Preparation paid off for paid off for 17-year-old St. Thomas angler, Lawrence Aubain, Jr. When the official weigh-in was complete at the 29th Bastille Day Kingfish Tournament, held July 16 at Hull Bay Hideaway, it was Aubain who reeled in the Largest Kingfish, a 26.05-pounder, aboard the 31-foot Bertram, About Time. Aubain was one of 175 anglers, including 30 junior anglers, on 59 boats who fished in this Northside Sportfishing Club-hosted tournament named one of the Top Ten Best Ways to Celebrate Bastille Day in the World by online travel advisor, Hotwire.com.
“We left out of Frenchtown and headed south,” says Julian Aubain, Lawrence’s father. “He hooked up the big one mid-morning. You never know what you’ll catch. That’s how it is.”
Aubain’s Largest Kingfish earned him $2000 in cash, plus many other prizes.
He also earned Best Junior Male Angler with the catch of three fish that collectively weighed 36.05-pounds.
The Second Largest Kingfish prize went to John Clark, aboard Emanuel, who caught a 22.9-pounder. Clark also landed Best Male Angler.
Lance Bryan, fishing aboard Elowyn, reeled in a 22.70-pounder to win Third Largest Kingfish, while it was Jeff Conkin who caught the Fourth Largest Kingfish, an 18.80-pounder aboard Gone Ketchin, from St. Croix.
The catch of 4 kingfish earned Capt. Hollis Roberts, aboard Hooter Scooter, the Best Captain award.
Meanwhile, catching 6 fish total of the tournament’s eligible species, won Capt. Chris Bryan driving Feel Good I the Best Boat award.
The Best Female prize went to Anne Tagini, who caught a total of 5 or 43.25-pounds of fish, aboard Feel Good I.
Isabelle Gatcliffe took home Best Junior Female with her catch of 22.40-pounds of fish aboard Double Header.
Although the tournament is focused around kingfish, other species earned anglers cash and prizes. Paul de Lyrot caught the Largest Barracuda, at 29.10-pounds, off the Feel Good I. Two anglers, Anne Tagini aboard Feel Good I and Isabelle Gatcliffe on Double Header tied for Largest Bonito, both weighing in a 3.45-pound fish. Lastly, Francois Brin on Silver Fox boated the Largest Mackerel weighing in at 5.25-pounds.
In addition to cash, prizes and trophies, winners also received a variety of luxury gifts generously donated by tournament sponsors and the island’s business community.
Over $13,000 was awarded in cash and prizes this year.
Adult and junior anglers who didn’t earn a prize still had a chance to win in the ‘Lucky-Unlucky’ and the ‘Catch in the Hat’ drawings.
Judges Herman Richardson and Kevin Laplace, Sr., officially weighed in the catches.
After weigh-in, the fun continued onshore at Hull Bay Hideaway. Cool Session Brass entertained throughout the afternoon. Later, crowds gathered inside Hull Bay Hideaway for the Awards Ceremony at 8 p.m., where the Dem Fellas band entertained.
The 29th Bastille Day Kingfish Tournament is sponsored by Coors Light and Captain Morgan, distributed by Bellows International; Offshore Marine, the Yamaha distributor in the Virgin Islands; NEMWIL, managed in the USVI by Red Hook Agencies, Inc., providing homeowners and business insurance in the USVI for over 20 years; TOPA Insurance Services Inc., Budget Marine, the Caribbean’s leading chandlery; Caribbean Gifts & Things; and Scoops & Brew, Gelato and Coffee Bar.
First organized by the Northside Sportfishing Club in 1987, the tournament has become one of the highlights of French Heritage celebrations on St. Thomas. The event benefits the Joseph Sibilly School, St. Thomas Rescue, Civil Air Patrol and Nana Baby Children’s Home, as well as provides college scholarships. Over the past nearly three decades, the nonprofit Northside Sportfishing Club by way of its annual Bastille Day Kingfish Tournament has donated over $189,000 to community organizations. For information, Email [email protected] or call (340) 998-0854. Follow us on Facebook!