Roatan International Fishing Tournament
The Roatan International Fishing Tournament is held every year in mid-September on the island of Roatan in the Bay Islands of Honduras. Learn about the tournament its history and how local fisherman are working to protect local fish species below:
Roatan is actually 32 miles off the coast of Honduras.
We’re a little island, a chain of islands in the Bay of Honduras. Utila, Guanaja, Cayos Cochinos and Roatan is in the middle.
I’ve heard a lot of people call it the gem of the Caribbean because It’s long, narrow and green and we have beautiful beaches and also it’s affordable.
Roatan unlike a lot of the other islands in the Caribbean is a very mountainous island and surrounded by the second largest Barrier Reef in the world. So we have a lot of different rainforest birds and animals that a lot of the other tropical islands don’t have because they’re flat.
What makes it really special is there is a natural state of being you know, that freedom and being able to be who you are and whenever you ready to be that person.
There are a variety of things to do here on the island. Number 1 scuba diving, sport fishing, we have iguana parks, underwater museum, canopy tours, tours of the island.
You can go on the glass bottom boat. You can go diving, snorkeling,
parasailing, horse riding right on the beach. For those who like golf, there is a new golf course here on the island now.
There’s also the fishing and fishing here is literally, you jump in your boat and five minutes you’re outside the reef and you can start letting your lines out
Most parts of the US, Florida, Texas, people have to run 60 to 70 miles out from where they start to get in a thousand or 15 hundred feet of water. Here we can get into 2 thousand feet of water in 5 minutes.
Well, the biggest thing with fishing here is that you can get in the boat, and you’re on the fishing grounds and I think that’s why it’s awesome. Also the different varieties of fish you could catch. You could catch Wahoo, King Fish, Tuna, Mahi Mahi.
I would say the fishing here is on par with some of the top destinations in the world as far as variety and species that you could catch and the distance that you have to actually travel. And that’s something pretty unique, I personally have had it where I’ve caught a blue marlin here within 15 minutes of fishing.
Roatan’s Fishing Tournament is the same time every year for the 15th of September, which is Honduran Independence Day.
We have a huge carnival in West End town, the fishing tournament is smack in the middle of the carnival so you have children, older people, families, everybody walking the streets, all kind of local foods, drinks, live music, and the fishing tournament right in the middle of it, it makes for a spectacular vacation
The catch and release has been a great thing. Now by making this move to full catch and release and being a member of the IGFA and the Billfish Foundation we’re now internationally known and we’re working with a lot of people to conserve and preserve the species that we’re enjoying so much every year.
It’s just part of a global movement, you know, towards preserving the Billfish species. It’s incredible how well it’s worked for us. We’ve gone from catching a couple of Marlins on the tournament to releasing 20 odd in two days of fishing.
I think it’s a direct effect of enforcing the catch and release and our friends in the neighborhood and the region have also enforced it and they’ve seen great results as well.
The Roatan International Fishing Tournament has just moved up in the world, we’re a destination for the IGFA, International Game Fish Association, we’re also members of the Billfish Foundation which has finally started a program here. Where we’re catching Marlins, tagging them and releasing them for data, later on, to find out their migratory tracks. In the last few years, we found Roatan is a breeding ground, a nesting area for Marlin especially
So we’ve been learning a lot, improving a lot and trying to get many, many more experienced fishermen that have the love and the passion for the sport that we do.
How do you get here? It’s a lot easier getting here now than it was before.
Well getting here is actually quite easy, We have DELTA and United Airlines that fly weekly from the US to Roatan.
So getting here from the US is pretty much just a 2 hour and a half flight and you’re here, 20 minutes and you’re to the beach from the airport,
West Bay Beach, geographically is one of the nicest, naturally made beaches that you can find in the Caribbean. Because of its geographical position on the island, it’s at the western tip of the island, which is protected from most of the wind and waves.
You know it’s breathtaking because you get to party alongside the green crystal ocean.
You get little shops here and there, there’re bars everywhere, some restaurants and people are out, they’re walking around, you know and everyone is just happy to be there.
Well, Roatan has a vast amount of accommodations, you can go from renting a hammock on the beach to renting a 10 bedroom home for several thousand dollars a week. We have condos, we have cabins, hotels, rental cars, transportation, taxis, buses, all of that is at your fingertips and very accessible to everybody.
There is not a lot of people who have actually heard of Roatan, you know, we’ve just been become more known now in the past years due to the cruise ship’s coming in. You get more people actually coming here and they’re seeing it and they’re realizing, you know how untouched the island is so far. I mean, you have people that didn’t even know we existed.
I would say Roatan is one of the last frontiers that you have in the Caribbean, that you can find a lot of local heritage, a lot of local influence from past civilizations and it gives you a very cultural feel when you go from community to community in the island and it’s not just tourism.
We’re still a virgin island. We haven’t been discovered by everyone in the world. And even though the exposure every day is bigger and we’re out there more and more each time, I think now is the time to come in and really see what Roatan is, cause it will keep growing, but now is the time to catch it and enjoy all its nature at its best.
To learn more about Roatan Fishing Tournament watch the video by clicking here