Minutes before 7am, on the seas northwest of Outer Brass, St. Thomas’ Ricky LaPlace hooked into what he thought was a small fish while competing in the Annual Bastille Day Kingfish Tournament, hosted by the Northside Sportfishing Club, July 11, at Hull Bay Hideaway.
“At first there wasn’t much pull on the line. Then, the reel started spinning off line and I thought the little fish was eaten by a shark,” LaPlace explained.
But, when the fish got to the back of the 16-foot island built boat Toots, LaPlace saw that he had reeled in a whopping kingfish.
“It took me about 10 minutes to get it in. When I did, I could tell it was big,” LaPlace said.
“Actually, I was thinking about not fishing the tournament this year. But my son, Zachary wanted to come out. He is 9 years old and finally old enough to be an angler,” LaPlace related, adding that he has fished every Bastille Day Kingfish Tournament since the event’s inception in 1987.
LaPlace’s 30.60-pounder elicited envious looks from fellow anglers as it was weighed in. For his efforts, LaPlace won a $2000 cash prize sponsored by N.E.M. (West Indies) Insurance Limited, managed in the USVI by Red Hook Agencies, Inc., and a 12-foot Open Caribe inflatable with 15 HP Yahama Engine donated by Offshore Marine Services.
The Second Largest Kingfish prize went to angler, Marielle Brandon, with a 23.26-pound catch aboard the Sea Witch. Brandon received $750 cash sponsored by FedEx and other luxury gifts.
This year’s tournament is dedicated to and honors the late Joe LaPlace. A master fisherman with the Department of Planning and Natural Resources Fish & Wildlife Division for 35 years, LaPlace served for many years as a tournament judge, a role now taken over by his son, Kevin LaPlace, Sr. Of note is that LaPlace’s grandson, Kevin LaPlace II, at 11 years old, was the youngest captain in this years tournament.
68 Boats, 246 Anglers
(includes 38 Jr. Anglers), 147 Fish, Total Weight 1146 lbs
42 Kingfish, Total
Weight 379 lbs.
Ricky LaPlace, 30.60lbs on Toots
Best Boat, Capt.
Grizz, 11 fish, Gone Ketchin
Best Captain, Reid
Brett, 6 kingfish, Donna Marie
Best Female, Pam
Gaffin, 98.93 lbs, Gone Ketchin
Best Male, Troy
Danet, 39.69 lbs, See & Ski #4
Best Junior Male,
Michael Gumbs, 43.09 lbs, Lady Marie
Best Junior Female,
Tiffanie Bryan, 21.48 lbs, Urshe
Largest Jack, Carl
Gartner, 14.12 lbs, Alchemist
Louis LeDee, 18.60 lbs, Contender
Largest Bonito, Mike
Werth, 3.08 lbs, Bonito Blaster
Largest Tuna, Brian
Werth, 13.46 lbs, Bonito Blaster
Larry Greaux, 5.84 lbs, Mary Rose
Edric Martin, Jr. 5.73 lbs, Manta Ray