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Hodges Top Angler, Jolly Hull Top Boat in Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club’s Annual Dolphin Derby

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St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. The catch of a 14.9-pound dolphin fish (mahi-mahi) earned St. Thomas’ Greg Hodges the Top Angler prize at the Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club’s Annual Dolphin Derby held June 4. Normally held in April, postponements due to weather with the safety of participants top of mind, led to a day with more fishing than catching, albeit with plenty of fun.

Fishing aboard the St. Thomas-based 42-foot Prowler, Jolly Hull, with Captain Thaddeus Bushnell at the helm, Hodges caught his winning fish south of St. Thomas and north of St. Croix.

“Our game plan was to make a run south early and then work our way west,” says Bushnell. “We kept looking for floaters, whether it was patches of weed or debris or anything the mahi like to hide under. Along the way, we hooked a barracuda and then a couple of small mahi, but nothing much. Then it was just before noon when we saw a homemade FAD and the lines started going off with double and triple headers. As soon we reeled fish in, more would be on the line. In all, we landed two mahi and four wahoo.”

The wahoo didn’t count in scoring since this tournament targets dolphin. Plus, the second of the two dolphin weighed in just under 10 pounds, good enough to eat but not to count for points in this conservation-oriented tournament. Thus, Hodges 14.9- pound catch also led Jolly Hull to the Top Boat prize. This is the first time Hodges won the Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club’s tournament.

“I have to say it all boiled down to having a good team. We were all reeling in fish today,” says Hodges.

In addition to Hodges and Bushnell, team members on Jolly Hull were Stewart Loveland, Crispin Weekes, Jashae Joseph, and KJ Terry.

Sport fishermen will have their chance to fish, catch and win again on October 15 when the Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club hosts its Wahoo Wind-up.

“Weather challenges led to an early postponement of this tournament, but safety is always our priority,” says Kelvin Bailey, Jr., president of the Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club. “That said, we want to give a shout out to all the boats that did fish, although they didn’t make it to the scales.”

The VIGFC appreciates sponsorship support from the Bacardi and Stoli, distributed by the West Indies Company; IGY’s American Yacht Harbor Marina; Intellectual Global Concepts USVI LLC; Lattes in Paradise; Neptune Fishing Supplies; Island Time Pub; and the St. Thomas Yacht Club.

Looking ahead, the VIGFC will host its Wahoo Windup on October 15 and its Kid’s Fishing Tournament on October 29.

For more information, call (340) 775-9144, Email: usvigfc@gmail.com, or visit: www.vigfc.com

Photo: Jolly Hull, Top Boat. Team members L to R: Stewart Loveland, KJ Terry, Captain Thaddeus Bushnell, Crispin Weekes, Greg Hodges – Top Angler, and Jashae Joseph. Credit: Dean Barnes
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Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.

So Caribbean you can almost taste the rum...

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