International Billfish Tournament of Club Náutico de San Juan
International Billfish Tournament of Club Náutico de San Juan

Sport Fishing Tournament Preview: May to December

Billfish and gamefish migration along the 2000-mile Caribbean island chain means that there’s virtually a fishing tournament every month of the year. Here is a sampling of events that take place from May to December.

May 6-9:
Greet Turtle Cay Championship
This is the second of the four-leg Bahamas Billfish Championship (BBC), a 1973-founded series acquired by Active Interest Media in February. “We now have more resources at our fingertips and can make the BBC even more exciting,” says organizer Jenifer Dudas. The Series continues with the Treasure Cay Championship (May 27-30) and concludes with the Boat Harbour Championship (June 10-13) where the overall BBC Champion is named. www.bahamasbillfish.com

 

Antigua Sports Fishing Tournament. Photo: Laura Hall
Antigua Sports Fishing Tournament. Photo: Laura Hall

May 21-22:
Antigua & Barbuda Marlin Classic
May 22-24:
Antigua & Barbuda Sport Fishing Tournament
Duty-free fuel is one big draw to fish these exciting back-to-back tournaments. “This should reflect in big savings especially for the larger vessels that travel from other islands to participate,” says organizer Robert Hall. The latter event hosts a sport fish as well as billfish division. Live music and nightly parties at Nelson’s Dockyard. www.antiguabarbudasportsfishing.com

May 25-30:
Ernest Hemingway International Billfish Tournament
New, says José Miguel Díaz Escrich, commodore of the host Hemingway International Yacht Club of Cuba, is “a wide range of awards to please participants with a beautiful memory of taking part in this celebration of sport fishing.” Teams, which can bring their own boats or charter, score points for the catch and release of blue marlin, white marlin, sailfish and spearfish. www.hemingwayyachtclub.org

 

Winners of the Marlin Jackpot at the St. Martin Billfish Tournament 2014
Winners of the Marlin Jackpot at the St. Martin Billfish Tournament 2014

June 2-6:
St. Maarten Billfish Tournament
The prize for catching a record-breaking 815lb plus blue marlin is a new 25ft Contender bay boat valued at over $75,000. “We are adding a jackpot prize called the White Marlin Challenge and it is based on most accumulated white marlin points. Winner takes all!” says organizer Stephen Petit. New too will be a boat show at Marina Fort Louis on the final day of fishing. Festivities ashore include food and live music with international reggae sensation ‘Raging Fyah’ entertaining on the final night. www.billfish-tournament.com

June 8-14:
International Cap Cana Billfish Shootout
This is the second leg of the first-ever Dominican Billfish Triple-Header tournament series, which kicked off in March and concludes with the Blue Marlin Cap Cana Classic (September 10-13). “The incredible number of blue and white marlin combined with state-of-the-art marinas is the thrill of a series like the Triple-Header,” says organizer Rick Alvarez. www.intlbillfishtourns.com

 

Ready for the fishing action! Milk Made at the Caicos Classic
Ready for the fishing action! Milk Made at the Caicos Classic

July 2-6:
Caicos Classic IGFA Billfish Release Tournament
“Win the Caicos Classic and earn your team entry into the IGFA World Billfish Championship in Costa Rica,” invites tournament director Art Pickering. This five-day event, hosted out of IGY’s Blue Haven Resort & Marina, lets anglers test their prowess on the seas, enjoy celebrations ashore and benefit local and international non-profit charities. www.caicosclassic.tc

 

Checking out at the July Open Billfish Tournament. Photo: Dean Barnes
Checking out at the July Open Billfish Tournament. Photo: Dean Barnes

July 28-30:
July Open Billfish Tournament
Ten to 15 boats are expected to fish this second longest held billfish event in the Caribbean. “Teams are coming from the Caribbean – Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic – as well as from Florida and the Gulf States. They are all coming for our big blue marlin,” says Lori Bailey, manager of the host Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club. A kid’s tournament will take place on July 26th. www.vigfc.com

August 1-3:
BVI Open
Teams fish out of the Bitter End Yacht Club in Virgin Gorda, which is very close to the productive drop-off. “The BVI Open is a ‘team’ rather than an ‘angler’ tournament. All billfish count and points are calculated based on use of 30-or 50lb test line,” says director Jimmy Loveland. Festivities include a steak and lobster awards dinner. www.abmt.vi/Pages/bviopen.htm

August 7-9:
Tarpon Tournament
New at this tournament hosted out of the Trinidad & Tobago Yacht Club in Diego Martin is a weekend warrior option. “Anglers who cannot fish for the full three days or six sessions can opt to fish only three,” explains organizer and secretary of the Trinidad & Tobago Game Fishing Association Geoffrey Pollard. Prizes include cash and products. The overall winner receives an invite to the IFGA’s World Billfish Championship. ttgfa.com

 

USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament 2014 – Top Angler, Steve Davis and second Top Angler and father, Jr. Davis (left), on Wave Paver. Photo: Dean Barnes
USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament 2014 – Top Angler, Steve Davis and second Top Angler and father, Jr. Davis (left), on Wave Paver. Photo: Dean Barnes

August 26-30:
USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament
Luck and skill wins this ‘Super Bowl of Sports Fishing’. New is a tournament within a tournament. “The Wet N’ Wild ‘Big 5’ (wahoo, tuna, sailfish, white marlin and blue marlin) center console tournament is creating a buzz because wahoo and tuna can add points to a team’s score.  In other words, the weight of a wahoo or a yellowfin tuna can break a tie and put a team on top,” says director Jimmy Loveland. www.abmt.vi

September 24-30:
International Billfish Tournament
Close to 40 boats fish Puerto Rico’s ‘Marlin Alley’ for big billfish and lots of them. “We hope to increase international angler participation with a change to light-tackle or 30lb test line and the option for boats to fish with their own crew and anglers like last year,” said a tournament spokesman. Festivities include parties that embrace the island’s beauty and culture. sanjuaninternational.com

October 17:
Nevis Fishing Tournament
Wahoo, mahi-mahi and kingfish earn prizes for anglers in boat categories of over and under 25ft. The Nevis Yacht Club hosts this tournament out of the beachfront Oualie Beach Resort. www.nevisyachtclub.com

October 16-24:
Port Antonio International Marlin Tournament
This half-century-plus Jamaican event is famous for its fishing and partying. “We had our 3rd or 4th PAIMT tournament tagged, released and recaptured blue marlin last year. It was recaptured off Santo Domingo after five years free,” says director, Dr. Ron DuQuesnay. In addition to the main offshore billfishing event, there is a one-day native canoe tournament. www.jamaicasportsfishing.com

 

Chivas Regal Aruba Caribbean Cup
Chivas Regal Aruba Caribbean Cup

October 22-25:
Chivas Regal Aruba Caribbean Cup
A top prize of $20,000 cash brings out many local and visiting teams. “Aruba is friendly and welcoming destination with a short run to the grounds and a shot at a grand slam on any given day. Plus, the social events bring together the participants in an unparalleled sense of camaraderie,” says organizer Sam White. www.preschallenge.com

 

Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian. 

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