The release of seven blue marlin put the 58-foot Revenge at the top of the leaderboard after two days of fishing in the 39th Annual U.S.V.I. Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament (ABMT). The Juno Beach, Florida-based boat, with father-and-son angling team of Sam and Jon Jennings, look poised to repeat their 2009 win. But Jon Jennings isn’t taking anything for granted.
“I won’t look at the results until 4:30 p.m. on Sunday. That’s what matters,” said Jennings, who added, “We had a great day.”
The Revenge added four blue marlin to their tally today.
“We saw six (blue marlin), hooked five and caught four,” says Revenge’s Capt. Mike Lemon. “We did the same thing as we did yesterday; we just saw more fish.”
Sam Jennings’ release of four fish total for the tournament put him in the top angler lead.
Chach, the Monterey 58 out of Louisiana that led on the first day, added another blue marlin to their total and finished the day second in the boat standings with five blues. The release was made by angler Damon Chouest. “We had a second fish on, one that would have been our sixth of the tournament, but we lost it within two feet of the boat,” said Chouest.
Chouest’s tournament total of three fish landed him third in the angler rankings.
No Excuse, a 48-foot Viking out of Florida, also released a tournament total of five fish and ends the day as third top boat.
Meanwhile, the Reel Tight, an 80-foot Merritt based out of Hillsborough Inlet, Florida, was yet another boat to have released five blue marlin for the tournament. Only one of these marlin was caught today and by angler James Lambert, Jr. This release earned Lambert second place in the angler standings with four blue marlin total.
“We saw five (blue marlin), hooked up four and only caught one today,” said Reel Tight’s Capt. Eddie Herbert. Herbert joked about the ones that got away: “They all started with a happy beginning, but they didn’t end up with the happy ending we had hoped for.”
One boat that definitely had a better day today was the Fish On, a 72-foot Jim Smith out of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, whose three anglers – John Vance, Greg Newell and Robert Kathary – each released a blue marlin.
“We had a great day today,” said owner/angler, Robert Kathary, who took delivery of his new vessel in April, fished the Bahamas, won the Bermuda Triple Crown and came straight to St. Thomas for the tournament.
A total of 65 blue marlin were released by the 20-boat fleet over two days of fishing.
The angling action continues on Friday.
Viewers can get in on the fun from anywhere in the world by entering the boat pool on line for the chance to win prizes. Visit: www.abmt.vi/pages/boatpool.htm to learn more.
The public can catch the spirit of sport fishing by ‘doing the docks’ or watching the big rigs come in around 6:30 p.m. and counting the number of marlin release flags flying from the outriggers. The more flags, the more marlin the boat released. Commemorative tournament T-shirts will be on sale each night of the event and there will be a cash bar and other festivities on the docks.
On Friday, enjoy Cheese Burgers in Paradise. The Boy Scouts invite visitors and locals alike to their cookout at Camp Wahoo, located by the tournament tent at the American Yacht Harbor Marina. The Caribbean Night Show starts at 8 p.m.
The ABMT is fished under International Game Fishing Association (IGFA) rules, and is overseen by a professional Board of Captains and well-qualified observers.
The tournament benefits the Virgin Islands Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
For more information, call: 1-888-2-FISHVI (1-888-234-7484), or 775-9500, or Fax: 340-779-8605, or visit www.abmt.vi