Nov. 8, 2004 – The fifth year of competition in the Annual Caribbean Auto Mart Wahoo Windup, held Sunday, proved a charm for angler and St. Thomas attorney, Kevin Weatherbee. Fishing from Capt. John Vogell's 42-foot Post, King's Ransom, Weatherbee hooked into a big fish a little after 8 a.m. in seas to the northwest of St. Thomas. "When the fish took the bait, it looked like a yellow fin tuna. It lit up real yellow in color before it raced away from the boat," Weatherbee explained.
Since tuna didn't count for prize giving in this tournament, Weatherbee put the heavy drag on the reel and fought to get the fish in quickly so that he could get back to Wahoo fishing. But, as the fish got closer to the boat, fellow anglers Mike Sheen and Harry Gauriloff properly identified the monster on the line as a Wahoo.
Weatherbee eased the fish up to the boat after a 40-minute fight. Sheen put the gaff in and lifted the Wahoo into the boat.
Later, at the weigh station at American Yacht Harbor Marina, Weatherbee's whopper Wahoo weighed in at 62.2 pounds.
He said, "It wasn't enough to win the truck, but it wins the tournament and that's a really big thing for me."
One hundred and forty-eight anglers aboard 30 boats, fishing from either St. Croix or St. Thomas and St. John, set their sights on catching a 75-pound-plus Wahoo and winning a 2005 Chevrolet Colorado 4-wheel drive pick-up truck. Last year, the team from Black Pearl, achieved this feat with a 94.1-pound Wahoo.
"That will be a tough record to beat and we didn't do it this year," said Capt. Jim Estraca, aboard the 38-foot Bertram, Black Pearl.
But Weatherbee wasn't the only lucky angler. Cash prizes were awarded to anglers who caught the ten top weight Wahoo.
St. Thomas' Matthew Raffia, with a 53.6-pound catch aboard the 44-foot Dorado, Double Header II, scored the second top weight fish. Raffia also won the 5th and 10th place awards, with Wahoo weighing 33-pounds and 27.9-pounds, respectively.
The brand new Double Header II, skippered by Capt. Jonathan Gatcliffe, earned Best Boat for the most Wahoo by count, which was five.
Gatcliffe said, "We'd been fishing the north for the past few days and the Wahoo weren't really running. So, we headed to the South Drop. The really disappointing thing was that we had a Wahoo on the line that was at least 80 pounds. We got it right up to the back of the boat and it spit the hook."
In total, anglers brought in 22 Wahoo weighing collectively 646.6 pounds.
St. Thomas tournament director, Galen Swingen of the V.I. Gamefishing Club and St. Croix Golden Hook Fishing Club director, Fred Lalik, both agreed that this was a fun event and are already looking forward to next year.
1. Kevin Weatherbee, King's Ransom, St. Thomas, 62.2-pounds
2. Matthew Raffia, Double Header, St. Thomas, 53.6-pounds
3. Chris Petty, Cahoona, St. Thomas, 39.6-pounds
4. Tyler Maltby, Double Header, St. Thomas, 37-pounds
5. Matthew Raffia, Double Header, St. Thomas, 33-pounds
6. Rick Rounds, Double Vision, St. Croix, 31.6-pounds
7. Marc Mosca, Seabee, St. Thomas, 31. pounds
8. Randy Duncan, Lisa Ann, St. Croix 30.9-pounds
9. Andy Anderson, Leisure Lady, St. Croix, 28.6-pounds
10. Matthew Raffia, Double Header, St. Thomas, 27.9-pounds
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