Perseverance paid off for Tom Sedgwick and his anglers aboard the 29-foot Topaz, Two Fer Sure. Faithfully fishing in the same spot, just off of St. Croix's Sandy Point, for two days in a row landed the team enough fish to win the Golden Hook Fishing Club's Guy Gal Reel Challenge – even though the boat was runner-up on the Guys day of fishing and ditto on the Gals turn.
The Guys fished the first day of this two-day tournament, which claims to be the 'reel' battle of the sexes.
"The weather was really nice, especially for September," says Sedgwick. "There was a good bite early and we missed them. Then around 11am we started catching what turned out to be four wahoo in a row. There were no birds, no floaters, but we decided to stay in the same place anyway, and it paid off."
Sedgwick's 18-year-old son, TJ, caught three of the day's wahoo and fellow angler, Jim Collington, reeled in the fourth for a total weight of 73.2 pounds.
Yet, it was Bob Mackay's Leisure Lady that won Best Boat on the Guys day with four fish that bested Two Fer Sure's total weight by five pounds. And, two of Leisure Lady's anglers caught the two largest wahoo of the day; Jason Bufton reeled in a 26.4 pounder and Phillip Griffith a 25.1 pound wahoo, while TJ Sedgwick on Two Fer Sure rounded out the top three with his 24.1-pound wahoo.
The next day, it was the Gals turn to fish.
"The first thing we hooked was something that was huge," says Sedgwick. "We thought it was a billfish, but it turned out to be about a 150 pound bull shark. My wife, Denise, had hooked it up, and she battled it for about a half hour before releasing it."
The Gals on Two Fer Sure went fishless until afternoon when Pietta Kopp reeled in a wahoo, a 28.4-pounder that won the second largest fish prize of the day, and Kelly Smith caught a second wahoo, for a total weight of 48.5 pounds.
Yet again, it was another boat, Oh Suzanna, which won the Gals day with a total of two fish for 52 pounds. Anglers aboard Oh Suzanna, Jennifer Rau and Michelle Mehalick, caught the first and third largest fish for the day, 29.2 pound and 22.8 pound, respectively.
In the end though, Two Fer Sure's total of six fish for 121.7 pounds, handed the team the Best Boat Overall prize.
What's more, this win boosted Two Fer Sure into first place in the sportfish and in the overall standings in the Golden Hook Fishing Club's 2010 Series Standings.
"I've fished this tournament for the last 17 years," says Sedgwick. "It would have been nice to catch a few more fish, but it was a great weekend."
Finally, who won the 'reel' battle of the sexes? It was the Guys, with 182.5 pounds of fish, compared to the Gals with 100.5 pounds. That's three years in a row for the Guys, better luck next time Gals!
The tournament benefited St. Mary's School, St. Croix.
Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.