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Caribbean Big Sport Fishing Tournament Schedule 2013

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They don’t have passports or visas. They don’t clear customs and immigration. Yet they are welcomed like royalty and Hollywood celebrities everywhere they visit. In fact, there is hardly an island in the Caribbean that doesn’t pay homage to the blue marlin and its fellow billfish by way of hosting a sport fishing tournament. Here is a sampling of upcoming sports fishing contests.

May 17: The 3rd Antigua and Barbuda Marlin Classic
Release the most or reel in the largest blue marlin over the 500lb minimum and win. In the spirit of conservation, if you bring a marlin back to the scales that weighs under 500lb, 500 points are deducted from your score. The tag and release of other billfish species earns 200 points apiece. Entry fee is $1,000 per team. The winner pockets a trophy plus 80 percent of the entry fees. Skipper’s briefing on May 16 at 7pm in Nelson’s Dockyard. www.antiguabarbudasportfishing.com

May 18 – 19: The 47th Antigua and Barbuda Sport Fishing Tournament
Some 40 sports fishing boats from Antigua, Guadeloupe and St. Maarten will compete for nearly US $15,000 in cash, trophies and sponsored gifts. There’s a Marlin Division for billfish and Sporting Division for tuna, wahoo, dolphin and kingfish. “There’s a family atmosphere,” says organizer Alison Sly-Adams. “The location in Nelson’s Dockyard, where all the boats are anchored stern-to, means you can go straight from your boat to the bar and excellent seafood.” www.antiguabarbudasportfishing.com

May 28 – June 3: International Cap Cana Billfish Shootout
Last year 17 boats released 106 whites, 17 blues and a sailfish in three days of fishing. Double the entries are expected this year. Teams can fish in one of two divisions: The Chivas Regal Division has its set of team and individual angler awards for boats participating in the Calcuttas, while the Brugal Rum Division is similar but with no money. This is the first leg of the Spanish Main Series. www.intlbillfishtourns.com

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June 4 – 8: St. Martin Billfish Tournament
New – the tournament returns to Marina Fort Louis, the minimum weight to land a blue marlin is raised to 400lb in the interest of conservation, and first-ever fun categories for largest tuna, dolphin and wahoo are added. Forty entries are expected. Over $100,000 in cash and prizes awarded. www.billfish-tournament.com

July 19 – 21: The 50th July Open Billfish Tournament
“Entries are limited to the first 25 boats so we encourage all anglers to register online as soon as possible,” says tournament director, Jeffrey Kreiner. “The early bird special of $3800 is for entries made by July 1st 2013. After that, it will be $4000. This is the July full moon and the fish should be biting in large numbers. There will be an extra-large monetary prize this year in honor of our 50th Anniversary.” www.vigfc.com

August 14 – 15: The BVI Open
Leg 2 of the Spanish Main Series (SMS) is a two-day tournament up to the Bitter End Yacht Club, in Virgin Gorda, and back. At BEYC, fishermen will enjoy a steak and lobster dinner. The SMS is scheduled at the same time as the ‘Fish for Haiti’ tournament, so boat owners can contribute to this beneficiary, if they desire. Boats that fish both tournaments get 25 percent off entry fee.  www.abmt.vi

August 18 – 22: USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament
New – the ‘Super Bowl of Sports Fishing’, also known as the ‘Boy Scout Tournament’ for the event’s chief beneficiary, hosts its inaugural Marlin Fest. “Fun week-long vacation packages are now being created,” explains tournament director Jimmy Loveland. Twenty to thirty boats are expected to compete for cash, prizes and bragging rights. This is also Leg 3 and the finale of the Spanish Main Series. www.abmt.vi

September 15 – 21: Club Nautico de San Juan’s International Billfish Tournament (IBT)
Celebrate the tournaments 60th Anniversary with a special offer: pay for two and the third team member is Free! The IBT is an all-inclusive tournament. Offer good until July 31. “We invite you to enter our event that last year broke its own record with 102 releases in four fishing days, an average of 2.5 releases per boat,” invites chairman, Miguel Donato. “Satellite information on water temperature and currents are proving to be a great guide!” www.sanjuaninternational.com

September 30 – October 4: Saint Lucia International Billfish Tournament
In addition to fishing fun offshore, new this year is a Fishing Expo during tournament week that will include a Kids Fun Fishing Day, IGFA observer course, workshops, and the first annual Miss Billfish St. Lucia Bikini Contest. “Prizes include a vehicle for the angler who breaks the island’s blue marlin record of 707lb by 1lb,” says tournament director, Annie Hamu. “Other prizes include reels, rods, clothing, fishing gear, trophies and cash, cash, cash.” www.billfishstlucia.com

October 5 – 12: The 50th Port Antonio International Marlin Tournament
Nearly 40 boats with teams already confirmed from Jamaica, Haiti, Barbados, Canada, Florida, France and Holland are expected to fish this Golden anniversary. “We have 30 trophy categories including an invitation to the 2014 World Offshore Championships in Costa Rica,” says Dr. Ron DuQuesnay, chair of the Sir Henry Morgan Angling Association. Total prizes are valued at US $15,000. www.jamaicasportsfishing.com

October 26: Nevis Sport Fish Tournament
Twenty-five boats from St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Barths, Saba, St. Croix and Montserrat will compete for prizes such as cash and sponsored gifts in kingfish, tuna, dolphin and wahoo categories. Captain Clivin Christmas, aboard the 31ft Blackfin, has won eight times and is the boat to beat! www.nevisyachtclub.com

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

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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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