In the 1960′s tournament fishing was virtually unheard of in the Caribbean. A man named Jim Needham, the owner of the Flamboyant Hotel. Jim fell in love with the coastline of Grenada, and in his little 14 foot open boat “Mambo” and raised and caught dozens and dozens of Billfish. In 1964 he met my father, Martin Mathias and together with Louis Rostant they dreamed up the Spice Island Billfish Tournament. The tournament took off, and his still held to this day, celebrating its 40th anniversary in early 2009.
- “He just had to share this love with someone and so in 1964, he called his friend Louis Rostant (Trinidad) and they met in Grenada with Martin Mathias, owner of a beautiful sports fishing vessel named “Bahari”, to formulate and stage the first ever Grenada Fishing Tournament.
Sadly, no records have been available but we do know that less than 10 boats (Grenada & Trinidad) participated in what was essentially a gentleman’s tournament. No formal rules were in effect at the time.”
Flash forward to the seventies. Short shorts, aviator glasses, bikinis and mustaches were all the rage. I wasn’t even born yet, but my soon to be parents were living the good life down in the Caribbean. My dad was was charter boat captain, specializing in catching big game such as tuna, sailfish and marlin around the island of Grenada.
The year was 1976. A woman by the name of Sue Gallibrand stepped aboard the mighty Bahari a mere mortal, and stepped off a legend, setting the womens world record for yellowfin tuna at 138 lbs (62.5 kg) using 20 lb test.
While the record has not stood the test of time, I’m certain the story will live forever.