NOTE: For the 2013 Fishing Tournaments, check it out here: http://www.allatsea.net/caribbean-big-sport-fishing-tournament-2013/
The annual migration of billfish and gamefish along the Caribbean island chain makes for great fishing year-round. Even more fun are the tournaments that combine fantastic fishing with nightly dock parties and prizes that span from spiffy trophies to luxury gifts, cash and of course bragging rights until the next tournament rolls around. Here’s a sampling of some of the regattas that take place in the remainder of 2012.
May 4th – 6th: Fourth Puerto Rico International Grand Slam Big Game Fishing Tournament. Win up to $75,000 in cash prizes – $50,000 for a Grand Slam (white marlin, blue marlin and sailfish all caught in one day) or $25,000 for smashing and surpassing the tournament’s swordfish record of a 522-pounder. “The great fishing spots are nearby and we offer many amenities at Palmas del Mar Yacht Club and Marina,” says tournament director, Luis F. Muñiz. A paella contest offers fun on shore. www.palmasdelmar.com Tel: 787-656-7300
May 17th – 22nd: Fishing Lodge International Cap Cana Billfish Shootout. The luxurious 2011-completed Fishing Lodge at the Dominican Republic’s Cap Cana Resort and Marina will play host to over 30 boats. Two divisions boast separate awards for teams and anglers, yet only one offers a Calcutta. Layday activities include a Golf Scramble and Cook-Off. “Our tournament is fun because of the great blue and white marlin fishing and our social activities include dancing, good local food and entertainment,” says tournament director, Rick Alvarez. www.intlbillfishtourns.com
May 30th – June 2nd: The Bill Fish Tournament. Three straight days of fishing, daily awards, bigger cash prizes, and shoreside fun such as a beach barbecue and fine-dining in St. Martin-St. Maarten are the big draws to this tournament where anglers fish the famous ‘Marlin Boulevard. Over 30 boats from the U.S. and several Caribbean islands are expected. “The fact that all boats must fish in the same area make this tournament unique,” says tournament director, Philippe Gasaubon. “Crews know the changes in rankings right up until the last minute.” www.billfish-tournament.com
May 25th – 28th: Forty-sixth Annual Antigua and Barbuda Sports Fishing Tournament. “Over 40 boats from around the Caribbean and world are expected to fish this traditional three-day tournament. The one-day Antigua and Barbuda Marlin Classic will follow on May 28th. Prizes for the two events total in excess of US $15,000. Dining and entertainment take place nightly at historic Nelson’s Dockyard. New this year, Galleon Beach is offering discounted rooms from US $87 per night with beachfront cottages at US $96 nightly. “It’s a safe anchorage off the beach and there is a dinghy dock, so we are inviting fishermen to bring their boats, moor up and make a weekend of it with the family,” says organizer, Alison Sly-Adams. www.antiguabarbudasportfishing.com
June 30th – July 2nd: U. S. Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club Forty-ninth July Open Billfish Tournament. Angle for cash, prizes and big-time bragging rights in this historic tournament where past winners include a virtual ‘Who’s Who’ of famous anglers and boats. Release the most billfish to win. www.vigfc.com
July 30th – August 2nd: BVI Billfish Tournament. This all-release tournament takes place over one of two full moons in August. As many as 18 to 20 boats are expected. “We’re committed to making this tournament a cornerstone event,” says Sandra Graham, Bitter End Yacht Club COO. “In addition to world-class blue marlin fishing, we have some of the world’s finest fishing, including inshore, tarpon and permit fishing, coupled with some of the best bone-fishing in the Caribbean.” www.bvibillfishtournament.com
August 28th – September 1st: USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament. Celebrating its 40th year, the bite will be hot to welcome the sport fishing world’s elite. “We’re expecting upwards of 40 boats,” says tournament director, Jimmy Loveland. Famous marine artist Guy Harvey will pen this year’s art as well as fly in to fish. www.abmt.vi
September 23rd – 30th: Club Nautico de San Juan’s International Billfish Tournament. This tournament launched the IGFA’s Great Marlin Race, where fishermen put ‘Pop-up Archival Transmitting Tags’ (PATs) into seven blue marlin, allowing scientists to track these great fish around the world. Fly in and fish. “Visiting anglers are assigned aboard the best boats and rotated every day, a hospitality feature that sets the IBT apart from the rest,” says director, Miguel Donato. www.sanjuaninternational.com
September 29th – October 5th: Annual Francis Nunes Jr. Memorial Tournament and Seafood Festival. Fish for dolphin, wahoo, kingfish and tuna during this one-day tournament that honors the contribution that Francis Nunes Jr. made to Antigua and Barbuda Sport Fishing over the years. Fork into everything from lobster, crab and sushi to fried fish and fungi at the Seafood Festival. www.antiguabarbudasportfishing.com
October 19th – October 23rd: St. Lucia International Billfish Tournament. Sports fishermen from throughout the Caribbean and Europe travel to IGY Rodney Bay Marina for this fantastic fishing tournament. Dockside parties and great prizes add to the fun. stluciabillfish.com
October 20th – 27th: Forty-ninth Port Antonio International Marlin Tournament. Based out of the Errol Flynn Marina, this weeklong fishing event features superb billfishing and shoreside parties. www.errolflynnmarina.com and www.jamaicasportsfishing.com
Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.