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Sports Fishermen – Prepare to Fish the Spanish Main

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Following on the heels of the highly successful Bermuda Triangle Series (BTS), director of the USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament (Boy Scout Tournament) Jimmy Loveland is set to launch a new sports fishing series that encompasses more of the highest caliber blue marlin tournaments in the region.

“We’re calling it the Spanish Main,” says Loveland. “It’s a series of five well-known and internationally-recognized tournaments that hit marlin hot spots at that particular area’s peak fishing times.”

The series kicks-off with the Venezuela Open, fished March 22 to 25 as part of the La Guaira “Shootout”. Three months later, the series continues with the Punta Cana Open, held in the Dominican Republic from June 23 to 25. Then it’s on to the San Juan Open, August 16 to 22 as part of the Club Nautico de San Juan’s International Billfish Tournament, and the USVI Open, held August 25 to 30 as part of the USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament. The series wraps up with the Boqueron Open in Puerto Rico, held inside the Club Nautico de Boqueron’s tournament, in September.

The “Spanish Main” was the name given to the Caribbean coast of the Spanish Empire in mainland Central and South America during the 16th to the 18th centuries. It was a hot spot of enormous wealth and a haven for pirates who sought to steal this precious booty from the Spanish fleets. Fittingly, the top angler prize in this series is a gold doubloon, exquisitely fashioned by famed marine artist Ed Pang.

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The concept of a fishing series isn’t new. The Bahamas Billfish Championship is entering its thirtieth year and the Bermuda Triangle Series enters its fourth season in 2007. The captivating point of a series, like the BBC, BTS, or now the Spanish Main, is that the series is run by one set of organizers so that sports fishermen are assured of consistent rules and reputation.

“With the same organizers, fishermen know what they’re getting into,” says Loveland. “The rules are similar, line test similar, money similar, and method of payout similar. Like the Boy Scout Tournament and what we’re setting up with the BTS, each of the events in this series will include a donation to a youth charity in each destination.”

Loveland adds, “Fishermen can also go to one website and register for all five tournaments, just like the BTS, although they’re only required to fish three events in the series, including the Boy Scout, to win.”

The most important benefit of competing in a series is that it offers yet another way to win, to prove prowess, to bag that booty of bragging rights.

“You fish each of the series tournaments on their own, and at the same time, you score points for the series along the way. There are two ways to win. Also, the fun in fishing a series is that you can come from behind after one event, and jump into the lead with the next,” Loveland says. As of December, reports Loveland, “two or three boats are already interested in participating in the Spanish Main.”

For more information about the new series and to register:  www.abmt.vi

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

So Caribbean you can almost taste the rum...

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