Fishing is serious business, not just for anglers seeking to hook some of the substantial prize money on offer, but also for tournament hosts who can use the opportunity to showcase their destination to visiting boat owners and crews.
More than 30 boats head to sea this week for the inaugural Cayman Billfish Rundown competition, a new multi-day fishing tournament co-sponsored by Hurley’s Media in partnership with Dart and The Residences at Seafire.
With potential prize winnings of US$520,000 and a guarantee of US$270,000, Cayman Billfish Rundown boasts one of the largest guaranteed prizes of the region’s competitive fishing circuit and has attracted international interest.
Scheduled to coincide with CayMAS carnival taking place the day after the award ceremony, the inaugural Cayman Billfish Rundown is intended to showcase the best of local culinary and entertainment options.
The tournament headquarters and weigh station are located at Camana Bay. Easily accessible from the North Sound, Camana Bay is Dart’s premier mixed-use, master-planned community in the Cayman Islands featuring upscale shopping and diverse dining options.
As a tenant of Camana Bay, the Hurley’s Media team recognised the town’s harbour as an ideal venue for the tournament with plentiful boat slips and public space where people can watch the excitement of the daily weigh-ins, culminating in a prize-giving ceremony on the final day.
Pilar Bush, Executive Vice President for Marketing at Dart, says the tournament’s target audience closely aligns with the country’s tourism market.
“In addition to local participants, Cayman Billfish Rundown offers avid international sportspeople the perfect opportunity to visit the Cayman Islands,” she says. “In supporting the event, our ultimate goal is that first-time visitors will choose Cayman for their next vacation, or even as a place to buy a property.”
As a major investor in Cayman’s tourism product, Bush says Dart supports the continued diversification of the local tourism industry through sponsorship of events that have a positive impact on the local economy, such as the Cayman Alternative Investment Summit and KAABOO.
“Dart’s sponsorship of Cayman Billfish Rundown aligns with our long-term strategy to support sustainable economic growth within the Cayman Islands,” Bush says. “This tournament contributes to Cayman’s existing reputation as a prime sports fishing destination and introduces visitors to unique culinary and entertainment experiences that exemplify the high standard of Cayman’s tourism product.”
The tournament is expected to have a positive impact on the local economy by attracting high net worth individuals, and creating new vendor and sponsorship opportunities for local businesses.
Hurley’s Media Managing Director Randy Merren says the tournament has been over a year in the making and will highlight the best Cayman has to offer.
“Cayman is a very attractive destination and we view this as an opportunity to attract visitors who spend their time off going on fishing trips and may not have had Cayman on the radar,” he says.
Approximately half of the registered boats for this year’s tournament are internationally based.
To ensure the event is executed in a sustainable manner, Cayman Billfish Rundown is partnering with The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation to tag and release mahi mahi, tuna and ocean whitetip sharks.
Competitors are also encouraged to catch and release unless they believe they may have a fish that will break the billfish record.
Adding an element of social responsibility to the tournament, participants will have the option during registration to donate a percentage of their winnings to the Alex Panton Foundation, the beneficiary charity of this year’s tournament.
The Foundation’s mission is to improve the mental health of children and young adults in the Cayman Islands through advocacy, awareness and support while raising awareness of mental illnesses with a particular focus on anxiety and depression.
“Given that May is recognised as Mental Health Awareness Month, it is particularly fitting that the Alex Panton Foundation will benefit from this inaugural event,” Bush says. “Developing our community is central to Dart’s purpose in the Cayman Islands, and supporting well-run local charities is one of the many ways in which we aim to accomplish that mission.”
The tournament also promotes sportfishing in the local community. No stranger to fishing herself, Bush is joining a Dart-sponsored boat, with an all-female line-up of anglers, for a day on the water.
The Cayman Billfish Rundown weigh-ins will take place Tuesday 14, Wednesday 15 and Friday 17 at The Crescent at Camana Bay from 4pm to 6pm and are open to the public.
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