Aug. 19, 2002 – The story of the "big one that got away" is a favorite at fishing tournaments. But at the Innovative Wireless Boy Scout Handline Tournament on Sunday, it was the tale of the prize given — and given away — that made the day.
Teen-age angler Joaquin Dagou walked to the lectern set up at the American Yacht Harbor venue and accepted his second-place award, a cool Hard Rock Café denim jacket for catching the longest fish in the "10 and Over" category. He popped the coat on, in spite of the broiling sun, reveling in his prize.
Moments later, Joaquin's name was called again. This time, it was for landing the largest fish in the "10 and Over" category. His award this time was a bicycle — a girl's bicycle. The announcer joked that he should save it to impress his future wife, but Dagou had something else in mind. He wheeled this much-coveted gift away, only to return a few minutes later.
"I'd like to say that I'm giving the bike to Lyiseha. It's her birthday today," he announced. To much applause, 9-year-old Lyiseha Cantois beamed at the gift and the giver. Dressed in his Boy Scout greens, Joaquin really showed what being a scout is all about.
More than 200 youngsters from 18 months to 17 years of age turned out to try their luck fishing along the AYH docks in the 12th annual event, held as the curtain raiser for the territory's most prestigious fishing event, the USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament, which gets under way Monday and runs through Friday.
The young anglers took their handline efforts seriously Sunday. "Look at that big one," one boy called. "I got it, I got it," a little girl squealed. Each young angler got a goody bag containing a T-shirt, sunscreen, snack treats and a bucket. The organizers supplied the handlines, hooks and squid for bait.
Anyone who caught a fish scooped it into his or her bucket and headed over to the weigh station. There, personnel of the Planning and Natural Resources Department's Fish and Wildlife Division weighed the fish and credited the angler with the catch. Then, the fish was returned to the water and the youngster could get to work on trying to catch another.
The fishing was from 10 a.m. to noon; after that, the youngsters kids were treated to pizza and cold drinks and clowns doing face-painting.
The local business community donated some 26 prizes, including a half-day sportfishing excursion on Abigail III, helicopter tours, daysails and gift certificates.
One of the adults watching the young anglers' evident delight was Samuel Ebbesen, chief executive of Innovative Telephone, the tournament sponsor, and also president of the Virgin Islands Council of Boy Scouts of America.
"This is great for scouting and a great family event," Ebbesen said. There are three to four hours here where adults have time to spend with their children, talking, doing, and being together. I've even done my share of threading squid through hooks."
Besides having fun fishing, he said, the young people were "learning skills, everything from fishing to discipline and safety. This sort of activity is just what we need here in the islands. We really have a great time sponsoring this event each year."
1. Adeja Greig
2. Derrick Rolle
Ugliest Fish – Age 10 and Under
1. Micah Arnold
2. Agyel Gregory
3. Alec Seiler
Ugliest Fish – Age 11-17
1. Daniel Turbe
2. Tevin Peters
3. Lauren Bengoa
Longest Fish – Age 10 and Under
1. Renisha Clyne
2. Jasheem Frett
3. Derrick Rolle
Longest Fish – Age 11-17
1. Duquin Fleming
2. Joaquin Dagou
3. Verinique Homer
Largest Fish – Age 10 and Under
1. Jasheem Frett
2. Jonathan Turbe
3. Lauren Bengoa
Largest Fish – Age 11-17
1. Joaquin Dagou
2. Micah Arnold
3. Duquin Fleming
Most Fish – Age 10 and Under
1. Jonathan Turbe
2. Edric Martin
3. Daniel Turbe
Most Fish – Age 11-17
1. Michael Blanchard
2. Micah Arnold3. Peter Turbe
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