St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. The catch of a 34.49-pound dolphin (mahi-mahi) earned St. Thomas angler, Tamika Turbe, Top Angler and a $1,000 cash prize at the Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club’s (VIGFC) Dolphin Derby, sponsored by Budget Car & Truck Rental, and fished May 5th.
Fishing aboard the 34’ Calypso, Emanuel, Turbe caught her winning fish off the south coast of St. Thomas nearly to St. Croix. “We didn’t know how big it was until we got it up to the back of the boat,” says Turbe, who fished with her husband, Capt. Alvin Turbe, and friend Gilbert Laban. Turbe also won prizes for the eighth and ninth largest dolphin, weighing in at 25.02-pounds and 24.57-pounds, respectively.
Turbe’s first place fish was about 21-pounds shy of the over 55-pound criteria to win the tournament’s ultimate prize – $25,000 in cash.
The second largest dolphin, a 31.96-pounder, was caught by St. Thomas’ Dr. Edward Saunders, fishing aboard his 36’ Luhrs, Irving’s Son.
“We caught three dolphin for the day and it was a lot of fun,” says Saunders, who has regularly competed in VIGFC tournaments for the past 13 years. Saunders second of his two tournament catches was a 23.14-pounder, which earned him the 10th place angler prize. Meanwhile, Saunders’ wife, Christina, caught a 26.45-pounder that netted her the 7th place angler award.
In third place, St. Croix’s Bonnie Anderson caught a 30.42-pounder, off the Cabo 40, Andy.
“That was the only dolphin we caught the whole day,” says Anderson. “But we did raise three blue marlin and released one of them.”
Gilbert Laban, on Emanuel, caught the fourth and fifth largest dolphin, a 27.55-pounder and 27.11-pounder, respectively. Brian McFadden caught the sixth largest dolphin, a 27.0-pounder, from aboard the Green Flash.
Cash prizes were awarded to anglers catching the 10 largest dolphin.
The Best Boat award went to St. Thomas’ Emanuel, with 19 dolphin collectively weighing 368.07-pounds.
“I’ve been out fishing over the last month and had a good idea where the dolphin were running,” explains Capt. Turbe.
Finally, St. Thomas’ Viana Biscoe, fishing aboard the Hookie II, won the Best Junior Angler prize with the catch of a 13.89-pound dolphin.
“I caught this big fish and I thought, awesome, I’m going to win,” says 8-year-old Biscoe, of her first dolphin catch.
A fleet of a record 20 boats and 78 anglers collectively caught 912.68-pounds of dolphin. Some boats donated a fish to the host VIGFC, where this was the featured entrée at the Awards Dinner held May 6.
The VIGFC Dolphin Derby Fishing Tournament was sponsored by Budget Car & Truck Rental.
The VIGFC’s next event is the Memorial Day Tournament, May 25 to 27, followed by the July Open Kid’s Tournament on July 4th, and the 50th Annual July Open Billfish Tournament, set for July 19 to 21.