Anglers aboard the Puerto Rican yacht, Siouxsie Anne, released four blue marlin for 1800 points to win the 51st annual International Billfish Tournament, held out of Club Nautico de San Juan in Puerto Rico from August 15-22.
“We had great weather and the fishing was excellent,” said Mickey Tirado, chairman of the tournament in which 289 anglers competed aboard 78 boats.
Jennifer Bacardí, who traveled to the tournament from Miami, Florida, aboard her family’s yacht, Rum Bum, won Best International Angler and Best Lady Angler. Bacardí, who regularly competes in tournaments around the world, beat out Americans Marc Waldron and Isidro Huertas for this honor.
The prestigious International Cup, which carries with it a coveted berth in the Rolex IGFA International Tournament at Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, in May 2005, was won by the team of Club Náutico de San Juan. Anglers on the winning team were Alfonso Díaz, Jr., René de la Cruz and Wilson Colberg with a combined total of 1,400 points.
Last year, the tournament progressed to an “all-release” event. This meant that not a single billfish was boated during the competition.
In this “all-release” event, the Best Angler award went to Rafael Castro from Ponce, Puerto Rico, who also won the Interclub Team trophy with 2,000 points.Puerto Rican anglers Joaquín Acevedo and Luis M. Sánchez finished as second and third place anglers,
The boats Implante (1,500 points), Reflejos (1,500 points), Davis 61 (1,500) and Rum Bum (1,400), finished second through fifth, respectively, behind Siouxsie Anne.
Cash prizes, awarded as an incentive to the captains of the first three winning boats, went to Ricardo Ramos (Siouxsie Anne), Domingo Ubieras (Implante) and Alex Jiménez (Reflejos).
Tirado said 75 blue marlin total were released during the four fishing days.
Representatives of the International Game Fishing Association (IGFA), the governing organization of world game fishing, and The Billfish Foundation, the organization responsible for the preservation of the species, also participated in the event, as well as renowned marine artist, Dr. Guy Harvey.
Anglers from Ecuador, Guatemala, France, Bermuda, the Dominican Republic, U.S. Virgin Islands, United States, and Puerto Rico competed in this longest consecutively held big game fishing tournament in the world.