The weather didn’t cooperate but the fish sure did at the 11th Best in the West Fishing Tournament, held out of Jolly Harbor Marina, November 8th. The thirteen boats and 50 anglers that braved the rains and dense floating stands of seaweed in the aftermath of tropical storm Gonzalo some 26 days before were rewarded by collectively catching a total of 418lb of fish. The big winner, however, was Dr. Jason Belizaire whose team aboard his 25ft Boston Whaler Outrage, Pazit 2, picked up the most prizes: Champion Boat Overall with 164.56lb of fish and Champion Boat Under 25ft, and 12-year-old angler Justin Marcano earned Youth Champion.
“It was a miserable day. The weather was horrible and the seaweed was horrible. Yet the worse the weather became the more fish we caught,” explains Belizaire.
The Pazit 2 team headed to the northwest of Antigua—known for its wahoo bite this time of year—and opted for high-speed trolling in an effort to prevent excessive weed fouling their lines. The technique worked. They caught five wahoo throughout the day, each weighing in at between 25 and 39lb, which was enough to earn the team its awards.
“I owe our win to good crew work,” says Belizaire. “It’s a fun tournament, but it’s still serious.”
In other awards, Glen and Jane Irish on Vitamin B won the Men’s and Lady’s Champion prizes, respectively; the Nicole A earned Champion Boat over 25ft; and nine-year-old Cameron D’Ornellas on KSea was the youngest participant to catch a fish.
“What makes this tournament special is that it’s a low-key, family-orientated, single-day event where the focus is on encouraging youngsters, both boys and girls, to learn the various techniques of fishing rather than concentrating on landing the largest fish of the day,” explains organizer Dr. Kelvin Charles. “In this way, they will hopefully become ‘hooked’ and be members of the fishing fraternity for years to come.”
Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.