Deep-sea anglers, along with an eager audience, gathered at the Belize Yacht Club (BYC) last weekend November 17 and 18th for the commencement of the Blue Water Spectacular Fishing Tournament. Formerly known as the “Belikin Spectacular”, this year marked fifteen (15) years that the tradition has been kept alive. The weekend’s competition saw 16 registered boats battle it out for the best record but at the end of the two day affair, “Nia” took the competition by storm and was crowned the “top boat” in the competition. Here is a closer look at the results.
The two day fishing expedition sponsored by Benny’s and Grand Caribe kicked off on Saturday at 6:00am at the Belize Yacht Club marina. This year 16 boats competed, all hoping to win the “big bucks” or the jackpot prize for a 500 pound blue marlin of $50,000. The tournament offered over $100,000 in cash awards along with other prizes and trophies. Hopeful participants competed to win the most prestigious awards of Top Boat and heaviest Marlin. On Saturday and Sunday afternoon crowds gathered on the pier at the Belize Yacht Club, everyone anticipating the catches that would soon come in. According to tournament regulations, all fishing lines had to be out of the water and boats had to return to the dock by 5:00 PM. Many boats returned by 6:00 PM and excited onlookers watched as large fish were unloaded and weighed. Some of the returning crews were excited about their day out fishing, while others complained that they were disappointed. Laughter and festivity added to the excitement as tournament officials weighed, measured and recorded qualifying fish. The Sun asked Alvaro Guerrero, President of SPGFA, to comment on this year’s participation and he stated “the turnout was excellent; we had the participation of 16 boats, of which many of them were new entries in the competition. We want to thank everyone involved that made the tournament a success,” ended Guerrero.
And the WINNERS are: first place and Calcutta prize went to “Nia” captained by Walter Garbutt who hails from Placencia and in the competition allotted the highest score of 777.5 points. The “Nia” crew walked away with a handsome top prize of $3,000 plus trophy. The “Contender” captained by Andy Nunez landed in second place with a total score of 709.5 points but walked off with a $2,000 cash prize; and “Alliyah Marlee” settled for third place with 540 points and a $1,000 cash prize. Other consolation prizes include: James Ritchie on board “Aaliyah Marlee” who won Heaviest Blue Marlin (180 lbs), Daniel Gonzalez on board “Baby Robert” won heaviest spear fish (48 lbs), Robert Bradley on board “Baby Robert” also won Heaviest Wahoo (48 lbs), whilst angler Jules Guerrero on board “The Rock” caught the heaviest dorado (19 lbs), Shedany Bradley on board “Cristina” reeled in the heaviest kingfish and heaviest tuna weighing (17 lbs and 12.5 lbs) respectively. Angler Mike Dvorac aboard “Contender” was awarded a prize for taking over the category of heaviest barracuda (24.5 lbs) whilst Top Female Angler went to Karen Riley on board “Contender” and Top Junior Angler went to Warren Cabral on board “Nia” who was the youngest angler at 15 years of age. Once again, no angler or boat could claim the $50,000 for the Blue Marlin catch over 500 pounds, but not to worry, there’s always next year.
Although this tournament, sponsored by Benny’s and Grand Caribe is the most popular, the San Pedro Game Fishing Association puts on several fishing tournaments throughout the year. These tournaments are open to anyone who wants to enter.
Although the weather did not cooperate much, the awards banquet and prize giving dinner held at the Belize Yacht Club on Sunday evening, was hopping with happy anglers and partygoers. People danced and enjoyed the libations all through the night after another great fishing expedition which will most certainly go down in history.