Barbados boat "Legacy" broke the long-standing marlin record in the 2006 tournament held at the Grenada Yacht Club. Angler Adrien Johnson spent well over an hour fighting the fish to the boat and the team spent almost as long again trying to get it inside the boat! This fish not only broke the record and won the EC$30,000 prize but also helped the team win the both first place boat and first place angler prizes. SIBT chairman, Richard McIntyre, commented at the prize giving that it was fitting that a Barbados boat beat the record as a Barbadian angler - the late Robert Ward, also caught the previous record blue marlin of 556lb.
19 boats carrying 89 anglers from Barbados, Trinidad, Martinique and Grenada lined up to enter the 37th Spice Island Billfish tournament having braved atrocious conditions (25 knot winds and 10ft plus waves) to reach The Grenada Yacht Club - long time home of the competition. The dangerous seas turned back many more boats that had wished to enter.
After the traditional Bimini start the first days fishing went ahead on Tuesday the 24th although the conditions were so bad that the tournament committee had considered cancelling it. Fishing was difficult if not down right scary in the large seas but still 4 billfish were released - 3 sailfish and a white marlin. Good sized dorado also featured heavily in most boats catches that day.
Wednesday saw slightly reduced seas and lighter winds which improved the fishing. Trinidad boat "Talking Blues" fought a large marlin for several hours before finally losing it. Grenadian boat "Yes Aye" released 2 sails for her British anglers and was ahead of the pack until the Barbados boat "Legacy" radioed in that they had caught the marlin that later broke the record. Local small boat "Heatwave" had junior anglers onboard and sensibly stayed close to shore in the heavy seas - they were rewarded with no less than 6 wahoo!
The lay day on Thursday was celebrated by a cook off competition on the beach at the Grenada Yacht Club - the Barbadian seafood medley and fish chowder were voted tops although the Trinidad stewed pork was also excellent. The local oil down and pig souse was also popular.
The bar was kept busy and everyone had a good time.
Last days fishing on Friday saw a return to more typical January fishing conditions - 3-5ft seas and bright sunshine. Not only were fishing conditions better but the marlin bite (2 days before new moon) was hot!!
"Legacy" hooked up another big marlin early on and boated it - they said they were heading back in to weigh it (407lb) but decided to fish their way back and had more action on the way in! Local boats "Crazy Horse" and "Risky Business" were amongst several that hooked and either released and/or lost blue marlin. Martinique boat "Contendress" fought a marlin for 2 hours before boating it - it later weighed 373lbs - not a massive fish but it scraped them into second place overtaking "Yes Aye" who released another sailfish. "Storm Hunter" from Barbados weighed in the only yellowfin tuna of the event at 162lb.
At the end of the competition 7 blue marlin, 15 sailfish, 1 white marlin, 28 dorado and 1 yellowfin tuna had been caught.
At the awards ceremony and closing dinner held on the beach at the Grenada yacht Club the results were as follows:
First place boat: Legacy (Barbados), second: Contendress (Martinique), third: Yes Aye (Grenada)
First place angler: Adrien Johnson (Legacy), second: Eddy Baray (Contendress), third: Duane Skinner (Legacy)
Top release angler (3 sailfish releases): Badger Dearman (Yes Aye)
Top release boat (4 releases) Yes Aye (Grenada)
Boat pool (weight of fish brought to the scale): First: Legacy (Barbados), second: Contendress (Martinique), third: Storm Hunter (Barbados).
Hopefully the excellent marlin fishing will encourage more boats to make the trip for next year's tournament.
The SIBT committee would like to thank all the participating boats and anglers for braving rough seas to come here and support the event, and to thank all their sponsors and especially Carib beer and Island Water World for making this competition possible.