The weather didn’t cooperate, but the fish did at the 4th Puerto Rico International Grand Slam Big Game Fishing Tournament, held May 4th – 6th at Palmas del Mar Yacht Club and Marina in Puerto Rico.
“The weather was very bad on Sunday. We were fishing south of Vieques and it rained all morning until around 2pm, says Gustavo Hermida, owner of the tournament’s Second Best Boat, the Hatteras 80 Fish Hunter, and Commodore of Club Nautico de San Juan. “However, we caught and released a blue marlin and fought it for about 40 minutes on 30lb test.”
Hilda was named the Best Boat Overall, with the Viking 55 Picara, owned by Rhamses Carazo, third. Carazo’s 13-year-old son, Sebastian, won the Best Junior Angler award.
“We were fishing for swordfish on Saturday and I hooked a 12ft 400lb Treasure Shark that I fought for over 40 minutes,” explains Carazo. “Then on Sunday, Sebastian hooked a blue marlin around 9:30am. He fought it for only 20 to 25 minutes and it was in the 250 to 275lb range. It was a big angry fish that jumped over four times by the time Sebastian released it.”
Carli and Ivette Rodriguez, aboard their boat Onix, won the Best Fun Fish award.
“The prize refers to the variety of fish caught,” explains Ivette Rodriguez. “We caught blackfin tuna, albacore tuna and rainbow runner on the Grappler Bank south of the Palmas del Mar Yacht Club.”
Of the 25 blackfin tuna caught aboard Onix, 15 were reeled in by Ivette Rodriguez, which landed her the Best Female Angler and Largest Tuna awards.
“We really enjoyed fishing in the tournament as a family fishing day,” Rodriguez adds. “My son Carlos Luis was captain and the anglers included my second son, Fernando and daughter Ceci with her husband Miguel. Our success came from having a great team.”
In other awards, Francie Gonzalez won the Best Angler award, while Jose Caicedo, aboard Poco Loco, caught the Largest Mahi Mahi.
Fifteen boats and 60 anglers fished the tournament. Up for grabs were over $75,000 in prizes: $50,000 for a ‘Grand Slam’ (blue marlin, white marlin and sailfish release all on one day), and $25,000 for any angler who could break the island record of a 522lb swordfish, which was set in the first edition of this tournament.
One of the next big billfishing tournaments in Puerto Rico is the 59th International Billfish Tournament (IBT), set for September 23rd to 30th 2012.
“Our IBT offers a sports fishing platform that has endured for nearly six decades,” says Hermida. “Our compliment of top notch international and local anglers; and our commitment towards conservation have been key in keeping us at the top in the angling world.”
For information about the IBT, call: (787) 722-0177. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: www.sanjuan
international.com to register online.
Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.