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Wahoo Windup Best Boat: Abigail III (from left) Paul Meyer (Tournament Director), Capt. Red Bailey, Dr. David Weisher, Mike Landgraf, Ariel Donovan and Kathy Kurtz. In front, Mathew Meyer. Photo: Dean Barnes
Wahoo Windup Best Boat: Abigail III (from left) Paul Meyer (Tournament Director), Capt. Red Bailey, Dr. David Weisher, Mike Landgraf, Ariel Donovan and Kathy Kurtz. In front, Mathew Meyer. Photo: Dean Barnes

Lady Anglers Rule in USVI Wahoo Tournaments

Women rule when it comes to wahoo fishing! Saint Thomas’ April Newland reeled in a 41.14-pounder in the Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club’s Wahoo Wind-Up sponsored by Budget Marine and held November 17, while St. Croix’s Jackie Goodyear caught a 41.8lb wahoo in the Golden Hook Fishing Club’s Wahoo Tournament, fished November 23. Both women took home the Largest Wahoo prizes at each event.

Newland, who fished aboard the Custom 44ft Abigail III and caught her whopper wahoo on stand-up gear, explains, “We had already caught ten barracuda when the rod went down strong. It was a fighter. It took me about 15 to 20 minutes to reel it in.”

Newland’s catch was some 34lb short of earning the $10,000 prize offered in this tournament for a wahoo over 75lb. However, her wahoo was one of a double-header hook-up with fellow angler Mike Landgraf. Landgraf reeled in his 24.75-pounder, the second largest of the tournament, just after Newland and earned Capt. Red Bailey’s Abigail III the Best Boat prize.

Newland’s husband, Byron, provided the luck by suggesting the Abigail III fish off the south side of St. Thomas due to heavy seas rolling in to the north.

“I first suggested we go north, but then followed Byron suggestion due to the weather,” says Capt. Bailey. “But I’ll tell you, that 100lb wahoo is still out there in the north!”

Two anglers have pocketed the $10,000 cash prize in the last ten years in this tournament. In 2012, Clive Mahabir, aboard local charter boat Mixed Bag, reeled in a whopping 91.3-pounder, while in 2003 Mike Kuszewski, fishing aboard the local charter boat Black Pearl, landed a 94.1lb wahoo, which remains the tournament record.

Meanwhile over on St. Croix, Goodyear, who was fishing aboard Turn & Burn, a Deep Impact 40, not only reeled in a big fish but brought back a great fish story as well.

Jackie Goodyear (Center), aboard Turn and Burn, boated the largest wahoo in the Golden Hook Fishing Club’s Wahoo Tournament. Photo: Alda Anduze
Jackie Goodyear (Center), aboard Turn and Burn, boated the largest wahoo in the Golden Hook Fishing Club’s Wahoo Tournament. Photo: Alda Anduze

“I was really excited that my rod started pulling line, and I was even more excited to start reeling in the fish,” Goodyear explains. “I had an awesome coach beside me (Chad Sheraw) that was instructing me to allow the fish to take line, and to reel like heck when I could. Everyone was cheering me on.”

In the background, Goodyear could hear people yelling “Watch the kill box!” However, the warning really didn’t register as she was in the fish catching zone.

“So I walked right into the kill box and fell straight on my butt,” she explains. “I heard Dave (Johnson) yell ‘keep reeling!’ Of course! I didn’t lose grip on my rod when I fell, or lose a beat. It’s like trying to save a beer when you fall in the water; you just naturally hold it up and figure it out. That is what I did in this situation. I just held the reel, fell on my butt, braced myself immediately where I was and kept reeling!”

It was a couple minutes after Goodyear had landed the wahoo when Johnson, Turn & Burn’s owner, joked “Jackie is the only animal that has ever gone into the kill box and came out alive!”

Turn & Burn finished second in the Best Boat category with 58.4lb to Living the Dream, whose anglers reeled in 67lb of wahoo. Johnson owns both boats.

For more information, visit vigfc.com and www.fishstx.com

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