|The Marin’s with the day’s biggest catch coming into the weigh station.|
|Eight year old Josh Marin helped his father Enrique Marin to reel in the prize winner and took home $200 for being the youngest angler.|
|Some boats were not as successful in reeling in the big one, but they still managed to pull ashore with smiles, as a day out on the sea is always a thrill. Ambergris Divers boat pulls in to shore.|
|Errol Cadle and Aldo Urbina came in second with their Dorado that weighed seventeen pounds. They were the only team to represent Orange Walk.
|Alberto Bradley of “Cristina” reeled in a fifteen and a half pound Dorado that earned him third prize.|
|As the fish made it in from the sea, immediately it was taken to the weigh station where the officially weigh in was done at the Ambergris Divers dock.|
|The “Sun Pirate” captained by Josh Reyes took home the fourth place prize of $250.|
Last Sunday, a total of a hundred and one anglers and fishing aficionados embraced the second annual Dorado Rodeo Challenge which was spearheaded by the San Pedro Game Fish Association. Despite the choppy seas, last year’s reigning champs, Enrique Marin’s “Aaliyah Marlee”, proved that not only can they talk a lot of “bull” but showed that they could overpower nineteen boats to take this year’s crown in two impressive consecutive years. As per usual, The Sun was on hand to catch all the highlights of the day’s events.
The anticipated fishing challenge brought out participating boats as far as Belize City and Orange Walk for the official fishing start at 6:00 a.m. where all boats were designated to pass between Ambergris Divers’ dock and a buoy placed in front when the official bell was rung. Reports from the fishermen revealed that the rough seas were a deterrent to catching and reeling in the big ones, but, the sheer thought of the Dorado’s beauty and ferocity of fight, together with its explosive jumps provided unequaled excitement and proved to be the perfect challenge or extreme test for the participating fishermen. First and second place was determined by the largest sum of three fish.
Like in past fishing tournaments, the place to be was at the finish line at Caliente’s beachfront, where spectators, fish enthusiasts and officials stood by the weighing station anxiously awaiting the boats to come in. At the end of the day’s competition, the winners were announced in ascending order. Coming in at fourth place was the “Sun Pirate” captained by Josh Reyes and his lucky angler Jerry Nichols who reeled in their biggest catch of a fifteen pound Dorado that gave them a $250 cash reward. “Cristina”, captained by Alberto Bradley and reeled in by Shadany Bradley took third place with their fifteen and a half pound Dorado that rewarded them a $500 cash prize. Representing all the way from Orange Walk was “Di Docter” captained by Errol “Bat” Cadle and angler Aldo Urbina who reeled in a seventeen pound Dorado, earning them second place and collected $1,000 in cash. With a handsome bull weighing in at twenty four pounds and a wild twist of deja vu, the “Aaliyah Marlee” family boat captained by Enrique Marin took home bragging rights once again and the attractive cash prize of $2,500. Other prizes the Marin’s collected were for Junior Angler who caught the events biggest fish of the day, which was awarded to eight-year-old Josh Marin and heaviest Dorado which earned them $200 and $500 respectively. In the Calcutta bidding, the boat that would combine the most pounds of fish would win and in this case, Aaliyah Marlee took fifty percent of the bidding which is equivalent to $1,350, whilst second place “Di Docter” took home thirty percent which is $810. Total cash prizes for the second annual Dorado Rodeo tallied to over $7,000; congratulations to all of the winners!
The Sun corresponded with event organizer Alvaro Guerrero via e-mail, who told us more about the turn out. “This year was much better in boat participation - last year we had 12 boats and this year we had 19 boats. The catch was much lower this year, which is disappointing because people onshore wanted to see lots of fish.” Some people might argue that there have been a lot of fishing tournaments lately and based on Sunday’s dismal catch, does it seem that we are “over fishing” our waters? Guerrero had the following to say about his view point on over fishing, “Dorado are pelagic (belonging to the upper layers of the sea) fish. San Pedro and the rest of Belize have a small number of boats that do deep sea fishing - so the impact is almost none compared to neighboring countries and the rest of the world. Also all the deep water fishing for these pelagic fish is done as sport fishing and not commercial fishing. Dorado, Wahoo and Billfish live and travel along the ocean currents. There are times when that current comes close to the island and we are lucky to pick a few fish that are passing by,” stated Guerrero. He went on to state that, “The association is very happy with the tournaments. At every tournament, we see more tourists coming specifically to participate in these events. This is great business for fishing guides and everyone in the tourism market. Thank you for covering the event. I am glad to see people had a great time. Next year will be bigger,” ended Alvaro.
Bigger indeed, and we hope that means bigger fish and bigger surprises in its third year! Another fishing classic down in the history books and we can’t go on without saying kudos to the organizers, the San Pedro Game Fish Association, participating boats, anglers, spectators and party goers that made the event a special one for all!