2018 Presidential Aruba Caribbean Cup Oranjestad, Aruba

October 18-21, 2018
Story by: Art McDonald

Aruba, Jamaica, oh I wanna take you to Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama….. oh, sorry, I got carried away (Beach Boys circa 1989).   Aruba, one of the jewels of the Caribbean with it’s beautiful beaches, friendly people, laid-back lifestyle, Dutch heritage and, oh, by the way, some fabulous billfishing, was the site of our latest IGFTO Observing adventure – in this year’s 9th Annual Presidential Challenge Caribbean Cup held in the Varadero Marina in the capital city of Oranjestad.  13 IGFTO Observers (Barry Holeve, Brenten Baker, Bruce Key, Chris Hogan, Evan Hipsley, Greg Marsolais, Karen LeCompte, Pat Brobst, Rich Engles, Sine Mate, Tess Sheil, Walt Palmeri, and yours truly) represented IGFTO in this 3-day All-Release Tournament.  A total of 16 boats participated in the event targeting Sailfish, White Marlin, and Blue Marlin.  The Tournament got off to a fast start with a quick Sailfish by the Paso Largo @ 8:20 AM on day one. The action continued all morning and by noon the fleet had released over 20 billfish.  The afternoon belonged to Tara who ended up on the top of the Leader Board with an impressive 4 Blues and 2 Whites.  In fact, Team Tara never looked back and led the Tournament from start to finish as they added another 5 Sailfish to their impressive start to take the overall trophy home.  Second place was Alina (on time) over 3rd place Watashee.  The Tournament set a record for the number of billfish releases which totaled 109 comprised of 13 Blue Marlin, 22 White Marlin, and 74 Sailfish – all on 30 lb. test line and non-offset circle hooks – that works out to an average of almost 7 Billfish per boat – not shabby at all!  My only disappointment was not coming in a day or so early, or staying a day or so afterward to explore this beautiful island.  Next year, I plan to do just that!