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2010 Sport Fishing Tournament Preview

The spring, summer and fall are peak season for billfish and gamefish tournaments throughout the Caribbean. Here are previews of just some of the many tournaments happening this season with web site contact information so you can join the angling fun:

May 4-8: Guadeloupe International Billfish Tournament (GIBT). From 25 to 30 boats are expected to compete in the GIBT's "Land Rover Fishing Festival," where any registered angler who catches a blue marlin that breaks the island record of 489-pounds will win a Land Rover valued at over $47,000. Anglers can also win cash and prizes for sailfish, tuna, spearfish and wahoo. From Pointe A Pitre Marina, the prime fishing grounds lie east of Guadeloupe and south near Dominica and Marie Galante. "Layday festivities will be a trip to Gosier Island where there will be games, music, drinks and lunch," says Jean Michael Jacobin, treasurer of the host Guadeloupe Fishing Club.

May 21-23: 44th Antigua and Barbuda Sport Fishing Tournament. This year's event will be held in Nelson's Dockyard, says organizer Alison Sly-Adams, "with tasty food, cheap drinks and the lime of the year!" At least 45 vessels are expected with anglers fishing for blue marlin, white marlin, dolphin, wahoo, tuna and kingfish. "There's great fishing off Antigua," says Sly-Adams. "Each fishermen has their favorite spot - for example South Bank between Antigua and Guadeloupe 13 miles south of Antigua and still in Antiguan waters." Winners earn trophies and over $20,000 in cash prizes. Charter boats are available. Register by May 7th and enter to win a suite for the weekend at the Copper and Lumber Hotel, right at the dock.

June 1-6: International Cap Cana Billfish Shootout. Formerly held in Venezuela, this popular event's new home is the Dominican Republic at Cap Cana's brand new marina with five star accommodations. "We expect 25 to 30 boats and around 90 anglers," says tournament director Rick Alvarez. "This is a blue and white marlin only tournament." The nearby fishing grounds feature a series of mounds and underwater formations. Awards include trophies and prizes from sponsors such as Presidente Beer and Maui Jim Sunglasses. Charter boats, both local and from the U.S., are available for charter.

June 23-27: The Fishing Event (St. Martin). This year's entry fee has been lowered to $2500 per boat so that anglers can enter different Calcuttas and add to the fun. Billfish and gamefish will earn anglers over $100,000 in cash and prizes. "You can fish the famous "Marlin Boulevard," says Bertrand Lacotte, CEO of The Fishing Event Foundation. Some 30 to 40 boats are expected to compete. For information, visit:

July 23-25: July Open Billfish Tournament (St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands). It's first come, first serve for the first 25 boats that register. "The full moon in late July offers a great blue marlin bite," says co-director Jeff Kreiner. This is a 100 percent release tournament. First prize for the most fish released per boat by boats is $10,000 and an original hand-carved Marlin head trophy by artist David A. Wirth. Nightly dock parties and a sit-down fine-dining awards dinner cap the fun.

August 16-22: 57th Club Nautico de San Juan International Billfish Tournament. The longest consecutively-held International billfish tournament in the world will welcome over 50 boats from the Caribbean and world this year. "Visiting anglers are assigned to the best yachts with VIP attention," says tournament chairman, Frankie Mirandes. "Just show up at the Club, have breakfast and fish." Anglers will fish for blue marlin only a mile and a half offshore on the Puerto Rico Trench. Winners receive cash and sculptures by celebrated artists like Boda Muche. The "Fiesta Tipica" is one of most anticipated shoreside activities.

August 21-25: USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament. Fishing is always hot for blue marlin at this "Superbowl of Sportsfishing" angled over the month's full moon. The cream of the crop of international billfishermen attends. "We expect 30 boats or more this year," says tournament director Jimmy Loveland. Conservation is key; there hasn't been a blue marlin boated in over 20 years. Prizes, which include $10,000 to the top angler, are all based on points for the number of blue marlin released. For information, visit:

October 9-16: 46th Port Antonio International Marlin Tournament (Jamaica). Twenty-four boats with 124 anglers fished in the 2009 event that saw Jamaica's Reel Teaser win with four blue marlin released. The fishing grounds lie three miles offshore where there is both a drop-off and deep undersea canals. The tournament, based out of Port Antonio Marina, is a qualifier for the annual IGFA World Offshore Championships, held in Cabo San Lucas each May.

October 28-31: 20th Annual St. Lucia International Billfish Tournament. Over 40 boats and 150 anglers from the U.S. Mainland, Europe and Caribbean are expected to compete in this anniversary event, held out of the Rodney Bay Marina. Top cash prizes await anglers who catch big fish or release lots of fish. The island record is a 708-pound blue marlin.

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

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