Tournament Trail: Fishing the International Billfish Tournament

Enjoy outstanding action in San Juan

The International Billfish Tournament of Club Nautico de San Juan is one of the oldest and most historic sport-fishing tournaments found anywhere in the world. For the 63rd anniversary tournament in 2016, Marlin Senior Editor Sam White ventured to the island nation in search of blue marlin.

The event consists of four days of fishing that are book-ended by phenomenal welcome parties, a beach bash cookout during the mid-week lay day and a dressy, semi-formal awards celebration. There’s also the El Morro Shootout, a shotgun start where the fleet’s 50-plus boats all head toward the fishing grounds at wide-open throttle. It’s an adrenaline rush that’s not to be missed.

Travel to Puerto Rico is easy, with no passports required for U.S. citizens. The fishing action takes place just a few miles offshore, so the runs are measured in minutes rather than hours. And with a new system of fish-aggregating devices in place, the blue marlin fishing is better than ever.

By the end of the week, the team on AD/HD had emerged victorious with five blue marlin releases on 30-pound-test line, while Sea Dream also scored five blues on 30-pound tackle to place second on time. It's an incredibly competitive yet fun event, with trophies and bragging rights for the winners and a good time nearly guaranteed for all who participate.