Nov. 18, 2002 – Sportfishing enthusiasts throughout the Virgin Islands were saying "wahoo" on Sunday as they sought to reel in a 60-plus pounder that would win them a Chevy S-10 truck in the V.I. Game Fishing Club's Caribbean Auto Mart Wahoo Wind-Up 2002.
There was "a good turnout" with "35 boats total between St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix and at least 71 anglers alone from St. Thomas," Kelvin Bailey, Game Fishing Club tournament director, said as he oversaw the St. Thomas weigh-in at the American Yacht Harbor Marina. Simultaneously, St. Croix competitors were weighing their catches on the boardwalk in Christiansted.
This is the second year that V.I. anglers have competed in one tournament from different fishing grounds. No one came near the 60-pound threshold, however, and the truck went unclaimed.
St. Croix angler, Kurt Walcott, fishing aboard Leisure Lady, pocketed $1,000 for the largest wahoo, a 45.2-pound fish.
On St. Thomas, Michael Berry, fishing aboard Rampage, won $500 with his 38.4-pounder, the second largest. "It's big, but it isn't a truck," Berry said as he walked, fish in hand, away from the weighing station.
The third largest honors went to St. Croix's Mike Masters, on Oh Susanna, for his 36.4-pounder.
The top three winners also received round-trip travel between St. Croix and St. Thomas compliments of Seaborne Airlines with overnight stays at Villa Blanca and Sapphire Beach Resort on St. Thomas and at the Divi Carina Bay Resort and Casino on St. Croix.
The other prize winners, in order of size of wahoo caught:
4th — St. Thomas's Wade Martin, aboard Double Header II, 34.8 pounds.
5th and 6th — St. Thomas's Rob Barringer, aboard Mary B, 32.8 and 32.2 pounds, respectively.
7th — St. Croix's Jack Hume, aboard Miss Becky, 32 pounds.
8th — St. John's Marni Walters, aboard Gone Ketchin', 31.8 pounds.
9th St. Croix's J.B. Brailey, aboard Tritons Jewel, 31.4 pounds.
10th — St. Thomas's Paul Borghi, on Double Header II, 30.4 pounds.
Borghi, a well-known local artist, said of his catch: "I caught it out by Sail Rock. It was the first wahoo we saw all day. I knew it was pretty big, because it peeled off the line." He said he grabbed his camera just after he got the fish aboard the boat.
"It's great to see the fish first hand, where they're lit up with all their colors. It helps me in painting to be more realistic," he said.
St. Croix's Leisure Lady won Best Boat honors with a count of five wahoo totaling 133 pounds, netting Capt. Bob Mackay, his crew and anglers $1,000.
A steep swell from the north kept sea conditions rough, but even those who got skunked had a good time. "I went fishing, but I didn't get catching," Harry Clinton, Game Fishing Club executive director, said.
Awards were presented Monday evening at the club headquarters in Red Hook on St. Thomas and at the Golden Rail Marina Café in Gallows Bay on St. Croix.
Publisher's note : Like the St. Thomas Source now? Find out how you can love us twice as much — and show your support for the islands' free and independent news voice … click here.