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Caribbean Sport Fishing Tournament Review: March – November

Curaçao Yacht Club fishing tournament – heading out. Photo: Kevin de Haseth, KDH Photography

The Caribbean region offers a unique advantage for sport fishermen. Not only do over 500 species of fish swim around island waters, but the nearly 1000 nautical mile span from Trinidad & Tobago or Aruba to the Dominican Republic or Jamaica means that there is always somewhere to catch and release prized migratory billfish such as blue marlin, white marlin and sailfish. Here’s a sampling of upcoming tournaments:

March 16 – 20:
Casa de Campo International Blue Marlin Classic

Big blue marlin and lots of them are the goal at this event. New, a huge St. Patrick’s Day party with a Latin touch is planned since this holiday falls on the first day of tournament fishing. “Our tournament attracts the top names that fish the Caribbean circuit,” says director, Rick Alvarez. Beneficiary is children’s charity, Patronato Oriental Hogar del Nino. intlbillfishtourns.com

 

Casa de Campo – Champagne for the Winners
Casa de Campo – Champagne for the Winners

March 24 – 26:
Curaçao Yacht Club’s Blue Marlin Release Tournament

More time for fishermen to fish and share their fish stories is the new concept. “Celebrations after fishing are what makes our tournament special,” says Jan Geerings, president of the Willemstad-located club. “It may be called a fishing tournament, but it is actually a fishermen, family and friends get together on a high level.” Captain’s meeting March 24, followed by two days of fishing. www.curacaoyachtclub.com

April 4 – 8:
Marlin Madness Game Fishing Tournament

It’s common to hook huge marlin. In 2009, an angler reeled in an 825-pounder! In addition to fishing, which takes place out of Pigeon Point on Tobago, “We have a fun filled lay day with lunch prepared by some of our members,” says Monique Sheppard, office administrator for the host Trinidad & Tobago Game Fishing Association. “The menu often includes fish broth, geera pork, peas and rice, pepper shrimp, curry goat, and curry stew lamb. Our anglers also get to mingle, play games and dance to live steel pan music.” ttgfa.com

April 19 – 23:
Barbados Game Fishing Association International Tournament

Prizes for gamefish and billfish are up for grabs at this Easter holiday angling contest. www.facebook.com/BarbadosGameFishing/

May 2 – 6:
Tobago International Game Fishing Tournament

Known as the ‘Grander Event’ since the catch of a record 1,005.9lb blue marlin in 2013. “Charlotteville, the picturesque fishing village that is the tournament’s home, is five minutes away from probably the best big game fishing grounds in the Southern Caribbean,” says organizer JJ Slater. www.tigft.com

May 29 – June 3:
Ernest Hemingway International Billfish Tournament

What makes this six-decade-long tournament special, says Domingo Novo, director of the host Hemingway Marina in Havana, Cuba, “is the international participation, big catch, warm welcome of the organizers and Hemingway’s spirit, which is here for each edition.” Four days of fishing, a lay-day, and awards ceremony are highlights. www.facebook.com/events/1005284846256802/

June 1-2:
Mikie Pigott Jr. Memorial Classic;
June 2-4:
Antigua & Barbuda Sport Fishing Tournament

Historic Nelsons Dockyard Marina is host site for this duo of events. “The one day billfish only tournament (Pigott Memorial) has grown significantly in the last few years,” says organizer Robert Hall. “The action continues June 3 and 4 with the Sporting and Marlin Division in full swing. Known for the after party, we pull out all the stops with great food, drinks and live entertainment daily.” www.antiguabarbudasportsfishing.com

 

Antigua & Barbuda Sport Fishing Tournament
Antigua & Barbuda Sport Fishing Tournament

June 8 – 13:
Cap Cana Shootout

Blue and white marlin abound, especially around the FADs off the southeast shore of the Dominican Republic. “We have a new rum sponsor, so its looks like this year’s traditional Rum Bash Party will be a cut above the past … and outdoing the previous ones won’t be easy,” says tournament director Rick Alvarez. Proceeds benefit children’s charity, Colibri Partners. intlbillfishtourns.com

June 29 – July 3:
Caicos Classic IGFA Billfish Release Tournament

Win this tournament by being the first to release the most billfish and also earn entry into the Offshore World Championship, held annually in Quepos, Costa Rica. caicosclassic.tc

Caicos Classic Top Angler in 2016, Gabriella Jiljeon
Caicos Classic Top Angler in 2016, Gabriella Jiljeon

July 6 – 8:
54th July Open Marlin Tournament

This longest annually-held angling contest in the Virgin Islands features the prestigious ‘Give Him Line’ trophy, for Top Angler, named after Capt. Johnny Harms, who discovered the productive North Drop in the 1950s. www.vigfc.com

July 29 – 30:
Tarpon Thunder Tournament

A magnificent fight is all part of coastal tarpon fishing in Trinidad. “The tournament is divided into three sessions over two days. On the first day, lunch is served and the anglers get to mingle and rest before they head out in the afternoon. On the last day, lunch is also served and then anglers can get ready for the afternoon prize giving,” says the TTGFA’s Sheppard. ttgfa.com

August 4 – 8:
45th USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament

The ‘Super Bowl of Sports Fishing’ celebrates its sapphire anniversary. “We have the best blue marlin fishing in the world,” says director Jimmy Loveland. Proceeds benefit the Marine Vocational Program. www.abmt.vi

 

USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament Winners 2016
USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament Winners 2016

September 25-October 1:
International Billfish Tournament

Hosted by Club Nautico de San Juan in Puerto Rico, a new FAD system has really upped the bite. “Last year, we had a great bite and nice size marlin providing an excellent challenge particularly for those fishing on 30lb test,” says chairman Salvador Egea, Jr. “We take pride in providing boat owners and anglers from all over the world a week full of excitement and first class activities.” sanjuaninternational.com

 

Club Nautico de San Juan International Billfish Tournament
Club Nautico de San Juan International Billfish Tournament

October 17 – 21:  Port Antonio International Marlin Tournament

Unique individuality is what makes this event special, says Dr. Ron DuQuesnay, chairman of the host Sir Henry Morgan Angling Association in Jamaica. Four days of fishing, nightly parties and a local canoe fishing tournament makes this event one of the best. www.jamaicasportsfishing.com 

 

Port Antonio International Marlin Tournament – Marlin caught and released by anglers Mark Berry and Andrew Wilkinson
Port Antonio International Marlin Tournament – Marlin caught and released by anglers Mark Berry and Andrew Wilkinson

October 26 – 29:
Presidential Aruba Caribbean Cup

A hot billfish bite south of the hurricane belt makes this a favorite tournament. www.preschallenge.com

Early November:
St. Lucia International Billfish Tournament

IGY’s Rodney Bay Marina is the host for this event, where fishing the waters north of St. Lucia and off the southern end of neighboring Martinique can produce a hot marlin bite in the fall. www.facebook.com/slugamefishingassociation 

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2 comments

  1. I don’t see the st Martin Billfish tournament June 21- the24

  2. How do I advertise my charter in St Thomas VI for these tournaments. Thank you.
    Robert Mitchell

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