Flat seas, sunny skies and a good bite assured that this year’s Virgin Islands’ Game Fishing Club (VIGFC)-hosted Couple’s Tournament didn’t live up to its past reputation. No, you couldn’t call it the ‘Divorce Tournament’ due to inclement conditions.
“We had one of the calmest tournaments in recent memory,” said Jim Jamison, one of the event’s competitors.
What the weather lacked in excitement, the hot bite made up for – especially aboard Capt. Howard ‘Grizz’ Griswold’s 31-foot Rampage Sportfisher, Gone Ketchin. “We started catching fish just about as soon as we left the dock,” said Marcia Griswold, Capt. Grizz’s partner. “Grizz knew where to find them, so he drove the boat and I just reeled them in. Kingfish. Barracudas. Bonitas.”
Gone Ketchin’s success certainly showed on the scoreboard. At the noon weigh-in at Honeymoon Beach on Water Island, the boat’s total weight of fish caught amounted to a whopping 73.2 pounds. “This made three years in a row for us to win,” said Griswold, although it was a first for Marcia and Howard.
In 2005, first place couple Tarn Hildreth and Chris Tronquet caught 63.5 pounds of fish aboard Gone Ketchin’, while in 2006 winning couple Cheri Levert and Scott Bryan reeled in 44.7 pounds of fish about the St. John-based sports fishing charter boat.
St. Thomas couple, Dee Spears and Grizz Skeels, finished second by catching 32.5 pounds of fish.
“We actually got a late start. But, as we were fishing inshore, we were not too worried as we didn’t have to go far to put in the lines. In fact, we started catching fish shortly after putting the lines in the water,” said Spears, who was fishing aboard Rob Richard’s 45-foot Luhrs Express, Mixed Bag, with Skeels at the helm, Rob’s wife Marni Walters as mate, and Rob angling.
She continued, “At one point, Marni was reeling in a fish on the spinning rod when the fish took a dive under the boat and entangled the line on the boat. Rob quickly dove in the water, freed the line and Marni was able to reel it in. Rob quickly got back in the boat in time to gaff it…a real great save!”
Beth Gowan and Andy Holler rounded out the top three couples, with a catch of 25.5 pounds of fish. Sixteen couples fished in this tournament, which is designed to bring more women into the sport of fishing. This event kicked off the VIGFC’s annual Small Boat Tournament Series for the year.
The next event hosted by the Club is the Offshore Marine Dolphin Derby, set for April 15, with the Captain’s Meeting April 13. For information, call: 340-775-9144.
1. Marcia and Howard Griswold, 73.2-pounds
2. Dee Spear and Grizz Skeels, 32.5-pounds
3. Beth Gowan and Andy Holler, 25.5-pounds
4. Marni Walters and Robert Richards, 23-pounds
5. Tammy Piner and Bill Limpert, 21.3-pounds