The 28-boat fleet taking part in the USVI Open Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament caught and released a whopping total of 36 blue marlin for the day, with the team aboard Casca Dura taking the first-day lead with four blue marlin releases.
Casca Dura is an 80-foot Brazilian-based Merritt.
Meanwhile, Wave Paver, a 61-foot Garlington out of Florida that customarily fishes in the Bahamas and is relatively new to Virgin Islands waters, finished the day in second, also with four blue marlin releases – three of them released before noon.
“We had just finished clearing weeds off the long ringer when there was the fish,” said Jr. Davis, the Kissimmee, Fla., based owner/angler of Wave Paver. “We released it with less than 30 minutes remaining in the tournament’s fishing day.”
Nemesis, a 70-foot Tribute with Capt. Robert ‘Cujo’ Brinkmeyer at the helm, kicked-off the action when angler Dale Wills, publisher of and In the Bite, released the first blue marlin of the tournament.
“We were fishing up at the ‘gun sight’ on the North Drop and released the fish at 8:44 a.m.,” said Wills.
About half the fleet fished the Drop while the others tried their luck in the waters off Anegada. One boat that traveled the extra distance to the easternmost British Virgin Island was local charter boat Free Spool. The team aboard this 58-foot Buddy Davis was rewarded for their efforts with the release of three blue marlin.
“Off Anegada it can either be dead or on fire with the ability to release four to five fish in a day,” according to Capt. Kevin Haddox, who helmed Free Spool to win the BVI Open held Aug. 14 and 15 out of the Bitter End Yacht Club in Virgin Gorda. “We found a spot up there that’s proven consistent for us. We had a good day.”
The angling action continues Monday, Tuesday and concludes on Thursday.
The public can walk the dock and watch the big rigs come in around 6:30 p.m. and count the number of marlin-release flags flying from the outriggers. Anglers in this conservation-oriented tournament have not killed a blue marlin since 1986, according to the tournament organizers. The more flags, the more marlin the boat released, and the winner is the one who releases the most blue marlin first.
Commemorative tournament T-shirts, hats and more with original art will be on sale each night.
At 7 p.m. Tuesday speculators and anglers can enjoy Cheese Burgers in Paradise. The Boy Scouts invite visitors and locals alike to their cookout at Camp Wahoo, located under the AYH tents. Tickets are available as a donation to the V.I. Council, Boy Scout of America.
The tournament’s awards ceremony will take place Thursday, along with the naming of the 2013 USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Top Angler, who pockets a $10,000 cash prize.
Started by Chuck Senf back in 1972 – and nicknamed The Boy Scout Tournament since a portion of the proceeds have always benefited the VI Council of the Boy Scouts of America, one of Senf’s favorite charities – the ABMT has evolved into one of the top competitive saltwater sports fishing events in the world. It’s one of legs of the Bermuda Triangle Series and Spanish Main Series.
Further information and tournament results are available online at www.abmt.vi.