one day, my grandchildren. Great memories make life grand, and making memories with my family is most important to me!”

Photo courtesy of Bad Becky Sportfishing

Photo courtesy of Bad Becky Sportfishing

The Bad Becky, without question, is a family-first boat. Captain Chase Merriman, mate Patrick Brogan, angler Robby Harrison, and others may not be blood, but they sure seem like kin. Claude Burns has assembled a team that is competitive in sportfishing but still recognizes when something has more worth than prize money. “Bad Becky’s crew has the special bond of close friendships and mutual respect. Fishing competitively could easily leave a crew bitter about dealing with a child when working hard to win overall,” Claude said. “However, our crew is excited to see the next generation excited to be learning a sport that they love themselves! To watch our crew support, encourage and motivate a young angler makes me proud to be associated with them…”

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Addie held onto the lead throughout the tournament and, amongst whoops and claps and shouts from her Bad Becky family, blood or otherwise, she proudly accepted the award for First Place Youth Angler. We can’t wait to see what she’ll accomplish next year! Congratulations to Addie and the rest of the Bad Becky team! Pretty work!


The Teaser is a series dedicated to showcasing the stories of the Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series and its lively community. The Gov Cup was created several decades ago to encourage the conservation of ocean resources through the tagging and release of billfish. Learn more here.

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