Sports fishermen will tell you that catching is part skill and part luck.
"We got lucky" is how Capt. Mike Lemon, aboard the Revenge, describes the catch and released of five blue marlin that boosted the boat into a stratospheric lead with 11 blue marlin. "We went right to the 100 fathom curve off Anegada, where about a third of the fleet was today. We had boats all around us, but I’ll tell you, we spent a good part of our day with the rod bent over."
Revenge owner, Sam Jennings, released three blue marlin and son, Jon, two.
"We hooked the first fish about 10:30 a.m. and Jon fought it for about two hours before making the release," Lemon says. "Then the last fish, Sam’s, he fought from 4:15 p.m. for about an hour before releasing it."
Jon Jennings continues in the top angler position with 7 blue marlin releases total.
Revenge anglers caught most of their fish pitch baiting with circle hooks.
"Circle hooks are new for us," says Lemon. "It either proves you don’t need a lot of experience with them to catch fish or that we were lucky."
Circle hooks, in contrast to traditional J-hooks, are a conservation measure that prevents fish from swallowing the hook, getting gut-hooked and dying.
The real source of Revenge’s luck today may be due to Capt. Lemon himself. It’s his birthday.
Mr. B II follows in the second top boat slot with the release of 7 blue marlin total. The big excitement on the boat today was a blue marlin that ran its bill into the side of the vessel and left its bill behind.
"We heard a big thump," says Mr. B II mate, Juan Carlos Torruella. "It was a 5-minute fish, but it kept jumping all over."
Peje continues as third top boat, with 6 – or 7 – releases total. As of 9:30 p.m., the boat hadn’t returned to the dock after being hooked up on a long fight.
Total blue marlin releases for the day numbered 41 – or 42 – if Peje was successful. This brings the three-day tournament total to 122 or 123.
The angling action continues Friday; with a lay day break for the full moon tomorrow.
The ABMT’s final fishing action on Friday ends with the sport fishing fleet’s swift Jim Smith ‘Race From The Edge’. The best place to watch this often photo finish is from the spit of land past the pool at the Sapphire Beach Resort. The Awards Ceremony takes place later in the evening along with the naming of the 2009 USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Top Angler, who pockets a $10,000 cash prize.
Started by Chuck Senf back in 1972 – and nicknamed The Boy Scout Tournament since a portion of the proceeds have always benefited the VI Council of the Boy Scouts of America, one of Senf’s favorite charities – the ABMT has evolved into the competitive saltwater sports fishing events in the world. It’s one of tournaments making up Bisbee’s World Billfish Series and is the last leg of the prestigious Bermuda Triangle Series and Spanish Main Series.