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669 Pound Blue Marlin Breaks Record at Spice Island Billfish Tourney

Barbados
boat “Legacy” broke the long-standing marlin record in the 37th
Spice Island Billfish Tournament (SIBT), held January 24-27 out of the Grenada
Yacht Club. Angler Adrien Johnson spent well over an hour fighting the fish to
the boat and the team spent almost as long again trying to get it inside the
boat! This fish not only broke the record and won the EC$30,000 (US$11,000)
prize, but also helped the team win the both first place boat and first place
angler prizes. SIBT chairman, Richard McIntyre, commented at the prize giving
that it was fitting that a Barbados
boat beat the record as a Barbadian angler – the late Robert Ward, also caught
the previous record blue marlin of 556 pounds.

Nineteen boats carrying 89 anglers from Barbados, Trinidad, Martinique and Grenada braved
25-knot winds and 10-foot plus seas to reach the Grenada Yacht Club, long time
home of the competition. The dangerous seas turned back many more boats that
had wished to enter.

After the traditional Bimini start, the first days fishing
went forward in spite of conditions so bad that the tournament committee had
considered canceling it. “Fishing was difficult if not down right scary
in the large seas but still four billfish were released – three sailfish
and a white marlin. Good sized dorado also featured heavily in most boats
catches that day,” says committee member, Gary Clifford.

The second day’s competition saw slightly reduced seas
and lighter winds, which improved the fishing. Trinidad
boat “Talking Blues” fought a large marlin for several hours before
finally losing it. Grenadian boat “Yes Aye” released two sails for
her British anglers and was ahead of the pack until the Barbados boat
“Legacy” radioed in that they had caught the marlin that later
broke the record. Local small boat “Heatwave” had junior anglers
onboard and sensibly stayed close to shore in the heavy seas – they were
rewarded with no less than six wahoo.

The lay day was celebrated by a cook off competition on the
beach at the Grenada Yacht Club. “The Barbadian seafood medley and fish
chowder were voted tops although the Trinidad
stewed pork was also excellent. The local oil down and pig souse was also
popular. The bar was kept busy and everyone had a good time,” says
Clifford.

The last days fishing saw a return to more typical January
fishing conditions of three to five foot seas and bright sunshine. “Not
only were conditions better, but the marlin bite was hot,” says Clifford.
“Legacy” hooked up another big marlin (ultimately 407 pounds at the
scales) early on and boated it. Local boats “Crazy Horse” and
“Risky Business” were among several that hooked and either released
and/or lost blue marlin. Martinique boat
“Contendress” fought a marlin for two hours before boating it
– it later weighed 373 pounds – not a massive fish but it scraped
them into second place overtaking “Yes Aye” who released another
sailfish. “Storm Hunter” from Barbados weighed in the only
yellowfin tuna of the event at 162 pounds.

At the end of the competition, says Clifford, “a total
of 7 blue marlin, 15 sailfish, 1 white marlin, 28 dorado and 1 yellowfin tuna
had been caught. Hopefully the excellent marlin fishing will encourage more
boats to make the trip for next year’s tournament.”

RESULTS

TOP BOATS

1. Legacy,
Barbados

2. Contendress, Martinique

3. Yes Aye, Grenada

TOP ANGLERS

1. Adrien Johnson, Legacy

2. Eddy Baray, Contendress

3. Duane Skinner, Legacy

TOP RELEASE ANGLER

1. Badger Dearman, Yes Aye, 3 sailfish

TOP RELEASE BOAT

1. Yes Aye, Grenada,
4 releases

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