59th Ernest Hemingway Tournament draws 19 teams
On June 1st, the Hemingway International Yacht Club of Cuba (CNIH of Cuba) was ready to celebrate the Captain’s Meeting of the 59th Ernest Hemingway International Bill fishing Tournament and welcomed captains and anglers of 19 registered teams coming from Canada, Cuba, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Spain, the United States, France, Guadeloupe, Holland, England, Cayman Islands, Czech Republic and Russia.
José Miguel Diaz Escrich, Commodore, who is the IGFA Representative in Cuba, welcomed all participants, especially 11 repeat teams which included the French team from the Big Game Fishing Club of France, winners of first prize at the 56th and 57th editions. He also noted the three US teams representing their fellow countrymen and paying homage to Ernest Hemingway, symbol of the friendship and cooperation between the peoples of the United States and Cuba.
The first Hemingway Tournament was held on May 1950 and organized by the Havana International Yacht Club. Rafael Pozo, Commodore of this yacht club at that time, invited Hemingway, who lived in Cuba for 20 years, to sponsor an international bill fishing tournament named after him. So the writer donated the Cup and participated in the first Tournament.
In order to win the Cup, a team must take first place three times. At the tournaments, the first capture, the biggest dolphin and the first three places by points are awarded. This time, anglers were given 300 points for a released marlin and 50 points for a tagged marlin. The tournament lasts for five days, four fishing days and one free intermediate day.
During the first two fishing days of this 59th edition the good weather prevailed as well as marlin and dolphin captures. All boats fished in an area between the Morro Fortress in Havana and Cojímar village called the Hemingway Mile, where the writer used to fish on board Pilar accompanied by his friend Captain Gregorio Fuentes. Some were luckier than others, but all had the pleasure to feel the strike of more than one marlin or fish a dolphin—33 marlin strikes were reported. Teams Wet Dreams from the United States and Havana from Spain occupied the first and second positions respectively with 700 points each.
Marine forecasts predicted that on Friday and Saturday the Gulf Stream would move towards the centre of the Straits of Florida. The third fishing day was crucial for the position of the winning teams and lasted from 08:00 hrs to 17:00 hrs. At 08:48 hrs, the French team tagged and released a black marlin and scored 1000 points, which won them the first place, an achievement they had earned at editions 56 and 57, which entitled them to have their names engraved in the Hemingway Cup.
That fishing day, one blue marlin was released and two black marlins tagged and released. The team from the Czech Republic on board Fantasea and the team from the United States on board Britney Jean were not lucky enough to be among the winners.
Hemingway tournaments are held in an area in which there have been reported marlin captures less than a kilometre from the coast. The last fishing day, that lasted from 08:00 to 14:00 hrs, was the most unproductive, as only one blue marlin was tagged and released by the Russian team on Blue Sky, which proves, once again, the close connection between the Gulf Stream, or the Great Blue River, as Hemingway named it, and the presence or not of marlin.
In the award and closing ceremony that took place in the marina restaurant Masay at Hotel Acuario, Mr. Alexis Trujillo, Deputy-Minister of the Ministry of Tourism of Cuba, congratulated winners of the event and thanked all for their presence in the 59th edition. Anglers Francois Gerald Aprile, Christian Agustin Muñoz and Catherine Monique G. Sauvager, captain Jorge Yuvero and sailor Rodolfo Barceló received special congratulations and got an ovation from the public while holding the Hemingway Cup where their names will later be engraved as three-time winners.
Commodore Escrich announced that the 60th Ernest Hemingway International Billfishing Tournament will take place on May 24th -29th, 2010 and invited those present to meet once again next year at the yacht club to pay homage to Ernest Hemingway—first Vice President of IGFA and the most famous marlin angler in sport fishing history.
Report submitted by the Hemingway International Billfish Tournament