Junior anglers ruled at the 52nd Port Antonio International Marlin Tournament (PAIMT), fished October 17th to 24th, out of Jamaica’s Errol Flynn Marina. Two teenagers kicked off the action by being the first to release a blue marlin apiece. What’s more, one of them, Blake Nash, along with fellow adult angler Andrea Cowan, who released a blue on day two, earned team Integrity its First Place Boat title. Nash also won the Junior Angler and Male Angler trophies and Cowan the Female Angler prize, while fellow teenager Richard Lechler, aboard the Diana, won the second place Junior Angler Trophy.
“Coming off a fantastic fun filled Montego Bay International Invitational Tournament, where we were one of 15 lucky boats to have released marlin, we felt motivated and eager to get back on the water in Port Antonio,” says Cowan. “The morning bite was fairly slow; only one boat, the Diana, reported that their young angler, Richard Lechler, who had boated a 510lb marlin in 2014, was hooked up and fighting a fish.
Suddenly, that heart stopping click, zing, zing, zing sound that only a marlin strike makes filled the air. Team Integrity snapped into action, with our young angler Blake Nash harnessing up and getting ready for the fight of his life.
Blake is an extremely fit 15-year-old and captain of his high school Water Polo Team, and that strength and sportsmanship was clearly demonstrated when he brought the marlin to the back of the boat. We successfully tagged and released it four minutes before his classmate and friend Richard brought in his fish.”
The next day, the second of this four-day tournament, the team aboard Integrity was raring to go at their special fishing spot, off Blue Hole. The morning bite again proved slow, but as the water warmed up, the radio crackled alive with several anglers reporting marlin strikes. Keeping It Jiggy’s lady angler Kadean Vendryes was hooked up and fighting, when Cowan’s rod started screaming with the sound of a hot marlin on the line.
“While fighting the fish, our boat captain became very concerned because the fish was acting strangely. He thought that I may have been hooked on a tree root. I was not happy and assured him that this was a marlin, as I was quite sure that tree roots don’t fight back. We soon realized that the fish was tail first and we became concerned that he may die. So, we backed the boat down and brought the marlin to the back of the boat for quick tag and release in 25 minutes, seven minutes ahead of the other female angler.”
Integrity took the lead at the PAIMT’s half way point, going into day three with a slim lead based on time. The team aboard Jwilavi had also released two marlin, while Diana, Keeping It Jiggy, Touch of Class and King Fisher II were each on the scoreboard with one marlin. King Fisher II and Touch of Class anglers caught an additional marlin apiece on day three, while Integrity lost one early in the morning. On the final day, Integrity also went fishless right up until lines out at 3pm, but the team kept its lead by being the first to release two blue marlin. This win gained Integrity’s anglers entry into the Offshore World Championships, an international Olympics of billfishermen, which will be held in April 2016, in Costa Rica.
“The blue marlin bite was very low this year all round, even up at the MoBay Tournament,” says organizer Dr. Ron DuQuesnay. “We only had 15 verified TBF (The Billfish Foundation) tagged and accepted released blue marlin for some 23 boats.”
The fleet’s anglers caught dozens of wahoo and dolphin (mahi-mahi), which also netted prizes in this tournament. A one-day native canoe tournament, a Miss Marlin Contest and plenty of parties ashore rounded out the fun.
For full results, visit: jamaicasportsfishing.com
Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.