Nearly 200 junior anglers, from toddlers to teens, took to the docks at the American Yacht Harbor Marina in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, for the 16th annual Innovative Wireless Handline Tournament. Some had fishing experience, others none, but everyone—including the parents and organizers—had fun.
“The thing just jumped and I grabbed the line,” said eight-year-old Kadeem Moses, who caught a barracuda weighing just over four ounces. Ten-year-old Catherine Phelan caught two fish and sported a big smile as she walked up to the weigh station. “I like fishing because it’s fun,” Phelan said.
Corey Cogan, a 12-year-old who tried his best to catch a fish, got skunked. “I like to fish because I like to eat fish,” said Cogan, who enjoyed just as much the free pizza given out to all participants for lunch.
Thirteen-year-old Deshori Smalls and seven-year-old Emari Howe, went fishless too. “We almost caught some,” said mom, Vanessa Vanterpool, who enjoyed the time to bond with her daughters.
Fun, an opportunity for families to do something together, and an activity that teaches a life skill are hallmarks of the kid’s tournament, says Matt Holmes, executive director of the Virgin Islands chapter of the Boy Scouts of America. “We even signed a few kids up for scouting today,” Holmes said, about the August 6th event.
Innovative representative, Janette Millin Young, worked hard, but was having a good time at the event, too. “We have a commitment to this event and will do it as long as we can.”
A first time youth fishing tournament is something that Shinah Simons is planning to organize in his home island of Bermuda. Simons is Holmes’ Boy Scout counterpart in Bermuda. His island, with the Bahamas and U.S. Virgin Islands, is one of the three destinations represented in the Bermuda Triangle Series, a trio of events innovated by Jimmy Loveland, the director of the USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament (ABMT).
The Innovative Wireless Handline Tournament is an event always held in conjunction with the USVI Open/ABMT, also known as the Boy Scout Tournament.
RESULTS – INNOVATIVE WIRELESS HANDLINE TOURNAMENT
Most Fish – Under 10 years of Age
1. Antonio Gooding, 10
2. Scott Anderson, 7
3. Rylee Stoss, 6
3. Dyami Isles, 6
Most Fish – Over 10 years of Age
1. Nicole Anderson, 11
2. Steve Hunt, 8
3. Rachael Anderson, 6
Heaviest Fish – Under 10 years of Age
1. Jeriel Chung
2. Nathan Meersman
3. Alex Seiler
Heaviest Fish – Over 10 years of Age
1. Glenville Ross, Jr.
2. Jovani Ashtion
3. Randon Bryan