The Bonaire International and Local Fishing Tournament was a great success.
The Bonaire International and Local fishing tournament was a great success. 24 boats participated in the International Catch and Release event. 3 boats came from Aruba, 13 from Curacao, 1 from Venezuela and 7 from Bonaire. While the local even saw record attendance of 19 boats. Fun was had by all and we hope that they spread the word and bring friends for next year! Customs and Immigration's made an enormous effort to make it seamless by setting up a booth so that all of the boats could clear in and out directly at the event and did not have to drag the entire crew into town. Rather than waiting on line in town, they could wait at the bar until it was their turn. As the first contact with the island and with the event this made a big impact on many of the participants.
To put an event like this together, it is not possible without great support from the community. Many sponsors came through to help, not only with funds, but equipment, goods assistance to make this event come off without a hitch. The sponsors included Best Brands Bonaire ,Coca Cola, and Polar, It Rains Fishes, Napa, Spice, Akkermanas, Bonaire Affair, Bonaire Marine Center, Budget Marine, Total Rent a Car, Window Wizard, Bon Siman, Rocargo, MCB Bank, IFC Food specialists, Bonaire Nautico Marina, Flamingo TV, Caribbean Laundry Services, Stone Crusher, Bonaire Tobaco and Liquor and Zanzibar among others were of great support.
This year the International fishermen kept the control very busy with 28 strikes over the 2 days. There were 12 successful releases on Friday and 7 more on Saturday. Unfortunately the rest got away before making it all the way back to the boat. Of these, 15 were Blue Marlin and 4 were White Marlin.The first angler to secure a prize was on "Just Us" with the first release on Friday by Sergie Boer at 8:23 for which got him a cash prize of $500.
On Saturday, Maikel Serberie on "Meal Ticket" made a very fast job of it, with the first release already at 7:52 to also win $500.Throughout the event sponsors make additional spontaneous challenges, like "any release within the hour will win..." or "the first Tuna will win..." Many of these challenges went unmet. On Friday the only challenge set out by Sun Belt Rentals Bonaire for $100 plus 2 bottles of black label and 2 bottles of White Label was won by Charles de Haak on Nanny of Curacao.
Napa sponsored an additional prize for Best Angler Barry da Brew de Paulo on "Pikante". He went home with a PENN International V 80 Reel so he can come back and catch even more next year.The prizes for the most and largest each of Tuna, Wahoo and Dorado all stay in for this year as only Bill fish were caught.
Now, on to the main event, 3rd prize with total of 600 points with 2 Blues was won by "Chacaro" from Curacao, both caught by Clifford Pietersz on Saturday. They win a beautiful trophy along with $2,000 cash.
2nd prize of $3,500 and another beautiful Trophy goes to "Just Us" with 900 points releasing 2 Blue Marlin and 1 White White Marlin on Friday caught by Serfie Boer and Jens van der Lubbe and 1 White Marlin on Saturday also caught by Jens.
And Finally, the first prize of $6,000 with a total of 1200 points with 4 Blue Marlin goes to "Picante" from Curacao. Barry da Brew de Paulo caught 2 and Ruben Arends and Luis Dusa each brought in one. The weather was perfect and the fish were certainly cooperating during this event. We do hope to see more participants and spectators at next years event!
The ambiance could not have been better for the local event with a record attendance of 19 boats. 7 of these boats returned with more than the required 10kgs of fish to qualify for a prize. The rest returned to report a great day of fishing. There were 6 boats in the category of less than 17’, and 13 boats that were 17’ and over.
The fishermen were required to personally sign out at the headquarters no earlier than 11:00 at night and were allowed to leave any time after midnight to fish. Some had to travel ½ way round the island to return their catch to the pier by 2pm at the club Nautico pier, but it was worth their while. In this tournament the fishermen remain the owner of the fish, but many did not leave the pier as they were sold on the spot. It Rains Fishes fish market amung others is well stocked with a huge variety of fish! As a reminder to all of the fishermen, remember, you keep the fish, so bring in your catch to the scales, not all of the prizes were claimed, so a small catch could have been enough!
Vincent Seket and his wife on "Orca" returned with one fish, but it weighed in at 15kg and earned them the 3rd place in the large boat category for a prize of $200. It is great to see women out there fishing as well! Second place went to "Rainbow Runner" owned by Enfri Thomas with 21 fish totaling 26.5 kg. Appropriate to his boat name, he was the only one to bring in a rainbow runner fish. Solomon Sherwin Theodora on "Princes Thaijse" with 6 fish topped the scales with 39 kg for the $500 first prize.
In the the small boats category, only 2 returned to the scales. Second place of $300 whet to Cado Soliano on "Trupial", the first of the local boats to return to the pier, with 8 fish weighing in at 19.5kg. In years past, the local boats complained that it was not fair for the small boats to have to compete against the much larger boats, so the event was divided into two categories. In this event, one of the smallest boats, of all not only won the category and had the most weight of fish, the criteria for winning, but also the most total fish, beating out the big boats with 32 fish totaling 52 kg. Edward Janga on Speed won $500 for first place.
There was great ambiance at the pier and everyone returned with a smile, even those without any fish! A reminder that any boat may enter either event. In the local event, you keep your fish (or sell it right at the pier!) You do not have to be a big boat to join the International event either. Again, we send a giant thanks to all of our sponsors without whom we could not make this event possible. You can find pictures on our website http://www.bonairefishingtournaments.com/on our facebook page and that of many of our sponsors. More will be loaded throughout the week, so keep checking back!