Forty-two-plus boats are revving up to fish the 38thÂ annual USVI Open Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament’s (ABMT), also known as the ‘Boy Scout Tournament’ for the organization the event benefits. Fishing will take place August 21, 22, 23 and 25, out of American Yacht Harbor on St. Thomas.
The docks are filling up with a veritable ‘Who’s Who’ of sports fishermen ready to compete in this ‘Super Bowl of Sports Fishing’. There’sÂ Click Through, which just won the Bermuda Triple Crown in July. Bermuda Triangle Series teams are here aboard vessels such asÂ FreedomÂ and the brand newÂ Uno Mas, as are Spanish Main Series contenders likeÂ Big OH, which just won the July Open Billfish Tournament, as well asÂ Done Deal,Â Fa-La-Me,Â PejeÂ andÂ Gulf Rascal.
“We want to welcome our first time visitors from the Gulf,” says tournament director, Jimmy Loveland. “Some of these boats includeÂ Reel Worthless,Â Reel Addiction,Â CZ-Girl,Â Done DealÂ andÂ Sea Angel. Once they get a taste of fishing in the Virgin Islands, we hope they’ll come back.”
There will even be some hot action in the Junior Angler category. Thirteen-year-old Tristan Lambert is registered to fish aboardÂ Reel Tight.
Anglers, captains and crews will set their sights on catching and releasing the most blue marlin first.
For the first time, viewers can get in on the fun from anywhere in the world by entering the boat pool on line for the chance to win prizes. Visit:www.abmt.vi/pages/boatpool.htmÂ to learn more.
“The fish are starting to line up on the North Drop blue marlin highway,” says Loveland.
Last year, a 34-boat fleet released a total of 159 blue marlin over four days of fishing.
Final registration will take place on Thursday August 19. The cut-off is at 4 p.m. and the number to call is (340) 714-4368.
The tournament Kick-Off Party, which will be held on Friday August 20 at 6:30 p.m. at the Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club in Red Hook, will be the place where Pat Rybovich will debut and offer for sale her exquisite coffee table book, Rybovich. This four-year labor of love, which contains in-depth research and many photos, chronicles Rybovich’s family’s classic boat building in celebration of the company’s 90thÂ anniversary. The book will be available for sale throughout the tournament at events such as the Full Moon Party at the Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas and at the Awards Ceremony.
On Saturday August 21, the first day of fishing will kick-off with the Blessing of the Fleet by Capt. Mike Latham, singing of the Star-Spangled Banner by Janet Reiter, and Boy Scout’s Color Guard’s Flag Raising Ceremony starting at 6:30 a.m., followed by lines in at 8:30 a.m.
The angling action continues Sunday, Monday and Wednesday – three days before and a day after the month’s full moon.
The public can catch the spirit of sport fishing by ‘doing the docks’ or watching the big rigs come in around 6:30 p.m. and counting the number of marlin release flags flying from the outriggers.Â The more flags, the more marlin the boat released. Blue signals the catch was a blue marlin, while white flags denote a white marlin. Commemorative tournament T-shirts will be on sale each night of the event and there will be a cash bar and other festivities on the docks.
On Monday, enjoy Cheese Burgers in Paradise. The Boy Scouts invite visitors and locals alike to their cookout at Camp Wahoo, located by the tournament tent at the American Yacht Harbor Marina. The Caribbean Night Show starts at 8 p.m.
The ABMT’s final fishing action on Wednesday ends with the sport fishing fleet’s swift Jim Smith ‘Race from the Edge’ at 4:30 p.m. The best place to watch this often photo finish is from the spit of land past the pool at the Sapphire Beach Resort. The Awards Ceremony takes place later in the evening along with the naming of the 2010 USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Top Angler, who pockets a $10,000 cash prize.
Started by Chuck Senf back in 1972 – and nicknamed The Boy Scout Tournament since a portion of the proceeds have always benefited the VI Council of the Boy Scouts of America, one of Senf’s favorite charities – the ABMT has evolved into the competitive saltwater sports fishing events in the world. It’s one of legs of the prestigious Bermuda Triangle Series and Spanish Main Series. This year, Senf’s grandson, Blain Tomlinson, is traveling from California to present his grandfather’s famous fishing jacket, a true piece of Virgin Islands fishing history, at the Awards Ceremony.
The ABMT is fished under International Game Fishing Association (IGFA) rules, and is overseen by a professional Board of Captains and well-qualified observers.
The tournament benefits the Virgin Islands Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
For more information, call: 1-888-2-FISHVI (1-888-234-7484), or 340-775-9500, or Fax: 340-779-8605, or visitÂ www.abmt.vi