It was early morning when a big fish bit the ballyhoo baited hook of St. Thomas angler, Kevin Weatherbee’s, fishing rod and dashed off half a spool of line. “It really lit up yellow before it raced away,” Weatherbee said. “We thought it was a yellowfin (tuna).”
Tuna didn’t count for prizes in the 5th annual Annual Caribbean Auto Mart Wahoo Windup, held November 7th simultaneously out of St. Thomas and St. Croix. Therefore, Weatherbee wanted to land his catch quickly and get his line back in the water. But during the forty-minute fight, and as the fish got closer, fellow anglers aboard Capt. John Vogell’s 42-foot Post, King’s Ransom, saw that the catch was indeed a wahoo. Later that afternoon, the whopper weighed in a 62.2-pounds and won Weatherbee the Top Angler cash prize.
“It wasn’t enough to win the truck, but it wins the tournament and that’s a really big thing for me,” Weatherbee said.
When the fish took the bait, it looked like a yellowfin tuna. It lit up real yellow in color before it raced away from the boat,” Weatherbee explained.
A catch of a 75-pound-plus wahoo would have won Weatherbee a 2005 Chevrolet Colorado 4-wheel drive pick-up truck compliments of sponsor Caribbean Auto Mart. It was this prize that enticed 148 anglers aboard 30 boats to set out fishing on what proved a sunny day with moderately choppy seas.
Harry Clinton, executive director of the Virgin Islands Gamefishing Club, said: “Over the last two years, we’ve had three fish that would have beat our old limit of 60 pounds to win a truck. So this year we decided to raise the weight to make it more challenging.”
Last year, St. Thomas’ Mike Kuszewski, an angler aboard the Bertram 38, Black Pearl, reeled in a whopping 94.1-pound wahoo to win the tournament and the truck.
1. Kevin Weatherbee, King’s Ransom, St. Thomas, 62.2-pounds
2. Matthew Raffia, Double Header, St. Thomas, 53.6-pounds
3. Chris Petty, Cahoona, St. Thomas, 39.6-pounds
4. Tyler Maltby, Double Header, St. Thomas, 37.0-pounds
5. Matthew Raffia, Double Header, St. Thomas, 33.0-pounds
6. Rick Rounds, Double Vision, St. Croix, 31.6-pounds
7. Marc Mosca, Seabee, St. Thomas, 31.0-pounds
8. Randy Duncan, Lisa Ann, St. Croix 30.9-pounds
9. Andy Anderson, Leisure Lady, St. Croix, 28.6-pounds
10. Matthew Raffia, Double Header, St. Thomas, 27.9-pounds