San Juan, Puerto Rico. Blue Marlin, Tight lines and trend-setting summed up the red hot sports fishing action on the first day of the Club Nautico de San Juan’s 59th International Billfish Tournament (IBT). The fleet of 43 boats, with 148 anglers hailing from 8 countries, released 30 blue marlin and hooked-up or saw more than double this number. What’s more, following up on its success last year in launching the International Game Fishing Association’s ‘Great Marlin Race’ and in the spirit of billfish conservation, the IBT is the first to partner with the National Geographic Society in a tournament setting to deploy Crittercams, water-and pressure-proof systems that include recording equipment, to capture images of blue marlin in their natural environment, footage that will be used to create a documentary on this magnificent billfish.
“It was a great day of fishing and a great tournament. I’m really proud of tournament director, Miguel Donato, and his team” says Club Nautico de San Juan’s commodore, Gustavo Hermida, who fished aboard his 77’ Hatteras, Fish Hunter. “We were also excited to be one of two boats that were able to work with National Geographic scientists to deploy a Crittercam today.”
On the scoreboard, it is the 52-foot custom sportsfisher, GinPoleAde, which leads after this first day of fishing by being the first to release three blue marlin.
“We saw four blue marlin for the day and released three,” explains GinPoleAde’s owner and captain, Jorge Torruella, who brings an impressive 60 years of experience and skills to the competition. “The fish were pretty much spaced throughout the day. We release our first blue around 9:30 a.m. and the last late in the afternoon. All three were around 400 pounds, really nice fish.”
Currently in second and also with three blue marlin releases is the 45’ Hatteras, Seaborn.
“We saw 8 blue marlin, including a triple header, all in an area about 4 miles off El Morro,” says Seaborn’s owner, Alex Oben. “We also were one of two boats to deploy a Crittercam. It was a successful mission.”
The release of a blue marlin one-minute before lines out for the day gave the 52’ Viking, Gaviota, three releases total and a third position on the scoreboard.
“They were all small fish, around 175 to 250 pounds,” explains Frankie Mirandes, who fished aboard Joe Vizcarrondo’s Gaviota. “All three were caught by Miguel Sosa from Ecuador. He had the hot rod for the day.”
The second day of tournament fishing takes place tomorrow, September 27, and fishing concludes on September 30.. More than 30 prizes will be handed out at the Gala Awards Ceremony. The IBT is a qualifier for the prestigious IGFA Offshore Championship that takes place each May.
Follow all the action by visiting website is www.sanjuaninternational.com. This website offers full results, exciting videos, photos, Facebook links and Twitter feeds.