by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada
- 34 boats came from neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago
- 17 boats from Grenada is a historic number
- Partially completed berthing facilities at Grenada Yacht Club accommodates some boats
The Budget Marine Spice Isle Billfish Tournament has come a long way since the early days of the founding members Jim Needham, Louis Rostant and Martin Mathias in 1964. The tournament which is this year celebrating 50 years in existence, can now boast of having surpassed previous years in terms of the number of boats participating.
This is the first time in the history of the tournament that so many boats are competing. The largest contingent of 34 boats came from neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago, followed by Grenada with 17 boats. Barbados is being represented by 12 boats, Martinique 5 boats and St Lucia 3 boats. The United States of America, St Vincent and Guadeloupe each had one boat representing.
“We are overwhelmed by what has happened. It is the first time in our 50 years we have ever had 74 boats, 366 anglers from US, UK, Scotland and all over the Caribbean.” Tournament Committee Chairman Richard McIntyre particularly mentioned the tremendous turnout of anglers from Trinidad and Tobago. “The Trinidad participation has been amazing; it’s 34 Trinidadian boats that have come here. Without the Trinidad support, we would be sadly lacking.”
As promised the committee was able to deliver berthing facilities at the Grenada Yacht Club partially completed to accommodate some boats for the duration of the tournament after which the construction of the $2 million project will resume.
“It is still in the construction phase, but I believe we are going to get it done by the end of February,” McIntyre said.
Today, 22 January is a Half Day of Fishing for anglers as they prepare for the Bimini Start tomorrow Wednesday, and as per usual each boat will parade across the Carenage before heading on their way to hook the biggest catch.
McIntyre also commented on the local participation of 17 boats which is also a record. “We have 17 fishing boats from Grenada, and it is probably the most we have ever had.”
The Budget Marine Spice Isle Billfish Tournament Committee went over and above to ensure that this year’s tournament lives up to the hype, and regional and international acclaim received over the last few years.
The winner of the tournament will be awarded a cash prize of $500,000 once a catch of a 1,000-pound fish is made.
The committee has already announced that awards for next year’s tournament will be named after the tournament’s founding members.