Two big dolphin won the day, and the Golden Hook Fishing Club's 12th Annual Dolphin Tournament, for the team aboard the 42-foot Post, Stress Buster. What's more, this duo of whoppers earned Trish Rhodes and Jack Thomas the first and second largest angler prizes, respectively. "We were really lucky to have such a great day out on the water," says Rhodes, of the February event.
Finding fish was definitely the first good fortune. Captain Mike Fennessy headed several miles north of Lange Bank in about 1500 feet of water and used his marine binoculars, a Christmas present from wife Karla, to sight birds. He headed straight for them. Ten minutes later, X-marked the spot as under the flock were a school of dolphin.
"From the bend in Trish's pole you could see hers was the larger of the fish, so I concentrated on keeping the boat lined up on that one while Jack pulled in the smaller one," Fennessy explains. "The fish were lit up in fluorescent blue, yellow and green all the way to the boat."
Rhodes, who reeled in the winning 43.3-pound dolphin, adds, "Paul Stewart, the boat owner and our mate, cleared the lines so we could dance around the cockpit and not cross up our lines as we successfully brought in the fish."
An earlier hook-up of a smaller dolphin and later a blue marlin in the spreads definitely made for an exciting day aboard Stress Buster.
Fourteen boats fished this first-of-the-season Golden Hook Fishing Club tournament. David Clark's Mako and Harold Price's Irie Feeling earned Second and Third Best Boat, respectively, each with two dolphin weighing 33.3 and 28.1 pounds. Mako's Peter Clark was Third Top Angler with an 18.5 pound dolphin.
At the awards, Club Board of Directors member Kathy MacKay was honored for her 17 years of service. Next up is the 18th Annual Golden Hook Challenge set for April 16 and 17. This is both a game fish and a billfish event. For information, visit: www.fishstx.com
Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.