Suspense ruled in the inaugural Southern Caribbean Billfish Circuit (SCBC), a new series where teams of sports fishermen scored cumulative points by angling in three or more of any six long-established island tournaments. Going into the final event, three teams had the potential to win. Yet, it was Capt. Gerald ‘Frothy’ de Silva’s Team Hard Play II from Tobago that ultimately took the title of Top Southern Caribbean Team by one point.
“The circuit was well contested,” says Hard Play II’s Capt. Gerald ‘Frothy’ de Silva. “It all came down to the grand finale in November in Martinique where the top three boats in the circuit showed up specifically to vie for the title.”
Team Hard Play II jumped into the Series lead early by placing first at the Spice Island Billfish Tournament in January. Good luck met bad when the Hard Play II Team finished 11th and scored no Series points at the Tobago International Game Fish Tournament in March. Viking II won and edged up to a Series second, behind Hard Play II, after two tournaments.
Team Challenge II took over the Series lead at the Barbados Game Fishing Association International Tournament in April by winning the event and landing a new Barbados blue marlin record, a 507-pounder.
Hard Play II re-captured its Series lead at the late April Trinidad & Tobago Game Fishing Association’s Marlin Madness Tournament by finishing third and tallying 18 Series points to Challenge II’s 17. An 890-pound record blue marlin catch from aboard the Indigo moved this team into third in series standings after four tournaments.
Team Hard Play II didn’t fish the St. Lucia International Billfish Tournament in September, and Barbados’ Team Challenge II took the Series lead once again with Magic Lady from Martinique third.
With Challenge II at 23 points, Hard Play II at 22 points and Magic Lady at 19 points, the stage was set for the SCBC’s finale at the Martinique Billfish Association Billfish Tournament (MBABT) in October. “ I knew that we had to finish at least 4th to take the lead and 4th place would only hold if Team Challenge II did not finish in the top four positions,” de Silva explains. “As faith would have it, we released two blue marlin on the last day of the MBABT to slide into fourth place.”
Challenge II and Magic Lady finished 2nd and 3rd respectively during the first SCBC event. Over 100 boats and 600 anglers competed in the SCBC’s six tournaments.
“We expect the competition to be more intense next year,” says de Silva, “and hope that the new dimension of the circuit will attract more teams to participate in SCBC events.”
SCBC SERIES 2009
January 20-23: 40th Annual Spice Island Billfish Tournament. Grenada. Email: email@example.com;
March 19-22: Tobago International Game Fish Tournament. Tobago. Web: www.tgft.com
TBA September: St. Lucia International Billfish Tournament. St. Lucia. Web: www.stluciabillfish.com
TBA October-November: Martinique Billfish Association Billfish Tournament. Martinique. Web: www.martinique-billfish.org