67 Blue Marlin Released at San Juan’s 2018 International Billfish Tournament

Blue seas and hot action
Blue seas and hot action

Fun is what they went out to catch. When Juan Colon and his team aboard the Sunny Briggs 64, Caramba, docked after the final day of fishing in the Club Nautico de San Juan’s International Billfish Tournament, it was fun plus the Top Boat prize they brought back. Caramba was one of 43 boats and Colon one of 172 anglers from Puerto Rico and as far as South Africa, who released 67 blue marlin, nine white marlin and 13 sailfish in this 65th anniversary event fished October 15th ­– 21st.

“The first day was the most exciting for us,” explains Caramba’s owner and angler, Colon. “That was when we released four blue marlin. First, we had a double header on and our adrenalin went through the roof. Secondly, we had just released those two blues when another blue came up on the right long rigger. After that one was hooked, our captain started to back down on the fish when another blue came up on the right teaser. My son, Juan Jose Colon, pitched the bait to that blue and we were hooked up on another double header. I think of the entire tournament that was the longest and most fun fight we had. We had to really work to release those two small but feisty blues. For example, when we thought they were about to get tipped (swivel hits the rod’s tip), they started running the line out again and continued to fight until we finally accomplished the releases.”

The Caramba team fished in an area off the coast of San Juan called Los Radares (the Radars) the first two days, when they released the four blue marlin on the first day and another one on the second. Then, on the final two days, they fished between the Radars and in front of the city’s major beachfront hotels, where they released one sailfish. It was Caramba’s total of six billfish releases that landed them the Top Boat prize. Colon’s son, Juan Jose, released three of the blue marlin to earn Best Local Angler and Best Angler Overall.

Caramba had fun and also brought home the Top Boat prize
Caramba had fun and also brought home the Top Boat prize

“The secret to our team and my son’s success was simple. We went out to fish each day with the idea of having fun. For us, this is a hobby and like any other hobby we do, we do it simply to have fun. That is, tell different stories during the day and simply laugh and have a great time,” says Colon, whose Caramba team finished runner up to Top Boat four years ago and won for the first time this year.

Members of the winning Caramba team, in addition to the Colons, were Captain Victor ‘Vitin’ Gonzalez, first mate Jose ‘Pulgui’ Rosario, second mate Victor Garcia, angler Emerito Ruperto and daily rotating anglers Roger Casellas, Marcos Aleman and Jose Ramirez.  

In other awards, Mi Lujo and Demencia rounded out the second and third Top Boat slots on the leaderboard, respectively. The global participation in this tournament certainly showed in the International division’s team awards. Club Nautico de San Juan’s team of Harry Nadal, Rafael Marti and Luis Colon Torres finished first, while it was the Palm Beach, Florida, team of Louis Hammond, Thomas Hassey and Greg Milopoulos who ended second. In third was Dwayne Viviers, Davis Saalman and Robin Vermaak from South Africa. The first two teams released two blues and one white, each. South Africa released two blues.

“We had an extraordinary tournament with fabulous days of fishing, plenty of baitfish and lots of rich marine life out there. We look forward to continuing our tournament’s tradition of sports fishing and conservation for future generations to enjoy,” said tournament chairman Salvador Egea, Jr.

For full results, visit: www.sanjuaninternational.com 

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