A trio of young sports fishermen won one of the Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club’s oldest annual events. Twenty-something-year-olds Scott and Adam Turbe and Chris Bryan, aboard the Ocean Jem, caught a total of 493.93lb of fish to win Best Boat in the Memorial Weekend tournament, held May 25 to 27. Six boats and 22 anglers braved a forecast for rough weather to fish their way east to Anegada, enjoy a lay-day on this beautiful reef-rimmed island, and fish their way back to St. Thomas the last day.
“The drop-off is just off Anegada,” explains Scott Turbe. “We fished it from one end of the curve to the other and there was action the entire time. The three of us worked interchangeably to drive the boat, reel in the fish and gaff them. We just kept filling the fish box all day long with mahi and a nice sized kingfish too.”
Turbe and his team’s secret to success lies in strategically pre-preparing their fishing equipment.
“Everyone was complaining that they had fish break off in the rough weather, but we had changed out all of our wire leaders and swivels the day before,” Turbe explains. “We didn’t miss a fish.”
The tournament was a long-time family affair for anglers aboard the second place boat Abigail III, with Capt. Red Bailey at the helm. April, husband Byron and daughter Shannon Newland, plus fellow anglers Pamela Rowland-Hill, Jody Fix and Dr. David Weisher collectively caught 276.47lb of fish. In addition, Rowland-Hill released the first billfish of the tournament and Fix the largest blue marlin released.
In other awards, junior angler Jesse Merced caught the Largest Mahi, a 33.75-pounder off Alchemist; Eddie Bryan, aboard Anger Management, reeled in the Largest Kingfish, a 33.42-pounder, and Abigail III’s Weisher landed the Largest Wahoo, weighing 33.42lb.
The Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club has a nearly four decade long history of hosting a tournament to Anegada over the U.S. Memorial Day weekend holiday.
“The people are so nice at the host Anegada Reef Hotel and BVI Customs and Immigration officers come up to clear in the boats and sometimes stay to enjoy the lobster and fresh fish dinner with us on the beach in front of the hotel,” explains April Newland, who has fished this tournament with her family for some 20 years. “It’s is a small boat tournament that brings family and friends together and transcends the pure competition of game fishing.”
Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.