Revenge top boat, Chouest top angler
For an unprecedented fourth time, the Revenge won Top Boat at the 39th Annual USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament (ABMT), fished August 10th – 14th, with the release of 11 blue marlin.
“It was industry and perseverance,” says Sam Jennings, owner and angler aboard the Juno Beach, Florida-based 58ft Revenge, about the team’s secret to success. “Of course, you always need the North Drop.”
Revenge anglers, Sam, and son Jon, released their tally of blue marlin consistently with three the first day, four the second and two apiece on the third and fourth days of the tournament. Even so, the final day of fishing was a real nail-biter.
“We went into the day in the lead, then we lost it to Gulf Rascal when they caught their tenth fish, then we came back and tied them and finally came back again with our second marlin of the day to win,” explained Captain Mike Lemon, who helms Revenge.
One of the prizes won by Revenge is entry for the boat and three anglers to fish Club Nautico de San Juan’s 58th International Billfish Tournament in September.
Sam Jennings finished Second Best Angler having released six of Revenge’s 11 blue marlin.
Gulf Rascal, a 68ft Hatteras owned by Pensacola, Florida-based angler, Rod Windley, added another blue to their tally on the last day to bring their total to ten. This earned them Second Best Boat.
Meanwhile, Chach, the Monterey 58 out of Louisiana, which led on the first day, tied with Â Gulf Rascal having ten blue marlin releases, but ended Third Best Boat on time. However, Chach angler, Damon Chouest, topped the angler leaderboard with eight blue marlin releases and won a $10,000 cash prize.
“Our one fish today was a nice one – around 600lb,” says Chouest. “Luckily the fish came up on my rotation and I had the honor of winning Top Angler.”
This is the second time Chouest has won Top Angler in this tournament. The first time was in 1990 when he was only 17.
“We have a young team on Chach,” says Chouest, about his 22-year-old captain and same-age crew. “The Top Angler win, and being so close to Top Boat, has made us hungry to come back next year with our sights set on winning both awards. This year though, our congratulations go to Revenge.”
Buddy Hardiman aboard Triple Seven ended Third Best Angler with six blue marlin releases.
The Top Junior Angler award went to 14-year-old Tristan Lambert, on Reel Tight, with the release of four blue marlin.
A total of 107 blue marlin were released by the 20 boat fleet over four days of fishing. This equates to an average of 5.35 blue marlin per boat and 1.81 for each of the 58 anglers.
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 Americaâ€”one of Senf’s favorite charitiesâ€”the ABMT has evolved into one of the most competitive saltwater sports fishing events in the world. It’s one of the legs of the prestigious Bermuda Triangle Series and Spanish Main Series.
The ABMT is fished under International Game Fishing Association (IGFA) rules, and is overseen by a professional Board of Captains and well-qualified observers.
The tournament benefits the Virgin Islands Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
For information, call: 1-888-2-FISHVI (1-888-234-7484), or 340-775-9500, or visit: www.abmt.vi
Report submitted by Carol M. Bareuther