July 14, 2002 – A family fishing outing that wasn't just for fun paid off for Danny LaPlace Sunday morning as he reeled in what proved to be the biggest kingfish of the day in the Northside Sportfishing Club's annual Bastille Day Kingfish Tournament.
LaPlace; his wife, Jessica; his brother Andy and his cousin Alfred Berry headed out from Hull Bay just before dawn on Andy LaPlace's 21-foot Contender named Sea-ducer. "I told them this morning that I had a real good feeling about the day," Danny LaPlace related later.
His winning catch weighed in at 26.72 pounds on the scales at Hull Bay beach and was good for the dual top prizes — a 25-foot Eduardono fishing boat and $2,000 in cash.
"We were just past the Brasses when we saw the fish swim right by the back of the boat," Danny LaPlace said afterward. "It took my wife's line but when she started to reel it in, it was too big for her, so she handed me the rod." He said the fish was hooked just after 7 a.m. and took about 45 minutes to boat. The family brought one more fish aboard by the noon deadline, and Berry lost "a 45- to 50-pounder" when his line snapped, his cousin said.
The tournament attracted 253 anglers, 25 of them juniors age 16 and under, in 71 boats. They caught a total of 172 fish weighing a total of 1,298 pounds. Of these, 36 were kingfish, weighing a total of 450 pounds.
Michael Berry caught the second-largest kingfish; the 26.6-pounder netted him a week's Caribbean cruise for two and $750 in cash.
Mario Harris broughtin the third-largest; his 25.58-pounder brought him a getaway at the Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas Resort and $500 in cash.
The best boat award went to Midnight Express, skippered by Tony Hendricks, with 17 fish caught. Larry Aubain aboard Lady Marine was named best captain for a catch of five kingfish weighing a total of 84.67 pounds.
Other prize winners:
Ruth Gomez, best female angler (75.8 lbs. of fish)
Michael Berry, best male angler (57.65 lbs. of fish)
Tiffanie Bryan, best junior female (42.32 lbs. of fish)
Adam Turbe, best junior male (36.62 lbs. of fish)
Todd Trements, largest jack, (10.96 lbs.)
John Berry, largest barracuda (19.19 lbs.)
Jennifer Magras, largest bonito (4.85 lbs.)
Jonathan Bushnell, largest tuna (22.91 lbs., tournament record)
Ruth Gomez, largest mackerel (10.3 lbs.)
The tournament raised funds for Joseph Sibilly School, St. Thomas Rescue, American Red Cross, Victim Advocate Program and two scholarship recipients, Shelli Brin and Brigette Berry.
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