Antigua & Barbuda Sport Fishing Tournament

Team Incognito, winners of the Mikie Pigott Jr. Memorial Classic
Team Incognito, winners of the Mikie Pigott Jr. Memorial Classic

Good vibes and great skills led the team aboard Incognito to win the Mikie Pigott Jr. Memorial Classic, hosted out of Nelson’s Dockyard on June 2nd. However, when it came to the team defending its top boat title in the marlin division at the 51st Antigua & Barbuda Sport Fishing Tournament, which followed back-to-back on June 3th and 4th, the St. Martin, FWI-based sports fishermen settled for second place to Tahla’o from St. Barths. Still, as Incognito angler Dimitri Asselin explained, it’s hard to be too disappointed when catching and releasing a total of six blue marlin in three days of fishing.

“We released three blue marlin to win the Piggott classic,” says Asselin. “Then, we released three blue marlin in the two-day tournament. Since we caught our third fish after Tahla’o, we took second in the marlin division. Our success in both tournaments came from luck and from sending good vibes to the blue marlin to make them come to us.”

Meanwhile it was Team Ginger, from Guadeloupe, that earned Top Boat in the Sporting division of the Antigua & Barbuda Sport Fishing Tournament for highest total weight. This was thanks to a 158.3lb tuna that earned Team Ginger angler Rudy Erivan the Largest Fish for an Adult Male and Largest Tuna prizes, and from angler Chriss Dethiere 38.9lb dolphin (mahi-mahi), the largest dolphin of the tournament.

“The first day of fishing in the two-day tournament was very calm for us, except catching the big dorado (mahi-mahi). Then the second day is when Rudy had a fight and caught the big tuna that gave us our award,” says Team Ginger’s Capt. Lelou Laurent.

Team Grewsome from Antigua with Capt. Kevin Geiger at the helm won Top Team for boats under 25ft in the Sporting Division of the two-day event.

Marlin Division winners, Tahla’o from St. Barth, in the Antigua & Barbuda Sport Fishing Tournament. Famed marine artist Carey Chen (far left) and Dan Jacobs of the Offshore World Championships (far right). As top boat in the marlin division, Tahla’o received an invitation to the 2018 Offshore World Championship, fished next April in Costa Rica. Photo: Antigua & Barbuda Sport Fishing ClubBlue

“Sargassum weed was everywhere and our arms were sore from reeling in mostly salad the first day,” says Geiger. “We did get three dolphin and I couldn’t believe we were in second place after the first day, behind by 22lb. Evan (Campbell) caught a 23lb dolphin the second day to win us the trophy.”

In one of the angler awards, it was the Dominican Republic’s Gregory Asiodu aboard the Antigua-based charter vessel, Double Header, who released three blue marlin during the Antigua & Barbuda Sport Fishing Tournament to win the Top Angler in the Marlin Division.

“We went to the South Bank and caught the first marlin at the west end of the bank about 10am, and the second and third one close by. None of them offered a spectacular display of jumping or tail walking and Mr. Asiodu, being a very experienced angler, had no problem bringing them to the boat for tagging,” explains Capt. Derek Biel.

In total, 17 boats and 92 anglers caught 11 blue marlin and released ten in the Mikie Pigott Jr. Memorial Classic. In the Antigua & Barbuda Fishing Tournament, 47 boats with 239 anglers from Antigua, St. Kitts, Guadeloupe, St. Martin, St. Barths, Barbados, Martinique the USA and Germany, released 31 blue marlin and caught 31 dolphin, 27 wahoo, six tuna and two kingfish.

“This year’s tournaments were among our most successful in the last nearly two decades,” says organizer Robert Hall. “We put a great deal of effort into marketing the tournament and put up a grand prize of US $100,000 if a team could break our current blue marlin tournament record of 771.25lb. One team came very close, but fell short with a fish weighing in at 735lb. Overall, the comradery amongst the anglers and the competitiveness on the water make this tournament what it is.”

For full results, visit: and www.antiguabarbudasports

Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.