Antigua – Fishing and feasting were the theme of the day for the 6th Frances Nunes, Jr. Memorial Fishing Tournament and Seafood Festival. The event brought in a flood of fish and plenty of people to feast in Antigua’s Nelson’s Dockyard on September 30th.
Twenty-five boats competed for prizes in this Antigua and Barbuda Sport Fishing Club-hosted tournament. The fleet reeled in 62 fish for a collective weight of nearly 1700lb. The fight for Champion Boat Overall was extremely close. JD Hall’s 34ft Boston Whaler Not Chief Yet won with a catch that topped the scaled at 278.5lb, while the vessels Blue Rapid and Vitamin B were close behind with 265lb and 244.25lb of fish, respectively.
“We went to the northwest, our usual fishing grounds for years and about an hour out from the dockyard,” explains Hall. “We had our first strike at 7:20am and the fish busted the leader. A half-hour later, we had four strikes and caught them all. After that, we knew the fish were there and spent the next eight hours trolling in a two-mile area. By the end of the day, we had lost 12 strikes, but still landed nine wahoo to win. It was a great day.”
It was Hall’s father, Kit, who reeled in a 55lb wahoo to win the Largest Fish Caught by a Male and Largest Wahoo awards.
“I knew it was a big fish from the first bite,” Hall explains. “You can tell the size of the fish from the initial run, the way it spools the line, and this one almost took it all.”
Not Chief Yet scored yet another award for angler Shamel Delabanque’s Largest Kingfish, a 14.75-pounder.
Meanwhile, Champion Boat in the small boat division went to Capt. David Fuller at the helm of his 24ft Boston Whaler, El Gringo.
“Several boats went to the northeast of the bank, that’s why I choose to go to the southeast,” Fuller tells. “We started catching fish within a minute. Our last strike came at 9:00am. We caught all 151.25lb of wahoo in the first two hours of the tournament.”
Interestingly, while the El Gringo crewmembers were reeling in their wahoo, Fuller’s nine-year-old daughter, Olivia, tended the helm.
Another young person who enjoyed a great day was four-year-old Logan Langlois. Langlois was the youngest angler of the tournament and he also caught the Largest Dolphin of the tournament, a 16.25-pounder, aboard the vessel, We Going.
n other awards, Frances Fuller fishing aboard Blue Rapid caught the Largest Fish Caught by a Female, a 45lb wahoo; Blue Rapid’s Justin Baretto caught the Largest Fish Caught by a Youth, a 35.5lb wahoo; while Davide De Munare on Puravida caught the largest and only tuna, an 11.25-pounder.
Crowds gathered in the Dockyard to watch the weigh-in, feast on seafood and purchase the fresh catch as soon as it came off the scales.
The tournament honors Francis Nunes Jr., who played an integral role in the development of sports fishing on Antigua and Barbuda.
For information on upcoming tournaments, visit: www.antiguabarbudasportfishing.com
Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.