Luck as well as local knowledge and loads of ace fishing
skill led the Florida-based Revenge,
a Revenge 58, to a second-year-in-a-row win at the 42nd annual July
Open Tournament, hosted by the Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club, July 15 to 17.
Revenge owner and angler Sam Jennings
scored the prestigious Give’M Line Trophy for his three released blue marlin.
He bested defending champ, son Jon Jennings, who placed top angler in 2004.
This year, Jon’s one released marlin, in addition to his father’s three, gave
Revenge its four fish winning total.
“We caught four
fish, more than any other boat, but it was slow out there. We hope the season
picks up,” says Sam Jennings, who has fished Virgin Islands’ waters for over a
decade and last year reached the coveted goal of releasing the 1,000th
blue marlin caught aboard the Revenge
by him and his son.
Revenge‘s secret to winning?
“We have no
secrets,” Sam Jennings says. “We’re doing the same things we’ve always done.”
Yet, Capt. Mike
Lemon adds, “pitch-baiting, 80-test line and good hungry fish” certainly enter
into the successful fish catching equation.
18 boats and 68
anglers from the Caribbean and U.S. mainland competed in this event, which is
the longest continually held blue marlin tournament in the Virgin Islands. Of
note, the first world’s record blue marlin caught in a tournament was an
845-pounder boated by angler Elliot Fishman during the 1968 July Open
Hurricane Emily shirted south of the Virgin Islands, clearing the way for blue
skies and calm seas.
Day One, Virginia
angler Burton Gray, fishing aboard the St. Thomas-based charter boat,
Marlin Prince, jumped onto the
scoreboard and led the angler standings with the first tagged and released blue
marlin. Meanwhile, another release by Virginia’s Fred Flippin, also fishing
aboard Marlin Prince with Capt. Eddie
Morrison at the helm, rocketed the Virgin Islands’ boat into the top boat slot.
Revenge‘s Sam Jennings scored a duo of
released blues, but not before angler Chester Chamber, aboard
Vintage, did the same thing and led
Jennings on time. A fishless day for Marlin Prince, combined with a Day One
release by Jon Jennings, bumped Revenge
into first place.
Day Three, a
mid-morning release by Sam Jennings secured his top angler title and
Revenge‘s best boat win.
Marlin Prince, a 45-foot Viking,
finished as second best boat, while another St. Thomas-based charter sport
fishing boat, Abigail III, a Custom
44 skippered by Capt. Red Bailey, ended third.
In total, anglers hooked up 57 blue marlin and released 41 during the
three-day tournament. The July Open Tournament benefits the Boys and Girls Club
of the Virgin Islands.