Adapted from Sporting Barbados Magazine - http://www.sportingbarbados.com/
The Barbados International Fishing Tournament is a premier fishing event in the Southern Caribbean, and attracts participants from across the region and internationally each year for five days of fun and competition. To describe it as a fishing tournament may be to do it an injustice as it is truly more than that, since the emphasis in recent years has been on making everyone a winner.
The tournament moved to Port St. Charles, St. Peter a few years ago and continues to go from strength to strength with visiting friends, anglers and their families from places such as Antigua, Grenada, Guadeloupe, England, Italy, Martinique, Jamaica, Scotland, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Trinidad & Tobago, and the United States of America. The tournament is certified as a qualifying event for the annual IGFA (International Game Fishing Association) Offshore World Championships, and also forms part of the Southern Caribbean Billfish Circuit. The tournament is now in its 28th year, and has grown out of earlier inter-club tournaments held by the Barbados Game Fishing Association that just celebrated its 55th Anniversary this year, having been founded in 1961.
In 2016 the tournament was again a big success, and saw a total of 34 boats and 225 anglers participating, with some great catches being recorded as the teams reveled in the magnificent conditions. Due to trophy size minimum weights, all Blue Marlin, Sailfish and White marlin were released, while some trophy Yellowfin Tuna and scores of Wahoo and Dolphin were landed that helped the drive to assist the needy children of the island. Sponsored mainly by Republic Bank, Insurance Corporation of Barbados, Port St. Charles Marina, Williams Industries, Digicel and Mount Gay Rum, the tournament attracted teams from around the Southern Caribbean Billfish Circuit as well as internationally, and owes a great debt to all its sponsors. The Barbados Game Fishing Association’s 28th Anniversary tournament runs from April 19th to April 23rd in 2017 and big things are planned for the beautiful Port St. Charles Marina. You can check out the BGFA and the tournament at https://www.facebook.com/BarbadosGam eFishing/?fref=ts.
Apart from the fishing, there is much dockside activity after fishing to help liven the event, and each evening after fishing sees hundreds of people gathered to witness the boats arriving with their catch (and of course their tall tales about the proverbial “one that got away”), as well as to join in the festivities. In this regard, evenings at Port St. Charles had activities such as cocktail parties, a fashion show, wine-tasting, live band, music, happy hour drinks, pig-roast and fish fry to name a few.
The prize-giving ceremony involved just over 300 guests that thoroughly enjoyed the evening and Captain Greg Ward and his team on Grey Ghost won themselves an invitation to the IGFA Offshore Championships next year in Quepos, Costa Rica, and hopefully they make it there to fly the Barbados flag for us. Sportsfishing in Barbados has made great strides, but is still lagging behind countries such as the USA and other parts of the world in rebuilding and enhancing fisheries through promotion of sustainable fishing practices. The club has moved to release oriented practices for threatened species such as Billfish, but required legislative help to address the other 98% of large pelagic fish that are caught by commercial interests.
Successful management programs in places such as the USA, Costa Rica and others have reaped huge benefits, while in the USA alone surveys have shown that there are twice as many Sportsfishermen (40 million) as Golfers, and even more than Golfers (24.4 million) and Tennis players (10.4 million) combined! With a combined economic output in the USA alone of over $115 billion, the economics of Sports fishing make it a remarkable case study on the marriage of man and the environment. When you combine all of this with some great dockside fun and frolic on a Caribbean Island, well then as they say “the rest is history”!