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Thursday, April 18, 2024
HomeNewsLocal newsQuestel Hooks Bastille Day Tournament Win with 45-Pound Catch

Questel Hooks Bastille Day Tournament Win with 45-Pound Catch

Saturday morning dawned with anticipation as boats lined the waterfront, their motors humming to life, ready to embark on an exhilarating adventure in the sparkling waters. The air was filled with a sense of camaraderie and excitement, as seasoned anglers and aspiring fishermen prepared for the 33rd Annual Bastille Day Kingfish Tournament.

Jiovanni Questel earned the Largest Kingfish prize during the weekend tournament. (Photo courtesy of the Northside Sportfishing Club)

Jiovanni Questel, aboard the Feel Good I, cast his line into the turquoise sea, his gaze fixed on the horizon. The sun’s first rays broke through the wisps of clouds, casting a golden glow upon the gentle waves. Nature seemed to dance in harmony as seabirds swooped and dived, creating a symphony of chirps and calls.

“I saw the silver flash, started reeling it in, and saw it was huge,” said Questel, who last fished this tournament several years ago. “It was about a minute and a half fight to get the fish in and secured in the boat. It was pretty amazing. We had just started fishing and I was enjoying the morning, the birds, the water, and watching for the sun to come up.”

Back on the shores of Hull Bay, the anticipation grew as anglers and spectators gathered for the noon weigh-in. More than 185 anglers, including 30 junior anglers, on 45 boats fished in the weekend’s event, hosted by the Northside Sportfishing Club as part of the U.S. Virgin Islands’ French Heritage Week celebration.

The atmosphere was electric, buzzing with excitement and anticipation. The crowd marveled at the sight of Questel’s extraordinary catch, a kingfish that tipped the scales at an impressive 43.9 pounds. Cheers erupted, celebrating his remarkable feat and the promise of an extraordinary tournament. As the day unfolded, the tournament showcased the skills and prowess of a multitude of anglers. Christopher Ledee, aboard Catchup, emerged as the holder of the second Largest Kingfish prize, proudly displaying his 33.20-pound catch. Chervenne Pennyfeather, fishing on the Marj 2, displayed her angling finesse by reeling in a 28.75-pound kingfish, earning her the esteemed third spot while Ashley Bryan, aboard Catchup, demonstrated her fishing prowess by landing a 27.75-pound kingfish, securing the fourth Largest Kingfish prize.

Anglers were anxious for the noon weigh-in. (Photo by Joshua Crawford Barry)

The tournament not only celebrated the kingfish but also rewarded anglers who showcased their skill in capturing other species. Michael Lewis, aboard Marj 2, proudly displayed the Largest Barracuda, an impressive 18.05-pound specimen. Landon Brin, fishing from Sneaky, claimed the Largest Bonito title with his 4.50-pound catch.

Meanwhile, Savannah Sabo, aboard Reel Ting, proudly presented the Largest Mackerel, an 8.50-pound beauty. In addition to the individual accolades, the tournament recognized exceptional teamwork and leadership. Nathan Gatcliffe, aboard Hush Puppy, was awarded the Best Captain honor for his exceptional guidance and the catch of five kingfish, weighing an impressive 40.20 pounds. The Best Boat award was bestowed upon Matt Driscoll, driving the Double Header 38, who showcased his expertise by reeling in a total of nine fish, weighing 55.55 pounds.

All fish that came back to shore were also inspected. (Photo by Joshua Crawford Barry)

As the weigh-ins concluded, the festivities continued onshore at The Shack and The Hideaway at Hull Bay. The lively tunes of the Top Notch Band filled the air, creating an ambiance of joy and celebration. Anglers and spectators mingled, sharing tales of their triumphs and reveling in the camaraderie forged by their shared passion for the sea. As dusk descended upon the island, the crowd eagerly gathered for the highly anticipated Awards Ceremony. Cheers and applause filled the night sky as each winner stepped forward, basking in the glow of their achievements. Trophies gleamed, cash prizes were awarded, and the spirit of the tournament lingered, leaving a lasting imprint on the hearts of all those who had participated.

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