By Ric Burnley
Somewhere in Southeast Asia, who knows how long ago, an angler in a canoe dangled a bait from a kite and kite fishing was invented. Centuries later, an angler in Japan installed a 30-foot-tall pole in his boat to suspend lures for tuna. The pole was painted green. Across the world, probably Latin or Central America, a captain ordered his crew to deploy 36 teasers on a metal frame to attract marlin.
Each of these discoveries proved to be so effective, word spread [Read more…]
Fishing, Fun and Family in the Florida Keys
Capt. Ben Sharpe and Gypsea capture the 6th Annual Viking Key West Challenge.
(Key West, Florida, February 13, 2019)—Forty Vikings from 42 to 82 feet and a record 475 participants descended upon the southernmost city in the United States last week for the 6th Annual Viking Key West Challenge. Ben Sharpe was the winning captain for the fourth time, leading the Viking 56 Gypsea to victory in a closely contested – but fun-focused – competition.
“The Key West Challenge has been a success every year, but this time around the energy level, excitement and fishing was at an all-time high,” said Viking President and CEO Pat Healey. “This is an event exclusively for Viking owners, family and friends. It gives us the opportunity to thank them for being part of the Viking family.”
After a captain’s meeting at Dante’s Tiki Bar that featured delicious food, fun prizes and lots of camaraderie, the teams headed off the following morning for a glorious day on the water. A total of 45 sailfish were released and one swordfish was caught on day one. Gypsea topped the Day One leaderboard with five sails released (500 points), followed by the Viking 80 Mr. Grinch with four sails (400 points). The Viking 62 Tami Ann also released four sails and took third on time. The teams steamed back to the scales at Conch Harbor Marina to weigh their catches and pose for pictures. The Viking 44 Miss Peggy Sue II and captain/owner David Heeter stole the show with a 108-pound swordfish, which was donated for lunch the next day!
More Than Just Fishing
A pool party and lunch, a kids dock tournament and a poker run (i.e. bar crawl) highlighted a relaxed but festive lay day. In the kids tournament, which was sponsored by The Billfish Foundation, Colin Dicembrino took first place, with sisters Ella and Mia Wilson placing second and third, respectively. “This is what it’s all about – passing on the passion for fishing to the next generation,” TBF President Ellen Peel said. “Great job kids!”
The fishing turned white hot on the final day, with 87 sails released. The Viking 48 Fish Wish released eight sails and caught an 8.3-pound dolphin for 808.3 points. Last year’s champ, the Viking 55 Ragin Cajun, was right on their heels with seven sails and a 21.4-pound tuna (721.4 points).
Gypsea had a solid day two as well, with five sails. But it was their dolphin that turned out to be the difference-maker. With an overall point total of 1,004.6, Gypsea edged second-place finisher Mr. Grinch (1,000 overall points) to take the 2019 Viking Key West Challenge crown. Ragin Cajun landed third place overall with 933.8 points. Natalie Rarick on the Viking 82 Bandit took both Top Angler and Top Female Angler awards with eight sailfish and a total of 892.2 points. All results are listed below.
The four-day event wrapped up with an outdoor evening dinner and awards ceremony at the Margaritaville Resort that began with a beautiful Key West sunset. “You can’t beat this,” said Pat. “We truly do appreciate your participation in making this a very special Viking event.”
Next year, the 7th Annual Key West Challenge will be held April 15-18, 2020. Book your slip today!
(George Town, Cayman Islands ) The Cayman Islands’ latest entrant into international fishing tournaments, Cayman Billfish Rundown, will take place May 14 – 17 2019, hosted by Hurley’s Media, Dart and The Residences at Seafire.
This inaugural multi-day fishing tournament will have one of the largest guaranteed prizes of the region’s competitive fishing circuit with a guarantee of USD$270,000 in prizes. In addition to the large cash prizes, Cayman Billfish Rundown will take place during the islands’ Carnival Season featuring the colorful CayMAS Parade. Tournament headquarters and weigh station will be at Camana Bay, one of Grand Cayman’s most prestigious addresses. The festivities will start around 4pm each day with the return of the boats to the harbor at Camana Bay.
Potential prize winnings are over USD$520,000 which includes the USD$250,000 insured for breaking the local Cayman Islands blue marlin record of 584lbs. The tournament also offers 21 added entry categories, to include billfish, yellowfin tuna, wahoo and dolphin, making the jackpot one of the largest in the Caribbean.
Unique to this event is the USD$10,000 Award to the Captain of the boat with the most billfish release points.
Randy Merren, Managing Director of Hurley’s Media, said this tournament has been over a year in the making and pleased to see the event taking shape. “Cayman Billfish Rundown is a sportfishing tournament to attract both overseas and local participants and will re-introduce big game international tournament fishing to the Cayman waters,” Mr Merren said. “Cayman is known for its beautiful weather, cuisine, diving and amazing beaches and is convenienctly located a direct route from the Panama Canal, US, and around the Caribbean.”
“Cayman is a very attractive destination and we view this as an opportunity to attract visitors who spend their time off shore on fishing trips and may not have had Cayman on their radar. We have scheduled this tournament at a time of year when the fishing is plentiful, when there is a break with other tournaments and to coincide with CayMAS carnival which takes place the day after the awards ceremony, we want to showcase all Cayman has to offer.”
“The 2019 Cayman Billfish Rundown is the perfect reason for avid international sportsfishermen to plan a trip to the Cayman Islands. Dart and The Residences at Seafire are pleased to join Hurley’s Media as presenting sponsors of this premier Caribbean event and welcoming both visiting and local anglers to Camana Bay,” said Pilar Bush, Executive Vice President Marketing at Dart Enterprises.
Cayman Billfish Rundown has also teamed up with world renowned marine artist and angler, Carey Chen, to provide his expertise and ensure this event is executed to a high standard.
“Cayman has some of the best fishing in one of the most beautiful and successful islands in the Caribbean. I am honored to be part of this tournament and am looking forward to this being an unforgettable event,” Mr Chen said.
“I fish tournaments throughout the US, Caribbean, Mexico and Central America and always enjoy the fishing in Cayman as well as the hospitality given while visiting. I’m excited for the opportunity to work with Mr Merren on the event and encourage boats to sign up.”
“Whether traveling with family or a group of friends, Cayman offers our visitors a wide range of accommodations choices from award winning hotels to luxury rentals allowing our visitors to relax and beyond the great fishing, enjoy world famous culinary offerings, indulgent spas, a host of attractions, amenities, watersports and carefully curated shopping experiences from artisans markets to luxury boutiques”, Bush said.
Registration for the Cayman Billfish Rundown is now open. Early registration before March 1 2019 is USD $2,500 and after March 1 is USD $3,000. For more information about this event, visit www.caymanbillfishrundown.com.
Eligible species for the tournament includes Billfish (Blue, Sail, White and Swordfish), Tuna, Dolphin and Wahoo.
Cayman Billfish Rundown has designated the Alex Panton Foundation as the beneficiary charity of the tournament. Their mission is to improve the mental health of children and young adults in the Cayman Islands through advocacy, awareness and support while raising awareness of mental illnesses with a particular focus on anxiety and depression. Participants will have the option during registration to donate a percentage of their winnings to the foundation. www.alexpantonfoundation.ky
DECEMBER 13, 2018 FISHING WIRE –
Beginning January 1, 2019, all Atlantic highly migratory species tournaments will be required to submit catch summaries.
An Atlantic highly migratory species (HMS) tournament is a tournament that awards points or prizes for catching Atlantic highly migratory species (i.e., swordfish, billfish, sharks and/or tunas). All Atlantic highly migratory species tournament operators will be required to submit an HMS tournament catch summary report within seven days after tournament fishing has ended. Most of the catch data in the summary report are routinely collected in the course of regular tournament operations. NOAA Fisheries uses the data to estimate the total annual catch of highly migratory species and the impact of tournament operations in relation to other types of fishing activities.
Existing regulations require operators of Atlantic highly migratory species tournaments to register four weeks in advance of the tournament. Operators must provide contact information and the tournament’s date(s), location(s), and target species. Tournament registration can be done through the Atlantic Tournament Registration and Reporting system.
Tournament operators can also request educational and regulatory outreach materials from NOAA Fisheries at the time of registration.