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Terry Top Angler, ‘Backlash’ Top Boat in 2024 VI Game Fishing Club’s Dolphin Derby Tournament

(L-R) Terra Steuerwald and KJ Terry with his 20.8-pound winning dolphinfish (Submitted photo)

The catch of a 20.8-pound dolphin fish (mahi-mahi) earned St. Thomas’ KJ Terry the Top Angler prize at the Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club’s Annual Dolphin Derby held on April 14. Fishing aboard the St. Thomas-based 26’ Prowler, Marlin Etc., with Captain Ryan Mertens at the helm, Terry caught his winning fish north of St. Thomas.

“We headed north knowing there would be big fish offshore. Our strategy was to look for big weed lines or frigate birds,” says Terry

It was birds circling overhead that gave a clue to the 20.5-pound winning mahi below. The bite happened around 10 a.m. with a quick fight to put it in the boat, Terry says. After that, Mertens turned the Marlin Etc. to the east and the team continued trolling baited ballyhoo.

Terry’s catch was 34.2-pounds short of the 55-plus-pounds needed to win the top prize of $25,000, but he did not go home empty-handed.

In other awards, St. Thomas’ Hugo Prada earned the Second Place Angler prize with the catch of an 18.0-pound dolphin fish from aboard the Backlash, while fellow angler, Corey Pugh, reeled in the Third Place Angler award with his 17.0-pound catch.

In total, five boats from St. Thomas and St. John fished the tournament, landing a total of 35 pounds of dolphin fish.

Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club’s Dolphin Derby Top ‘Boat – Backlash’ – L to R Jeff Watson, Corey Pugh, Jeff Richardson, Hugo Prada. Submitted photo)

Personnel from the USVI Department of Planning and Natural Resources Division of Fish & Wildlife served as weighmasters.

An Awards Ceremony at IGY’s American Yacht Harbor Marina with music, pizza and lots of camaraderie created the perfect end to this popular annual event. The tournament also proved a winning time for anglers and the public alike to learn about the USVI Reef Responsible Sustainable Seafood Initiative via an information table set up and staffed by St. Thomas/St. John Liaison Nicole Greaux.

The Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club appreciates the sponsorship support from IGY’s American Yacht Harbor Marina and Cape Fear Spirits.

Looking ahead, the club will host its Kid’s Fishing Tournament on Oct. 5, and its Wahoo Windup on Nov. 9.

For more information, call 775-9144, email usvigfc@gmail.com or visit www.vigfc.com

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