Having just celebrated its 58th year as the world’s oldest continuous blue marlin tournament, the Club Nautico de San Juan International remains one of the most successful contests in the Americas. With a prolific Atlantic blue marlin fishery second only to Venezuela, the San Juan tournament was the first to break the 100-catch mark during the 1983 event. Continuing to break records, anglers caught 137 blue marlin in 1987, tagging and releasing 45. The next year, 103 boats bettered that mark, releasing all 190 fish they caught, a watershed event that marked the first modified-release format by a major fishing competition.
Essentially becoming a release event, San Juan’s legacy is beyond compare. With influential committee members like Ralph Christensen and Agie Vicente (also founding members of The Billfish Foundation), the tournament bucked local fish-on-the-dock trends to set the standard. The tournament also has been one of TBF’s biggest fundraisers, contributing tens of thousands of dollars for research and programs such as the Adopt-A-Billfish archival tagging program.
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