The third day proved a charm for the anglers and crew aboard Legacy. The Bajan-based team fishing on the 30-foot Pacemaker earned the Champion Boat title in the Barbados International Tournament, held April 3 to 7, out of Port St. Charles. It wasn’t easy. After all, the Legacy fishermen, with local charter captain Jono Jones at the helm, were up against 30 other talented teams and 169 sports fishermen from the Caribbean and the rest of the world.
“The first day we went to the north of Barbados where one of our anglers, John Sheridan, caught and released a blue marlin at 9a.m.,” says Capt. Jones. “That was the first fish of the tournament and it put us right there on the scoreboard. We didn’t see anything more for the rest of the day, and throughout the entire second day of the tournament, except a couple of dolphin. We went into the third and final day of the tournament in third place. That’s when we decided to go even further offshore. Right away, John caught another blue marlin followed around 15 minutes later by Andrew Harris releasing our second billfish of the day and third of the tournament. Those fish shot us straight into the lead. The last few hours of the tournament were really nerve-wracking to see if other boats, like Mamzelle, which was right behind us on the scoreboard, would catch anything and beat us to the prize.”
Legacy’s three blue marlin releases, plus bonus points earned for the tournament’s iconic Bimini start, gave the team a whopping and winning 1000 points.
“Hard work and preparation paid off,” says Jones.
The top placement secured Legacy entry into the Offshore World Championships, held annually each spring in Quepos, Costa Rica; the Barbados International Tournament being a qualifier for this event.
Meanwhile, in angler standings, Legacy’s Sheridan scored Champion Overall Angler. Barbados’ Paul Hamel-Smith, aboard second place boat, Mamzelle, a 30-foot Bertram, won the Champion Local Angler trophy with the catch and release of a blue marlin the first day and white marlin the second day of the tournament.
“The secret to our team’s success was that we capitalized on the bites that we got,” says Hamel-Smith, who enjoyed fishing for the first time offshore aboard his own boat rather than crewing for someone else. “Throughout the three days of fishing, we had three billfish strikes and managed to convert all into points. In my opinion, this is attributable to the style of fishing we use, that being a bait and switch method with circle hooks.”
In total, tournament anglers caught 14 blue marlin, four white marlin and five sailfish, as well as 16 mahi-mahi, three wahoo and two yellow-fin tuna.
“This year’s tournament was difficult for all teams,” says host Barbados Game Fishing Association secretary Josh Delmas. “Sargassum seaweed blanketed the Caribbean islands this year and keeping lines clear of the seaweed was a full-time job for all crews. Luckily, the conditions were great with little to no wind for all three days of fishing. Consistently though, and from the start, the teams that found clean water or were willing to constantly keep putting in the work of clearing lines did well in the tournament.”
For full results, visit: https://bgfa.profishingtournaments.com/
Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.