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10 Sport Fishing Tournaments to Try Your Luck

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Sport fishing is a sport enjoyed around the globe. In the U.S., 46 million Americans or nearly 16 percent of the population ages 6 and older fishes for pleasure, according to the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation’s 2015 Special Report on Fishing. What’s more, angling for that big one isn’t an adult men’s only club. In fact, this same report reveals that 47 percent of first-time fishermen are women and that nearly 4.3 million young people said they would like to try out the sport.

“Sportfishing is a major market for IGY Marinas, and we are thrilled to once again be the host location for several leading tournaments around the world. These annual events allow our marina teams to engage with the sport fish community in a unique way, creating a fun yet competitive environment for vessel owners and charters worldwide,” says Tom Mukamal, chief executive officer of IGY Marinas, headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Here is a sampling of 10 Top Tournaments, where you can try your luck either north or south, in the Atlantic or Pacific oceans, and for billfish and gamefish.

June 29-July 3. Caicos Classic IGFA Billfish Release. Waters surrounding the Providenciales, an island in the northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands, are flush with billfish. Blue marlin are an especially prized catch. Top Boat winners earn entry into the IGFA Offshore World Championship, which takes place annually in Costa Rica. Host IGY Blue Haven Marina offers a fish cutting station, nearby store for tackle, ice, fuel, and nearby bars and restaurants.

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American Yacht Harbor, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

July 6-8. July Open Billfish Tournament. The Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club hosts this 54th annual event, one of the longest continually held in the Virgin Islands. The big honor is for an angler to get his or her name inscribed on the Give Him Line Trophy, named in honor of pioneering captain Johnny Harms. Releasing the most billfish first nets this award. IGY’s American Yacht Harbor Marina in Red Hook, St. Thomas, which offers a tackle shop, fuel, ice and proximity to the famed ‘North Drop’, hosts this tournament.

Montauk Yacht Club Resort & Marina, in Montauk, New York

July 14-23: Montauk Canyon Challenge. Over $200,000 in cash and prizes was awarded in this tournament last year. Catch the heaviest tuna, mako, swordfish, mahi-mahi, wahoo or in-shore species like striped bass and fluke to win. There’s a BBQ Awards Ceremony on the lawn at the host Montauk Yacht Club Resort & Marina, in Montauk, New York. The IGY-operated marina if fishermen-friendly with fuel, cleaning and cutting stations and fuel onsite and tackle nearby.

August 4-8. USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament. Known as the ‘Super Bowl of Sports Fishing’, this event attracts some of the top anglers and sports fishing teams in the world. Top prizes go to the Boat team and Individual Angler who catches and releases the most blue marlin first. The tournament benefits the Marine Vocational Program, which trains the island’s young people for careers in the marine industry. The action all happens in St. Thomas, USVI at IGY’s American Yacht Harbor Marina.

September 4-5. Wet N’ Wild Center Console Tournament. Big game fish with standup tackle, on speedy center console boats for the Big 5 – blue marlin, white marlin, sailfish, wahoo and yellowfin tuna. This exciting two-day event is part of MarlinFest, a celebration of all things blue marlin. IGY’s American Yacht Harbor Marina, in St. Thomas, is host.

Marina Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

October 15-19: Los Cabos Billfish. This team event kicks-off tournament season out of Los Cabos, located in the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. The top three teams that release the most video-verified billfish first win cash prizes and trophies. There’s an optional opportunity to fish for and catch cash prizes for tuna, wahoo and mahi-mahi (dorado). The fishing fun all happens out of IGY’s Marina Cabo San Lucas, where there is an onsite bait and tackle shops, ice and fuel.

October 24-28. Bisbee’s Offshore Black & Blue. Started over three decades ago, this tournament, of which black marlin and blue marlin catch and releases earn points and prizes, paid out a record $4.1 million plus back in 2006. IGY’s Marina Cabo San Lucas is host.

November 1-4. Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot. Nearly a million dollars was paid out in prizes last year in this event that targets the largest yellowfin tuna. Last year, the top team boated a massive 298-pound tuna. Known as the largest tuna tournament in the world, the Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot also offers prizes for wahoo catches. The action happens at IGY’s Marina Cabo San Lucas.

Rodney Bay Marina, St. Lucia

November 7-11. International St. Lucia Billfish Tournament. Fish the Caribbean waters where big billfish swim. This three-day tournament is a favorite in the southern islands and boasts a turnout of skilled anglers from throughout the region as well as the U.S. and Europe. Bring your own boat or fly in and fish aboard a charter. Based out of IGY’s Rodney Bay Marina, where there is fuel, ice, restaurants and more.

November 13. Wahoo Windup. This one-day wahoo tournament is family friendly. Prices include best junior and best female angler as well as top boat and cash awards for the top 10 largest fish. The weigh-in takes place at IGY’s American Yacht Harbor Marina.

If you totally get skunked fishing, there’s another way to win. That is, sign up for IGY’s Anchor Club Rewards Program – it’s free! Then, travel to each of these IGY marinas during the sport fishing tournament season and accumulate points each time you dock. The free Reward Points are valid towards gifts, services, travel and charities. www.igyanchorclubrewards.com.

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

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