‘Sodium’ Continues Lead on Day 3 of Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament

Charlie Gerritsen, Macy Barringer and Ben Barringer were among the crowds on the dock watching the Gulf Rascal back into the dock after a day of tournament fishing. (Credit - Dean Barnes)
Charlie Gerritsen, Macy Barringer and Ben Barringer were among the crowds on the dock watching the Gulf Rascal back into the dock after a day of tournament fishing. (Credit – Dean Barnes)

Spectators gathered along A dock at IGY’s American Yacht Harbor marina in Red Hook to find out who was in the lead after the third day of fishing in the 44th USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament (ABMT). That’s because Rod Windley and his team aboard the Gulf Rascal fished so far east that they were out of radio communication for the day, leaving the rest of the tournament participants to wonder if the anglers aboard the 68-foot Hatteras were having a feast or famine of blue marlin catch and releases.
In the end, Windley’s one release wasn’t enough to overtake Chad Damron’s and his team aboard the 75-foot Weaver Sodium at the top of the leaderboard.
“It was a crazy day,” said Windley of Pensacola, Fla. “We saw four blue marlin, hooked two that I fought for a long time before they each pulled the hook, and caught two – the last one was after 5:30 p.m. lines out, so it didn’t count for the tournament. That first one was a good one. We hooked up mid-morning and it took an hour for me to catch and release it. It was easily 400-plus pounds.”
Meanwhile, the action aboard Sodium didn’t start until 3 p.m. when angler, Steve McFarland of Cocoa Beach, Fla., caught and released the team’s first blue of the day.
“The fish came up on the left bridge teaser,” said Damron from Crystal River, Fla., of McFarland’s catch. “We teased it to the boat and tried to keep the bait out of the water, but the marlin just dove on the pitch bait. At one point, it was only three feet from the back of the boat when it turned and peeled off a ton of line. It took Steve a good 10 minutes to get it back for the release.”
Damron himself nearly hooked up an hour later when a marlin came up window shopping but didn’t stop to bite at the bait.
Team Sodium’s day’s work was enough to put them in the lead with five releases total in three days of fishing to Gulf Rascal’s four. In addition, Sodium’s McFarland remains in the Top Angler role with three blue marlin.
The ABMT fishing continues and concludes on Friday after a lay-day Thursday for the full moon.

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