150 Anglers for Port Antonio International Marlin Tournament
Close to 150 anglers will compete in the 54th annual Port Antonio International Marlin Tournament, which will take place in a new format in the country's first declared tourist destination, Port Antonio, Portland, from October 26-28.
The three-day competition, which is one of the largest and oldest in the Caribbean, was launched at JN Fund Managers on Belmont Road, New Kingston, on Thursday.
"Overall, close to 150 anglers will be participating in the three-day tournament, which commences on October 26 and finishes on the 28th," explained Peter Cowan, tournament director.
"At the end of it, we will have trophies for the first marlin each day. There will be a trophy for the overall winner and largest species of all categories. Marlins caught that are less than 99 inches, which is less than 300 pounds, will be released," he added.
This year, the event features a change to the format with the competition beginning on a Thursday as opposed to Monday.
"The tournament used to go from the Monday, with fishing on a Tuesday, rest day on Wednesday, then fishing on Thursday and Friday. In speaking with the participants, it was pointed out that the break was not the best and wasn't working out for everybody," he said.
Cowan pointed out that the new format makes the tournament more flexible to facilitate families and younger aspiring anglers, many of whom were unable to participate because of work or school.
"We have accommodated the various views and we have changed to see if this is the right format. Last year, we were forced to switch to three days because of the hurricane and we fished on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday, which worked, and persons were very happy with it. So this year, it will be a three-day tournament," Cowan added.
The event will also feature events such as a sound clash on the Thursday night and a dinner on the Friday.
Fair Prospect, captained by David Moss, are the defending champions, and the winners this year will again represent Jamaica in Costa Rica in the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) Tournament in April next year.
"Last year, Fair Prospect was the winner and they went on to represent Jamaica at the IGFA Championships in Costa Rica. They didn't do as well as we would have hoped, but they represented us well," he said.
"We only had two qualifying tournaments before, the one in Montego Bay, and the Port Antonio International Tournament. This year, we have an additional tournament, the Superstars, which will be held here in Port Antonio. To go to Costa Rica, you have to win one of the qualifying tournaments. So with three teams at the World Championships, the sky is the limit, and this can only mean well for Jamaica," he said.
Major sponsors for this year's Port Antonio Marlin Tournament include JN Bank, Rum Bar, Stewart's Auto Group and Sterling Asset Management.