Teamwork proved the secret to success for both the top boat and top angler in the 46th Budget Marine Spice Island Billfish Tournament (BMSIBT) hosted January 21 to 24 out of the Grenada Yacht Club.
The Trinidad & Tobago-based team on the Cabo 40’ Express, Arabian Princess, released six billfish to take the Top Boat prize, while Trinidad & Tobago’s Marc Telfer, angling aboard the Bertram 50, Blue Fever 2, released two Blue Marlin and one Spearfish to earn the trophy for Top Angler. Isiah Aleong, also from Trinidad & Tobago, fishing on Barracuda, retained his title of Top Junior Angler for another year.
Arabian Princess was one of 48 boats, carrying 229 anglers from Grenada, Martinique, Aruba, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Trinidad & Tobago, the USA and Sweden, that paraded around the Carenage in St. George’s harbour before the tournament’s impressive Bimini Start.
“We went to where we usually start fishing, straight out the harbor, but conditions were not good as there was a lot of green dirty water and no signs of bait,” explains Sean Mendonca, Arabian Princess’ captain who officially turned over the helm to Capt. Nicholas Bovell for the tournament so that he could angle. “Around 11am we found a garbage line with cleaner water on the western side of it. We worked that area and released a white marlin. We went until 4pm without another bite and then ended up close to the hump where some boats were hooking up. Between 4 and 5pm we released two sailfish and had one jump off during the fight. After day one, we were in second place behind Blue Fever 2.”
The Arabian Princess team stuck to their same game plan on Day Two. By the end of the day, they had released a sailfish and blue marlin, which put them in a tie for first place, based on count, with Abracadabra, but in the lead based on time, i.e. catching their fish first.
If it’s not broke don’t fix it applied to the Arabian Princess team on the third and final day as they continued their lucky game plan. Success prevailed. By 9am they released a sailfish to secure the lead over Abracadabra. This turned out to be a much slower day of fishing for the fleet, a fact that helped Arabian Princess hold on to its lead to win the tournament.
“We were happy to have achieved our goal, which was to be consistent each day,” says Mendonca, whose team (in addition to himself and Bovell) included Matthew Milne, Paul Hamel-Smith and Nicholas Nahous. “Our success was definitely a team effort. We all knew our role during the tournament and we worked very well as a team, which allowed us to capitalize on most of our chances at fish.”
Top Angler Telfer also credits his win to team work.
“It was luck and being a part of a good team. After all, sports fishing is a team sport,” explains Telfer, who competed aboard Blue Fever 2 with captain and owner, Travis Ali, Dominic Wallace, Fernando Navarro and fellow angler Dean Fakoory.
In the end, the 48 boat fleet released 66 billfish. These included 16 blue marlin, six white marlin, 43 sailfish and one spearfish.
“If you ever ask: ‘Where can I go fishing to catch blue and white marlin, sailfish, long and shortbill spearfish, and of course yellowfin tuna and dorado?’ Your answer is the Island of Grenada.” On any given day the species, and the number of fish released, may vary, but the odds are you’ll get a good exercise whilst sitting in a chair hanging on to a rod being ‘spooled’,” says tournament director, Richard McIntyre. “We look forward to another exciting time for our 47th annual tournament, January 20 to 24 2016.”
For full results, visit: www.sibtgrenada.com/tournament2015-placings.htm
Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.