Grand Caribe’s 6th Annual Deep Sea Classic Fishing Tournament

by Dion Vansen

With growing popularity, deepsea fishing is a sporting event in the country with Ambergris Caye, an island off the northeast coast of Belize, home to the largest fishing tournaments in the country. It is not only considered the largest, but also a good opportunity for anglers from around the country and abroad to enjoy fishing in the Caribbean Sea and end such an adventure with some fabulous prizes. The annual tournament, typically held in July, returns with its 6th edition after taking a break due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike past tournaments, a total of 42 teams from Belize, Honduras, Mexico, and beyond took the challenge and competed to win the 6th Annual DeepSea Classic Fishing Tournament.

The 6th Annual DeepSea Classic Agenda

Image via Grand Caribe.

Following a briefing and dinner on July 28, the tournament was officially held from July 29 through 31 at the Grand Caribe Belize Resort, north of Ambergris Caye’s town of San Pedro. The highly anticipated fishing event came with an attractive bounty of over $200,000 in cash and prizes. During the event, the teams sailed out to sea as early as 6 am following a Bimini or what is commonly known at the beginning of a fishing tournament, a shotgun start. Throughout the day they would record their catches and according to these, points were awarded. The fishing times were from 6 am to 6 pm during the two days of the competition.  

On the first day, one of the teams experienced what everyone looks forward to in a fishing tournament: They caught and released an estimated 200-lb Blue Marlin. This is not just unique for an angler but is an assurance of taking the lead in a fishing tournament like this, considering the weight of points for a billfish.   

The event this year was not just about fishing, there was entertainment with DJs and live performances by local artists in the evenings.  

Winners of the tournament 

On the third day, Sunday, July 31st, a prize-giving ceremony was held at 11 am at the resort’s facilities, West Room with the presence of the island’s beauty ambassador, Miss San Pedro Faith Edgar. The top five teams were awarded cash and trophies. In addition, individual recognitions were also announced.  

The top five teams of the 2022 DeepSea Classic were:

Images via Dion Vansen

In fifth place was Team Benavi 2 with 125 points, while Team Bejeweled was awarded a fourth place with 154 points. In third place was Team Long Range with 1,049 points, meanwhile in second place was Team Carlie with 2,530 points. Taking the first place and grand prize, including a $90,400 cheque, was Team Catchin A Buzz.  The top three winning teams also received original artwork done by marine artist Carey Chen. 

After naming and awarding the top teams, individual awards were issued:

The prize for the Heaviest Dorado (27 lbs) went to Julian Bradley of Team Reel Nauti. 

Lorne Gondeck of Team Star Kissed received the prize for the Heaviest Wahoo (30 lbs). 

The prize for the Heaviest Tuna (18 lbs) went to Blaine Snyder of Team Jubilee. 

Josh Jorgensen of Team Sweet Caroline caught the Heaviest Kingfish (19 lbs). 

The prize for the Heaviest Sailfish went to Kamric Black of Team Long Range. 

The Heaviest Marlin was caught by Kyle Rensenhouse of the winning Team Catchin A Buzz. 

The tournament also awarded the top anglers: 

The top Junior Angler with 50 points was Enzo McLean of Team Miss Kennedy. 

The top Female Angler with 94 points was Vanessa Gallardo of Team Bejeweled, and the Top Angler with 2,545 was Kyle Rensenhouse of the champion team Catchin A Buzz. 

There was also a Calcutta prize of $32,700, which went to second place winners Team Carlie. A Calcutta in a fishing tournament essentially is a betting pool in which participants can bet auction-style. It was confirmed at the event that 10% of the total Calcutta will support seven educational scholarships to be awarded to young anglers.

See you next year! 

All images courtesy Belize Tourism Board/Grand Caribe unless stated otherwise. Header image via BTB.

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