With top cash prizes and the allure of major bragging rights, anglers (and residents) were excited as Grand Caribe hosted its first annual Deep Sea Fishing Tournament this past weekend from Thursday, July 6 to Sunday, July 9, 2017 in San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
This tournament offered a total of $44,000 Belize dollars in cash prizes with 1st place receiving $15,000, 2nd place receiving $10,000, 3rd place receiving $7,000, 4th place receiving $4,000 and 5th place receiving $1,500. A series of prizes were also offered for the heaviest fish by type and the top angler overall, top female and top junior.
Briefing for the tournament took place on July 6 with Amy Leiva, Guest Relations Manager, at Grand Caribe Belize stating, “ We are excited to host this event; we have partnered with some of the best businesses and organizations to not only offer anglers a great fishing tournament but also the opportunity to win some really great prizes and have some fun!" said Amy Leiva, Guest Relations Manager, at Grand Caribe Belize.
Day One started off with the fleet lining up in front of a breezy Grand Caribe Resort at 7:00am for the first of three bimini starts. Shortly after the boats took off, reports of fish being caught started to roll in, and by midday, anglers had already landed five Dorado, two Wahoo and released two Sailfish. But by the end of Day One, Team Hard Knox was on top of the leader board with a Sailfish and a Blue Marlin release. Two other Sailfish were released by Tournament boats on Day One, the first aboard Team Arsenal by Irvin Chacon and the second by Dr. Adrian Heusner aboard Team Mad Storme.
Day Two started out even hotter with Team Jolly Mon releasing a Sailfish less than 30 minutes after lines in at 7:00am, and Team Fish Tales (Ambergris Divers) releasing a Blue Marlin before 9:00am. The day continued with continuous action and by lines out, nine Dorado and two Tuna had been landed and a Blue Marlin was lost boat side by Team Reelentless.
Anticipation was sky high at the dock for the third and final Bimini start and the tournament was wide open for the taking and all eyes were on Team Hard Knox who still occupied 1st Place. A Wahoo and Dorado were called in before 10:00am, but it didn’t take much longer for Team Strike Force to call in a Sailfish release by Darryl Lewis.
The Tournament then really heated up when Tournament Base received a report of a 250+ pound Blue Marlin that was boated by Team Real Challenge and was headed for the IGFA Certified Scale on the dock at Grand Caribe. Just when it seemed like the scores were set in stone, Team Jolly Mon called in a hook-up with only 30 minutes left on the clock! The crew managed to release the Blue Marlin after less than ten minutes, and arrived at Tournament Base with 15 minutes to spare.
Once the final horn had sounded, the final fish tally came to seventeen Dorado, ten Tuna, four Wahoo, and released five Sailfish, three Blue Marlin and weighed one Blue Marlin with a final weight of 169 pounds over the three days. Anglers, families and friends then enjoyed a few drinks by the bar before the prize giving started and prizes were given out to the various winners as follows:
Grand Caribe Belize holds the only official IGFA weigh station in Belize and in the region. Beyond Grand Caribe Belize, the Belize Game Fishing Tournament and the Belize Tourism Board sponsored this tournament. The three days of fishing proved exciting and challenging with inclement weather making things more interesting. Nevertheless, the bad weather did not keep the anglers from heading out to sea.
A total of 25 boats registered and over 125 anglers participated. WOW!!!
Winners are as follows:
Calcutta: 1st Place: Benny Feinstein / 2nd Place: Richard Vasquez
Other businesses sponsoring the tournament including: Benny’s Home Center, BenQuip, Scotia Bank, Caribeña Enterprises, SMART, Ambergris Divers, Concept Solutions, Palapa Bar, Beach Basket, AyinHa, Captain Sharks, A&R Enterprises, Rain Restaurant, Diversified Life Solutions, Maya Island Air, Tuff E Nuff Tours, Adventure Travel Solutions, Travellers Liquors Ltd & Duke Marine.
Grand Caribe would like to thank its sponsors and the participants who were able to make this event possible, next year shall be bigger and better!