Walker’s Cay may be a small island in the northern Bahamas that until recently had been ravaged by hurricanes and essentially abandoned. But Walker’s reputation for world-class fishing and hosting iconic fishing tournaments is legendary. And now that Walker’s Cay owners Carl and Gigi Allen have reopened the island’s brand new state-of-the-art marina to a selection of anglers who competed in the second annual Walker’s Cay Invitational Blue Marlin Fishing Tournament, Walker’s legend Cay is getting bigger and better than ever.
At the start of this year’s event, Carl Allen said: “To see the marina full of boats like before. And seeing the smiles on the faces of people who love Walker as much as I do is incredibly special. In fact, the new marina can accommodate many superyachts up to 200 feet in length as well as many more sport fishing and center console boats than the previous marina.
Allen set the bar high for this year’s tournament because last year’s event drew big names like top-ranked golfer Dustin Johnson (who competed aboard his custom-built Just Chillin), winners of the tournament (who fished aboard the Bayliss 77 Wavepaver) and Walker’s own famed angler Billy Black who finished in silver in the largest blue marlin class (aboard his famous Dutchess).
However, when it comes to celebrity power at this year’s event, it’s pretty hard to top the owner of the distinctive Viking 80. catch 23-Michael Jordan. He kept a low profile but he also knew his fellow anglers wouldn’t mind. too a lot because they like to get away and just fish as much as him. And, best of all, Jordan’s team on board catch 23 won the trophy for the best junior angler who caught and released several white marlins.
But as any lucky crew who fished at this year’s Walker’s Cay Invitational will tell you, the fishing (74 billfish: 29 blue marlin, 29 white marlin and 16 sailfish were caught and released!) was the real star of the show. . And the atmosphere at the end-of-tournament awards dinner (which took place in an air-conditioned tent built specifically for the event) reflected the gratitude and joy felt by the tight-knit community of anglers who love Walker’s Cay. as much as the Allens.
Of course, the crowd was eager to learn that the crew on board Insistent reel won the first prize of the tournament. The Cazador came in second and Big Stick came in third. But after three days of tight competition, the prize for best angler was still up for grabs.
After catching and releasing a blue marlin estimated to weigh around 300 pounds during the second day of the event, Dawn Samuels helped her team aboard the sport fish Viking. Princess Lily climb the general ranking and participate in the hunt for the trophy of the best fisherwoman.
“I love to fish,” she said after the adrenaline of her first blue marlin catch and release (and the boat’s second tournament blue) wore off. “We run about six tournaments a year, but I would do one every weekend if I could.”
Recently, the Florida native has competed in tournaments in Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic, but this is her first trip to Walker.
“I love being part of the women’s angling competition,” she said, “but I don’t like watching the leaderboard.”
And that’s probably a good thing because shortly after his catch and release was called out on the radio, Nicole Scotti on board Triple-S also reported catching and releasing a blue marlin.
Shelley Smith of the Triple-SSarah Ricks on board The CazadorWhitney Thomas on board Mine Time II, and Sarah Rieger, 13 years old. However, female fishing legend Michelle Keeney on board Marlin Darlin held a pretty solid lead going into day three.
But, on the final day, Nicole Scotti (last year’s tournament top angler) edged out Keeney to win the top angler award this year as well.
And things were just getting started after the winners were announced. Like everything else in this year’s tournament, the awards dinner was both special and spectacular.
It was special because this year’s awards dinner gave attendees a chance to celebrate the winners, as well as reflect on how cool it was to experience the rebirth of Walker’s Cay for themselves.
But the night turned ‘spectacular’ shortly after Carl Allen took the stage to give a glimpse of his other passion (besides fishing and rebuilding an iconic Bahamian island) – in search of important historical artifacts that have been buried in the sand of the Bank of the Bahamas. Even better, he shared information about some of the artifacts he and his team also found.
But the night turned ‘spectacular’ shortly after Carl Allen took the stage to give a glimpse of his other passion (besides fishing and rebuilding an iconic Bahamian island) – in search of important historical artifacts that have been buried in the sand of the Bank of the Bahamas. Even better, he shared information about a museum he and his team will open in Freeport to display some of the artifacts he and his team also found.
What if being able to find out more about some of the artifacts Allen and his team found around Walker wasn’t enough. The party really took off when a 30-person Junkanoo band, complete with horns, drums, dancers and incredible costumes, had people dancing all around the well-equipped tournament tent.
The only question is, since this year, Walker Cay has been such a hit. What could Allen and his team do to make next year’s tournament even better?
I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.