Fishing for Competence

Right, there's nothing at all notable about Miamians going fishing in April. By the boatloads, sure. In fact the legislature is languaging legislation that will make it mandatory for all South Floridians to get out on the water at least ten times each spring. But this is fishing on another scale, fishing that will draw thousands of onlookers -- yes, onlookers, plus TV news crews and radio journalists and whatever you call the people who write stuff for dot-coms -- to the Miami Beach Marina (300 Alton Rd., Miami Beach) for four days of bait drowning by some of the best in the -- well, fishing can be a business (in this case some $175,000 in cash awards), but compared to lathe-and-plaster gigs, it hardly seems like work.

Not to throw water on the angling angle of the Miami Billfish Tournament (or to club this thing senseless with bad puns), but there are many lures beyond the actual fisherpeople and what they catch. Each day there will be a free festival and numerous dock parties (yes, there's wordplay in "dock," but enough is enough). About 100 boats carrying various Ahabs, Shehabs, and even junior öhabs (each of whom has paid a $260 fee) will ply the local waters for magnificent billfish, all of which, naturally, must be released: This is, after all, a benefit for marine conservation. There will also be competitions for wahoo, tuna, dolphin, kingfish. (Yeah, something about a big-money "net" thanks to corporate sponsors.) Actually, though, newspapers always name the Insert Corporate Sponsor Bowl when college kids play football during the holiday season, so why not give props and call this thing by its real name. It's the Yamaha Contender Miami Billfish Tournament presented by Berkley, thanks.

There will be plenty for those who aren't hookers to divert themselves with between the launch party Thursday, April 7, and the live and silent auctions Sunday. Music will be played, food will be eaten, way too many tropical cocktails will be consumed. There will be raffles for prizes such as a 25-foot boat with all the trimmings, which, should you win, will make planning next April's activities real easy. Also, Friday (from 1:00 to 9:00 p.m.) and Saturday and Sunday (noon to 9:00) a Beachwalk Festival will include an outdoor market and artists at work.

The Beachwalk is a fun event in itself, but it's not in itself -- it has a major-league fishing tournament concurrent to it. The beginning of this punfest was a bit parochial: Many of the entrants come from places far from our sandy shores. The YCMBT, a terrible acronym to be sure, is a qualifying event for two of the biggest fishing competitions in the world, which we don't have space to mention here because of all the chummy puns, but trust us, they're reel-ly big deals. Right, right. You're up to your gills with the stupid wordplays. But this is one hell of a party for a damn (see, no "dam" goof!) important cause. Okay. Enough with the gags. Fin.

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Greg Baker