Belize Game Fishing and The Big November Tournament
When you think big game fishing…I’m not sure you think Belize. Fly fishing YES! Always Belize. Check out this article about 11 of the World’s Best Fishing Spots. Belize is right there but for our “inshore slam” – the permit, the tarpon and the bonefish.
But we have deep waters – just after our reef, depths drop thousands of feet. Here is a pic of an impromptu fishing trip just outside the reef I took with the Seaduced catamaran – the water was churning with sardines, larger fish, bull sharks and then birds…
Belize DOES have game fishing. We are not as well known as places like the Pacific coast of Mexico and Guatemala but there are fish out there! Like dorado (one of the oddest looking fish around)…
and Blue Marlin, White Marlin, Sailfish, Wahoo, Kingfish and Tuna. Mmmmmm…tuna.
Andrew Roe, the President of the Belize Game Fish Association, sent me a press release about an excellent catch and release initiative as well as a big tournament in November.
While he told me that we are not the best around for billfish, we do get them. And are working to keep them. And Belize may be one of the best spots in the world for wahoo – especially from October to March.
Wahoo, thought not quite as fast as billfish, have been clocked at speeds up to 60 mph and are prized for their fight and their flavor.
Enough from me…here is the press release and the information on November’s tournament.
The Belize Game Fish Association has been promoting the sport of offshore fishing in Belize since 1987. During this time it has hosted numerous competitions that have seen anglers enjoy some of their best fishing experiences, all of which has helped to build the camaraderie of the Association’s members and forge lifelong friendships. Over the past 2 years, the BGFA has set a new goal to bolster its sustainability impact on the sportsfishing industry of Belize and has started by introducing a release system into its tournaments for billfish.
These release rules were introduced in November 2014 at the BGFA’s 6th Annual Blue Water Classic hosted out of the Radisson Fort George in Belize City, and to great success. The concept is simple. Each boat is given a release flag at the beginning of the tournament and when a billfish is brought alongside the boat, anglers take a video of the fish showing the flag in the frame, the leaderman touching the leader and the fish subsequently being released. Each species of billfish is allotted a set number of points for a catch and release, and the points are weighted in such a way that should a large “trophy fish” be caught, the boat will not be penalized for bringing it to the scale. Since this is a new concept to many anglers, the BGFA has left the option for a boat to bring a billfish to the scale if they are unsure of how to release a fish, although fewer points are allocated to fish that are killed. Since the introduction of this new rule, the BGFA’s anglers have released 7 of the 8 sailfish caught during its last two tournaments, as well as the only Blue Marlin. In addition, the initiative has spread to casual weekend fishing with a further 10 Sailfish and 1 Blue Marlin having been release by our members.
This of course was an initiative that needed much support as changing the way things have been done for many years is never an easy task. Much of the push came from the BGFA Membership which was the backbone of the support. Special mention must also be made of Oceana who sponsored the release points last November and who are a big supporter of the BGFA’s catch and release efforts. Looking near term at three to four years down the road, the BGFA intends to move all of its tournament to full catch and release, perhaps with the exception only of record fish.
The Belize Game Fish Association will be hosting its 7th Blue Water Classic out of the Radisson Fort George from November 19th to the 21st. Last year Captain Hillyboo Lara made the journey from San Pedro to the city to compete, and the BGFA would like to extend an invitation to all boats and fishing enthusiast of San Pedro to join us at Belize’s largest fishing competition. See you there!