It wasn’t a record. However, the 612lb blue marlin reeled in by Philip ‘Justen’ Barrett was definitely a whopper. The catch earned the St. Maarten fishermen the Largest Fish prize in the 49th Antigua & Barbuda Sports Fishing Tournament, held May 23rd and 24th, out of Nelson’s Dockyard, Antigua. What’s more, this massive blue marlin also earned the 39ft Contender Yellow Whip, Barrett angled on, the Top Team prize in the tournament’s Marlin Division.
“The feeling of hooking a fish like that was amazing,” says Barrett, the fishing specialist at Budget Marine in St. Maarten. “I saw the fish when it took the lure, knew it was a quality fish and called to prepare the flying gaff. The fight lasted an hour and ten minutes on 80lb stand-up tackle. The fun story behind this catch was that the whole crew had to stand on the other side of the boat to even it out on the ride in. Team work was definitely the key to our success in catching this marlin. This spans from the start when the fish took off into our spread and crossed multiple lines to when the crew and captain did an amazing job spotting the line and maneuvering the boat to tire the fish.”
Antigua & Barbuda’s record blue marlin is a 771¼-pounder caught over twenty years ago.
Antigua’s David Farara landed Top Angler in the tournament’s Sporting Division as well as the prize for Largest Fish by a male adult. Farara caught a 46.3lb wahoo aboard the 32ft Boston Whaler, Not Chief Yet.
“It was rough and there was a lot of seaweed in our normal grounds to the northwest. So on the second day, we made a decision to head east. As we turned around the bottom southeast corner, the wire line clipped off and started to scream, so we knew we had a big fish. The fish gave a good fight, coming to the boat and running back out three times, but I still couldn’t get it to surface. Then on the fourth time it came to the boat and surfaced. The skipper, JD Hall, sunk the gaff and we had it,” Farara explains.
The 49th Antigua & Barbuda Sports Fishing Tournament held true to its slogan ‘Enjoy the Fishing, Enjoy the Lime’ with nightly after-fishing parties at Nelson’s Dockyard where there was food, a DJ, fashion show, raffles and game booths for the kids.
“We enjoyed the highest number of foreign participants in 15-years and a record number of spectators,” says organizer, Robert Hall of AquaSports. “Now, we have our sights set on making our 50th Antigua Sports Fishing Tournament the biggest and best ever. Mark the dates of May 12th to 15th 2016 in your calendar. You don’t want to miss it!”
For full results, visit: www.antiguabarbudasportsfishing.com