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Black Gold Leads First Day of July Open Billfish Tournament with Three Blue Marlin Releases

Luck and skill combined to boost Black Gold to the top of the leaderboard
during the first day of fishing in the 48th annual July Open Billfish
Tournament (JOBT), fished out of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Harry
Sargeant, owner of the 65-foot American Custom Yacht, scored one of the
three blue marlin releases for the day, while fellow Florida-based anglers.
Matt Melchiorre and Mike McCarthy each scored one apiece.

"It was a beautiful day for fishing out on the North Drop," says Black Gold
captain, Keith Bokenhagen. "It was slow in the morning. We caught the three
blues in the space of an hour and a half between 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m."

Melchiorre released his blue first, followed by McCarthy and then Sargeant.

"No big fish stories," says Capt. Bokenhagen. "They were all relatively
small and the releases were quick, just what you want in a tournament where
numbers count."

Bokenhagen says the team saw three additional blue marlin, but none of them
came up to take the bait.

"They were just lookers," he says. "They didn't cooperate so we could catch
them."

Reel Tight, an 80-foot Merritt, is in second place with two blue marlin
releases. Both of these were caught by 14-year old Florida angler, Tristan
Lambert, which puts the teenager in the lead as top angler. Lambert won the
Top Junior angler prize in the 2010 JOBT and Reel Tight placed Top Boat in
this tournament in 2008.

The 58-foot Revenge is in third in the boat standings with the release of
one blue marlin and one white marlin. Florida-based owner and angler, Sam
Jennings, is only one of three anglers in the history of this tournament to
win Top Angler twice, in 2005 and 2006.

The talent pool in this tournament is definitely hot.

Fishing continues Wednesday with lines in at 8:30 a.m. and lines out at 5
p.m.

The JOBT concludes Thursday, July 14. Up for grabs is not only the Best Boat
award, but the prestigious Capt. Johnny Harms 'Give Him Line' Trophy for the
angler who releases the most billfish first. The Awards Ceremony will be
held at 8 p.m. at the Virgin Islands Game Fishing Clubhouse in Red Hook.

For more information, visit: www.vigfc.com

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