The right place at the right time proved a winning combination for St. Thomas’s Thierry Williams. When the official weigh-in was complete at the 27th Bastille Day Kingfish Tournament, it was Williams who reeled in the largest kingfish to win the event.
Williams’ winning catch was a 31.55-pounder, which he caught aboard the 23-foot Hanson, Oceanna. Williams was one of 210 anglers, including 33 junior anglers, on 63 boats who fished in this Northside Sportfishing Club-hosted tournament, according to the event organizers.
The 27th Bastille Day Kingfish Tournament has been named one of the 10 best ways to celebrate Bastille Day in the world by Hotwire.com, the online travel advisor.
“It was about 9 a.m. when I hooked up,” said Williams, who caught his king-size kingfish on a pink skirted ballyhoo bait while fishing off St. Thomas’ northwest shore. “At first it didn’t feel like a big fish on the line, but I guess it was swimming towards us at the time. Then, when it got close to the boat, it took off with such speed and strength I knew it was good sized. It ran out and I had to reel it back twice more before my son was able to get a gaff in it and bring it aboard.”
Williams’ Largest Kingfish earned him $2,000 in cash, plus many other prizes.
The prize for the second largest kingfish went to David Bryan, aboard Urshe, who caught a 21.15-pounder.
John Lindsey, fishing aboard Mako, reeled in an 18.7-pounder which was the third largest kingfish, while Mathew Bryan caught the fourth largest, an 18.1-pounder, from the Feel Good I. Bryan also won the Best Male Angler award by catching five fish weighing a total of 48.45-pounds.
Capt. Tyler Maltby, driving Double Header II, won Best Boat, with 18 eligible species of fish caught. Meanwhile, the catch of four kingfish earned Capt. Claude Berry, aboard Reel-M-In, the Best Captain award.
Kathy McAllister’s catch of 20.3-pounds of fish, aboard Double Header II, earned her the Best Female Angler award.
The Best Junior Male prize went to Eric McAllister, who caught a total of 17.80-pounds, aboard Double Header II.
Bella Gatcliff won Best Junior Female with her catch of 50.35-pounds of fish aboard Double Header. Gatcliff also caught the largest Bonita at 5.20-pounds.
Although the tournament is focused on kingfish, other species earned anglers cash and prizes. Robert Greaux, Jr., caught the largest barracuda, at 17.85-pounds, off the C-Hawk. Quadrille angler, Jody Fix, reeled in the largest mackerel, at 5.25-pounds.
In addition to cash, prizes and trophies, winners also received overnight stays at local hotels and a variety of luxury gifts donated by tournament sponsors and locally owned businesses. Almost $20,000 was awarded in cash and prizes this year.
Adult and junior anglers who didn’t earn a prize still had a chance to win in the ‘Hard Luck’’ and the ‘Catch in the Hat’ drawings.
Judges Herman Richardson and Kevin Laplace, Sr., officially weighed in the catches.
The 27th Bastille Day Kingfish Tournament is sponsored by Coors Light and Captain Morgan, distributed by Bellows International; Offshore Marine, the Yamaha distributor in the Virgin Islands; NEMWIL, managed in the USVI by Red Hook Agencies, Inc., TOPA Insurance Services Inc., and Budget Marine, the Caribbean’s leading chandlery.
First organized by the Northside Sportfishing Club in 1987, the tournament has become one of the highlights of St. Thomas’ French Heritage Week, organizers said in their Sunday news release.
The event benefits the Joseph Sibilly School, the Family Resource Center and My Brother’s Workshop, and provides college scholarships. The nonprofit Northside Sportfishing Club by way of its annual Bastille Day Kingfish Tournament has donated $157,000 to community organizations.
Further information can be obtained by sending email to [email protected] or by calling 340-998-0854.