Wahoo was the word on the dock Sunday as over eighty anglers aboard 22 boats weighed in 40 wahoo in the Budget Rent-A-Car Wahoo Windup Tournament, hosted by the Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club. In the end, St. Thomas’ Lawrence Aubain caught the Largest Wahoo, a 57.5-pounder, from aboard the 32-foot center console Mixed Bag 2, with captain Hugo Prada at the helm.
“We got some bites early but missed them. It was after that we caught the 35-pounder up on the Lange Bank off St. Croix,” says Prada, recapping the successful day of fishing including the first wahoo caught by Aubain. “Then we decided to run back over to St. Thomas and do some high-speed trolling with lures. It was about 10:30 a.m., on the South Drop, nothing happening one minute and the next the 57-pounder hook up and started running out a lot of line. It took about 30 minutes to get to the boat. After that, we caught a couple of mahi, but no other wahoo.”
Prada attributed the tournament win to the calm weather and flat seas, which gave him a good opportunity to perfect and re-set the baits.
Aubain’s catch was only 17.5-pounds shy of the $25,000 prize offered for the tournament angler who caught the largest wahoo over 75-pounds.
Meanwhile, St. Thomas’ Rob Barringer, angling off the Double Header II, caught the
Second Largest Wahoo, a 42-pounder.
Rounding out the top three, St. Thomas’ Jacob Jameson on Doubleheader III, landed the Third Largest Wahoo, a 39.5-pounder The Best Boat prize went to Miss Lucy, a 39-foot SeaVee driven by Captain Chris Berry. Anglers Mark Stiehler, Sommer Berry, Christine McAllister, Ramius Stiehler, Jasmine Miller, and Asher Fox collectively caught 164-pounds of wahoo.
“This is my second tournament and I really enjoy fishing. My father and grandfather fished, so it’s something that’s a part of my family,” says Sommer Berry.
The 22-boat tournament fleet with 84 anglers landed a total of 40 wahoo weighing in at 1,127 pounds.
Teams from all three U.S. Virgin Islands participated in the Budget Rent-A-Car Wahoo Windup Tournament.
“We like to participate in the local tournaments and usually get lucky. Today, we caught three wahoo that totaled over 80 pounds. Not bad for a day’s fishing,” says Edgar Bengoa, owner and captain aboard the 38 Luhrs, Golden Eagle, from St. Croix.
Fresh off a win in the Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club’s Dolphin Derby Tournament in April, captain Joshua Bourg at the helm of the St. John-based, Just Fish, and his anglers tested the waters for wahoo.
“The fishing seemed slow at first, but it’s great to see so many wahoo come to the scales,” says Bourg.
Cash prizes totaling over $7,000, trophies, and gift certificates were awarded to the winners.
“It was wonderful to have this level of participation from the Virgin Islands sports fishing community, especially representation from all three major islands. The enthusiasm of our Sponsors, contributors, and supporters really made this event truly something special,” says Kelvin Bailey, Jr., president of the Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club’s Board of Directors.
The Budget Rent-A-Car Wahoo Windup Tournament was held in memory of Michael Sheen. Sheen, who passed away in July, was a 50-plus year member of the St. Thomas community, past president of the Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club’s Board of Directors several times, and a true champion of the Club.
The Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club appreciates the sponsorship support from
Budget Rent-A-Car, the West Indies Company, IGY’s American Yacht Harbor, Neptune Fishing Supplies, Island Time Pub, Lattes in Paradise, and the St. Thomas Yacht Club.
For more information, call (340) 775-9144, Email: [email protected], or Visit: www.vigfc.com