Finding the fish proved a winning tactic for the Top Boat team aboard the Reelin & Dealing in the 37th Marlin Madness tournament, held April 4 to 8, out of Pigeon Point, Tobago. Captain Adrian de Silva at the helm of the 43ft Viking Express, got the bites while the anglers from Barbados and Trinidad, including Reelin & Dealing owner, Shane Ferreira, successfully fought the fish.
“Captain and crew worked as a team, which is the most important factor,” says Captain Gerald ‘Frothy’ de Silva, whose 22-year-old son, Adrian, had discovered the fish were close to shore between Castara and Plymouth prior to the tournament when running his parents charter fishing boat, Hard Play II. “Reelin & Dealing’s anglers were dialed in and for the most part they were on point when the fish showed up in the spread, catching eight of the 13 billfish raised.”
In total, the Reelin & Dealing team collectively caught and released eight sailfish, plus boated five mahi-mahi, three yellowfin tuna and two wahoo.
This was the second consecutive win for Captain Adrian de Silva, who also helmed Hard Play II to Top Boat in the Spice Island International Billfish Tournament in January.
Meanwhile, it was skill, luck and a little help from above that led to New York, USA’s Andy Ramnanan earning Top Angler, while fishing with Captain Kester Herbert’s Tobago-based Grand Slam Fishing Charters.
“The second day was our best, when we boated eight yellowfin tuna and released a blue marlin in an area called the ‘corner pocket’. After that first marlin, I looked up to the sky and said, ‘thank you, Shabby’. Our teammate of many years, Chabbilal ‘Shabby’ Ramnanan, who I consider my father figure, passed away in December, so we fished this year in his memory”, says Ramnanan, who fished aboard a 32ft pirogue Herbert procured after engine trouble on his own boat, which the team renamed the Knot 2 Shabby for the tournament.
Ramnanan released a total of two blue marlin, one with just hours to go before lines out on the third and final day of fishing, and caught one mahi-mahi and five yellowfin tuna to earn his Top Angler prize.
In other awards, Blue Fever and Brave Heart finished second and third overall, respectively. Best Foreign Boat was Black Child II from Grenada. Tachelle Mohammed scored Best Female Angler, while Isaiah Aleong was Best Junior Angler and Dillon Galt made the Most Released Billfish. Heaviest fish awards went to Keegan Williams for wahoo (24.45lb), Adrian Sabga for mahi-mahi (30.85lb) and Godfrey Thomas for yellowfin tuna (50.3lb).
Eighteen boats with 89 anglers fished in this Trinidad & Tobago Game Fishing Association-hosted tournament. A total of 34 billfish, including nine blue marlin and 25 sailfish, were released by the fleet. www.ttgfa.com
Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.