July 9, 2001 – The "biggest little fishing event in the Virgin Islands," the annual Bastille Day Kingfish Tournament, is Sunday at Hull Bay.
Hosted by the Northside Sportfishing Club, the annual competition is a traditional high point of the annual French Heritage Week observances on St. Thomas. It draws the highest participation of any inshore fishing event of its kind in the territory, according to a release.
Part of the attraction is prizes, and part is a day of partying with plenty of food, drink and live music at the beach.
"We’re expecting more than 350 anglers this year and are grateful for the positive response we’ve received from all our sponsors," tournament director Monica Lester said. Sponsorships have made it possible to keep the entry fees low — $35 for adults and $20 for juniors ages 8 to 16, she said.
This year's prime sponsors, Coors Light and Snapple, both distributed by Bellows International, will provide the $2,000 prize for largest kingfish and the $500 prize for the third-largest. Offshore Marine Services will award the Best Captain a 9-foot inflatable dinghy with an 8hp engine. FedEx will provide the $750 prize for the second-largest kingfish.
Other prizes will go to those reeling in the largest jack, barracuda, bonito, tuna, mackerel and dolphin. There also are awards for Best Boat, Best Female Angler, Best Male Angler, Best Junior Female Angler and Best Junior Male Angler.
There will even be prizes for onshore games open to the public starting at 1:30 p.m. — with the North Side Civic Association helping to organize events.
And junior anglers have a chance at prizes unconnected to their catch. I Do Video & Photography is sponsoring a drawing of nine of their names from a hat. The first eight will each receive $50, and the ninth will get $100.
Registrations will be accepted up until the captains' meeting at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Hull Bay Hideaway. Entry forms can be obtained from E&M Grocery, Bryan's Electrical and Neptune Fishing Supplies.
Fishing starts at 5:30 a.m. Sunday and ends at noon. Weighing and judging will be from noon to 2 p.m., while the anglers get to enjoy an open bar. For the public, there will be food and drink available and music throughout the afternoon and into the evening, with the awards ceremony set for 8 p.m. at Hull Bay Hideaway.
The tournament was founded by the Northside Sportfishing Club in 1987. Proceeds benefit the Joseph Sibilly School, St. Thomas Rescue, the local chapter of the American Red Cross and the Victim Advocates program.


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