Thursday, 19 September 2019 12:55 GMT

Cayman's first ever Billfish Rundown awards over $260,000 in cash prizes

(MENAFN - Caribbean News Now)

GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands - The Cayman Islands\u2019 first-ever Cayman Billfish Rundown awarded more than US$260,000 in cash prizes to 14 teams hailing from both local and international shores. Held May 14-17 on Grand Cayman, 41 teams registered in the sportfishing tournament, presented by Hurley\u2019s Media Ltd., Dart Enterprises and The Residences at Seafire.\n

Managing Director of Hurley\u2019s Media Ltd. Randy Merren said, he was pleased with the outcome of the tournament. \u201cIt\u2019s incredible to see Cayman Billfish Rundown come to life after a year of planning and preparations. We are grateful for the support from the local and international participants, and based on the feedback received, we expect even higher numbers next year,\u201d Merren said.\n

Carey Chen brought his experience and expertise as the Official Artist and Tournament Ambassador, taking news of the tournament to global waters. \u201cI\u2019ve been fishing the Cayman Islands since Million Dollar month in the 80's. The offshore fishing is less than a mile from land in the clearest water you can imagine,\u201d\u00a0 Chen said. \u201cCayman Billfish Rundown in its debut is one of the most organized tournaments I have been to and this will only get better.\u201d\u00a0\n id=\"mNCC\" language=\"javascript\">medianet_width='468';medianet_height= '60';medianet_crid='637422217'; id=\"mNSC\" src=\"http:\/\/\/nmedianet.js?cid=8CUVV6306\" language=\"javascript\"> \n\n

The winning team \u2018Uno Mas\u2019 from Florida captained by Brooks Smith, released three Billfish to win the top prize of US$100,000 for the most Billfish release points and the Captain\u2019s award of US$10,000 presented to the Captain of the boat with the most release points. The team also entered seven additional categories that flexed its billfish skills and rewarded Uno Mas with additional payouts of more than US$16,000, making its total winnings for the tournament close to US$130,000.\n

In second place, \u2018Happy Days\u2019 from the Cayman Islands, took home US$35,000 for the second most billfish releases, as well as an additional US$2,250 for the smallest boat with the most billfish releases. Small boats were considered under 36 feet Length Over All (LOA).\n

Third place for most billfish release was tied, with seven teams earning equal points through catching and releasing a Blue Marlin. Down to time stamps, \u2018Suntide\u2019 took home third place and US$20,000, inching ahead of \u2018Lazy Lady\u2019 and \u2018Trading Time\u2019 by releasing their Marlin 10 and 20 minutes earlier respectively.\n

Angler Shaun Bodden from \u2018Cool Change\u2019 hooked the heaviest yellowfin tuna, weighing 77.2 lbs., which awarded his team US$10,000 from the guaranteed payout and an additional US$10,000 for entering and winning the \u2018Tuna Doubler\u2019 category.\n

The heaviest Wahoo was caught by Baron Jacob from \u2018Ecks-Change\u2019 weighing 39.2 lbs. The heaviest Dolphinfish was caught by Nathan Ebanks from \u2018Reeladdiction\u2019. Both teams won US$10,000 and each team kindly donated U$1,500 to the Alex Panton Foundation, the charity the tournament chose to support. Anglers were encouraged to donate a portion of their winnings to the Alex Panton Foundation.\n

The foundation\u2019s mission is to improve the mental health of the Cayman Islands\u2019 children and young adults.\n

Forty-one boats entered the tournament with 230 registered anglers, including 41 international anglers and 28 females. Between them, they released twelve Blue Marlins, one White Marlin and one sailfish. A total of 14 yellowfin tuna, five wahoo and six dolphinfish were brought to the scale.\n

\u201cThe Cayman Islands as a jurisdiction of choice has so much to offer, and this tournament is no different as it highlights the high professional standard of sport fishing,\u201d Merren said, \u201cBillfish in particular hold a special place in Cayman Islands sportfishing and for me personally, it was great to bring the action so close to our shores,\u201d he continued.\n

The tournament also supports responsible fishing and teamed up with Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, the School of Marine Sciences at the University of Maine, and The Gulf of Maine Research Institute in a Tag and Release Program. Chen said, \u201cOf all the islands I have travelled to Cayman takes the most pride in its reefs and ocean by protecting it from pollution and overfishing.\u201d \n

The tag and release programme encourages participants to tag and release undersized dolphinfish, yellowfin tuna, skipjack and bigeye tuna, and ocean whitetip sharks. \u2018Conched Out\u2019, captained by Colin Wilson earned the most release points and was awarded an Ulysse Nardin CI limited edition watch valued at US$10,000.\n

The awards dinner and closing ceremony took place on Friday evening at The Crescent in Camana Bay and included a live performance and an impressive display of fireworks. \n

Sponsors, including Dart Enterprises, Esso, Ulysse Nardin and Island Heritage handed out trophies and checks to winning teams. During the closing ceremony other sponsors were also thanked for their involvement in the tournament including Chivas Regal; Michelob Ultra; Parkers; Automotive Art; Suzuki; Mikes Ice; Ogier; Shipping Registry and Pro Yacht.\n

Helping with the presentation of awards, Nicole Spenc, a sportfishing icon from Florida, also thanked sponsors and tournament organisers for welcoming her to the Cayman Islands. \n

\u201cThe people, the island, everything is so welcoming and I am just blown away! I can\u2019t wait to come back!\u201d she said. Nicole writes an adventure blog and is popular across YouTube and Instagram.\n

Reflecting on the tournament Merren expressed gratitude to participants and sponsors. \n

\u201cThank you to those who participated and to the team at Hurley\u2019s Media, Dart Enterprises and The Residences at Seafire for a successful inaugural event. My hope is that next year we have even more participants, increase the prize pools, and perhaps even can break the Blue Marlin record,\u201d he said.\n

Chen also said he\u2019s excited for next year\u2019s event. \u201cLooking forward to next year with more boats and even bigger jackpots. I am proud to call Cayman my second home.\u201d


Cayman's first ever Billfish Rundown awards over $260,000 in cash prizes

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