Puerto Rico hosts the oldest running billfish tournament in the world.
Can you imagine a 500-pound marlin flying through the air as you sail along the shore of Puerto Rico? Or the thrill of pulling a whitetail fish at the end of your line onto boat then releasing? Well, if catch-and-release is your type of watersport, Puerto Rico’s fishing competitions might be for you.
In Puerto Rico, you don’t need a license when you’re fishing aboard a registered charter, which makes it an easy activity to enjoy for a day (or more) of your stay. The deep-sea fishing near is the island is even better when there’s a competitive edge to it.
From blue and white marlin to sailfish and other sea creatures, you can find big fish all around the island, though the blue billfishes are the star of the show weighing an average of 700 pounds. Are you up to the challenge?
Explore Puerto Rico’s annual fishing competitions:
The International Billfish Tournament
The International Billfish Tournament is one of the most popular fishing competitions not only in the Caribbean but in the world. For over six decades, the Club Náutico de San Juan has hosted this deep-sea fishing event and garnered anglers from all over the globe for an “all-inclusive” event. Usually celebrated between August and September, the IBT has made its way to the top ten fishing tournaments of Marlin Magazine, one of the most respected fishing publications world-wide.
Though marlin fishing can be seen as luxurious and expensive, the IBT has entrances for less than $2,000 where you can partake in the four-day competition in some of the Caribbean’s best fishing charters. Also, you can attend social events such as banquets, functions, cocktail parties, and more.
The IBT is somewhat unique in that individual anglers don’t need a boat to participate. Anglers are grouped into teams with other visiting anglers. They are assigned to a different vessel each day – which prompts the opportunity of mingling, mixing, and getting to know more people during the competition. You’ll be scored collectively for the catches made in the boat and individually by the sea creature you catch.
Because of the abundance of blue billfish just off the coast of San Juan, the popularity of this contest relies on sea life preservation, and therefore, it is a catch-and-release event.
Puerto del Rey Billfish Tournament
For half a decade the Puerto del Rey Billfish Tournament has been held in the Caribbean’s grandest and only blue flag marina. This top-rated competition takes place between October and November.
In this tournament, you compete for over $15,000 in prizes, as well as a “Grand Slam” main prize of $25,000. The ultimate award is granted to the boat that hits the jackpot and catches a blue marlin, a white marlin, and a sailfish on the same day. The four-day event hosts a variety of festivities for you and the family, such as kids fishing competitions, educational and recreational water activities, live entertainment, and banquets every day.
Just like the IBT, the Puerto del Rey Billfish Tournament is also a catch-and-release competition to promote marine life preservation.