Budget Marine Spice Island Billfish Tournament

Day two and the boats head out at dawn. Photo: Gerard De Bruin

A new teaser system spelled success for the sport fisherman aboard the Bertram 31, Hard Play II. The Tobago-based team earned Top Boat at the 48th Budget Marine Spice Island Billfish Tournament, held January 21st to 25th out of the Grenada Yacht Club in St. George’s, with the release of nine billfish, five sailfish and four blue marlin. Hard Play II angler David Sheridan scored three sail and two blue marlin releases to win the Top Angler prize. What’s more, if there was an award for youngest champion captain, Hard Play II’s Adrian De Silva may have won. It’s easy to see where the young man gets his skill and talent; his father is famous Caribbean captain Gerald ‘Frothy’ De Silva.

“Captain Adrian and mate Mathew Milne were fishing off Grenada for a few days before the tournament,” explains the senior De Silva. “This gave them a slight advantage as they were able to find a good body of water with a good fish stock and they worked that area for the entire tournament. During that time, they identified David Sheridan as a pretty good angler and as a result the team decided to use him as their main strike angler.”

The team worked steadily, releasing two sailfish and one blue marlin the first day, another sail and blue the second day, and two sails and two blues for a stellar third and final day finish. In their tackle technique arsenal was a new teaser system, which is still in the development stages, although already proving to be quite a success. Nicknamed the Marlin Whistle by Adrian’s younger brother Curtis, De Silva says it is definitely a secret weapon that worked very well for the team.

In other awards, Martinique’s Sylvie Rolles released a blue marlin on the tournament’s second day to win Best Female Angler.

“The secret to our success is really simple: have fun and enjoy the time with your team,” says Johan Trudart, captain of the 35-foot Faeton, Destiny, on which Rolles fished.

Trinidad & Tobago’s Isaiah Aleong-Baksh, aboard Pair-a-Dice, earned Top Junior Angler with the release of three sailfish and one white marlin.

In the gamefish categories, Trinidad & Tobago’s Anthony Laurence aboard Cocobel, reeled in the Heaviest Yellowfin, a whopping 145-pounder. Martinique’s Max Maugee caught the Heaviest Wahoo, a 36-pounder, while fishing on the Two Thou. Grenada’s Robert Miller, angling off Zuzu, captured the Heaviest Dorado at 37lb.

“For most anglers, the best thing about this tournament is the amazing offshore fishing that Grenada has to offer. Also, after the fishing, the jetty lime and boat parties are second to none. The entire Grenada Yacht Club is packed with boats from all over the Southern Caribbean and the evening cook ups, Soca and Reggae music and get-togethers on the dock are really something special,” says De Silva.

The crew of Top Boat Hard Play II play hard at the awards ceremony
The crew of Top Boat Hard Play II play hard at the awards ceremony

The Budget Marine Spice Island Billfish Tournament saw record participation from 58 boats and 287 anglers. In addition, as a sign of Grenada’s sport fishermen’s commitment to conservation, no billfish were brought to the scales for a second year in a row.

New this year, organizers continued their trend-setting use of technology by broadcasting its radio control live feed via online streams thus enabling fishing enthusiasts worldwide to catch the action first hand and as it happened.

“As chairman of this dedicated committee, I am more than overwhelmed by the success of this tournament over the years, and we have all committed ourselves to making Grenada the best fishing destination in the Caribbean,” says Nicholas George, who is also manager of title sponsor Budget Marine’s store in Grenada.

For more information and full results, visit: www.sibt.gd

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