Fishing over the weekend of the 27th to 31st May for this year’s The Fishing Event proved disappointing due to unfavourable currents and the murky green of the water. The strikes were down drastically from last year because of poor underwater visibility, but everyone involved had a great time nonetheless and the competition was fierce.
The Fishing Event was held at Port de Plaisance again this year, as it was two years ago. The organisers decided to use the French bridge rather than the expensive Dutch bridge, making the trip to and from the Marlin Boulevard longer, but still cost effective.
Gulf Rascal, a Hatteras 68 out of St. Thomas, won the event and landed the big prize of $35,000, plus they qualify to enter the IGFA Offshore World Championships in Cabo San Lucas in May next year. Despite the difficulty of visibility and despite being struck by lightening during a squall on the first day, the crew of Gulf Rascal managed to catch and release two marlin over 400lbs within 42 minutes of each other, which put them ahead right at the beginning.
Rod Windley, the owner of Gulf Rascal, described how ball lightening hit close enough to the boat for them to feel the electricity and how the second strike hit one of the antennae while they were in the middle of fighting one of the two marlins that they hooked up on the first day. The lightening strike knocked out both engines, most of the electronics and the engine monitors. The crew managed to get the engines back up and running and enough of the electronics to carry on with so that they could finish the day’s fishing and get back to port safely.
Black Pearl with the Cartier crew from St. Barths and the winners of The Fishing Event two years ago, tied with Gulf Rascal on points at the end of the first day and came in second at the end of the tournament with a prize of $15,000.
Princess from Port de Plaisance very nearly won the competition when they landed a 427lb Blue Marlin on Friday and hooked a large marlin on Sunday, their only hook up for that day, only to lose it putting them in third place with a prize of $10,000.
Tini Tinitali’s Oli-T from St. Maarten came in fourth, with Limited Edition from Martinique bringing up a last day fifth place when they released the only marlin hooked up and verified on Sunday by Barbara Prot, one of two women anglers in the competition. Limited Edition took the $5,000 prize for best boat of the day and Barbara Prot, Vice-President of the Big Game Fishing Club in France, took the Best Female Angler Award.
The big marlin eluded Ruth Liney from Rum ‘n Coke out of Antigua this year, but she says that she will be back.
Dates of the Fishing Event 2010 are between May 27 and June 6. .
Kerry Biddle-Chadwick is a freelance writer who has been writing for magazines in the Caribbean and online newspapers since 2006.