Tournament director Andrew Wilkinson has hailed the determination of anglers during the 12th staging of the Guardian General Insurance Jamaica (GGIJ)/Royal Jamaica Yacht Club (RJYC) Fishing Tournament, after the boatsmen logged more than 50 gruelling hours at sea, enduring far less than ideal weather conditions.
"It was really challenging, it separated the real men from the boys," Wilkinson said.
"To try and angle fish in these conditions, even as experienced anglers, presented a great challenge, depending on how far out from land you were."
Anglers hauled a total of 1,505lb to wrap up this year's invitational fishing tournament.
This year's top team, Persistence, led by veteran angler Owen 'OB' Brown, garnered an impressive 582 points and was awarded a cash prize of $150,000, along with other prizes. Second- and third-place winners Matador, led by Mario Francis, and 2012 champions Integrity, led by Peter Cowan, were separated by a single point. They won a Yamaha generator and 500 litres of fuel, respectively.
According to Wilkinson, this year's tournament recorded the largest registered set of participants in recent history, which he attributed to the tweaking of the rules to add some excitement to competition.
"We have included day prizes to encourage the smaller boats below 30 feet to participate, and we encouraged all our anglers to use environmentally friendly fishing practices and to keep only fish caught that are over 10 pounds," he stated.
Team Persistence claimed several heaviest-catch accolades for barracuda, kingfish, tuna and wahoo. The Heaviest Marlin winner came from day two's total weight champions Integrity, with a 105lb marlin caught by angler Steven Sykes.
The Junior Angler award went to eight-year-old Richard Todd from team Reelax, who also won the award for Boat Most Points for under 30 feet crafts. They walked away with 300 litres fuel, among other prizes. Second and third place winners were Hook Im, led by Donovan Hoo Kim, and Integrity, led by Cowan, respectively.
The tournament was originally set for sail in April this year, but was postponed due to unfavourable weather conditions. This year's tournament had activities for all members of the family that included the second staging of the highly competitive Kiddies Off The Wharf Fishing Tournament to nurture junior anglers' love for the sport. Zander Williams was awarded a fishing rod for the biggest catch, while Dominic Ramson claimed his prize for heaviest total weight.
Other award performances include Ryan Ramson's First Catch prize of a tackle box and a fishing rod, and four-year-old Enda Chang being the competition's youngest angler.
Sheraley Bridgeman, assistant vice-president, business development of title sponsor GGIJ, said her company was happy to be continuing its support of the annual championship, having offered support since inception.
"As the leading insurer of pleasure crafts, we have regarded this as a natural fit for us. The weather conditions were challenging, but we are happy to see the passion for the sport displayed by anglers," she said.