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HomeNewsArchivesJichi Clings to Lead After Going Fishless on Marlin Tourney's Second Day

Jichi Clings to Lead After Going Fishless on Marlin Tourney's Second Day

Team Wave Paver, from left, Ryan House, Garett Van Orman, Capt. Russel Sinclair, Steve Davis, Jr. Davis, Jerry Owens. (Photo by Dean Barnes)The second day of the USVI Open Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament proved the adage "There’s a reason they call the sport ‘fishing,’ and not ‘catching.’"

After Thursday’s opening day in which the team of anglers aboard Jichi, a 68-foot Paul Martin, released a near-tournament record of seven blue marlin, they went fishless on the second day.

But even though they’d been skunked by Mother Nature Friday, none of the other 21 boats surpassed Jichi’s two-day total, so the team from Miami, Fla., remains in the lead.

The luck was better aboard Reel Affair, Carlos Ramirez’ 56-foot Viking. The Puerto Rico-based team released two blues Friday. When combined with the four blues released Thursday, Reel Affair’s total of six total put them alone in second place.

The biggest turnaround belonged to the team on Wave Paver. The crew aboard Junior Davis’ 61-foot Garlington jumped from 12th to 3rd on the Best Boat leaderboard and scored high boat for day 2 by being the first to release three blue marlin.

“We headed up to Anegada and I released our first blue marlin on a pitch bait within the first hour after lines in,” said Davis, whose Wave Paver team won the tournament in 2013 as well as the 2014 Bahamas Billfish Championship. “My son, Steve Davis, caught our second blue, also on pitch baits. But the best came just after 2 pm when both my son and I hooked up a double-header.”

The senior Davis was attempting to hook his marlin off a pitch bait when his son snagged a second blue marlin off the long rigger. Davis was still trying to bait his marlin when it circled around, took a bite at the fish-attracting daisy chain of lures and got hooked in the process. Both father and son then stood side-by-side in the cockpit fighting their double-header for a good 10 to 15 minutes. The younger Davis released his fish, leaving his father to make it a pair.

“When I went to catch mine, the fish had totally spooled the reel," the older Davis said. "We backed the boat down and were about 100 feet from my fish. It was then that I saw the chain wrapped around the fish. I thought it had fallen off during the hook-up. The chain created such a drag that it ended up breaking the line. Even though I lost the fish, it was incredible to be fighting a fish with my son at the same time. It’s an experience that makes me feel like I’ve already won.”

Wave Paver wasn’t the only boat to release three blue marlin for the day. Islamorada, Fla., angler Robert Helms caught two and Atlanta, Georgia’s Dr. John Cole released one blue marlin from aboard Cole’s 65-foot Weaver, Viva la Vida.

“Both of my fish put up a fight,” says Helms. “The first stayed down and took about 55 minutes. The second was over 400 pounds. John’s fish was perfect – about 150 pounds and released in 10 to 15 minutes.”

A total of 20 blue marlin were released on the tournament’s second day, a total of 45 so far for the tournament.

The angling action continues Saturday and concludes Monday, when teams set their sights on catching and releasing the most blue marlin first.

The public can catch the spirit of the sport by walking the docks and watching the boats come in around 6:30 p.m. The number of flags flying off a boat’s outriggers indicate the number of marlin released that day. The more flags, the more marlin the boat released, and the winner is the one who releases the most blue marlin first.

Anglers in this conservation-oriented tournament have not killed a blue marlin since 1986. Commemorative tournament T-shirts, hats and more, with original art designed by marine artist Carey Chen, will be on sale each night of the event.

Saturday the public can take part in the Red Hook "Jump Up" at American Yacht Harbor marina as part of MarlinFest. The schedule opens with the Arts & Crafts and West Indian Food Fair from 11 a.m. to 8 pm. The Chowder Challenge of the restaurants happens from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. The evening caps off with a Caribbean-style "Jump Up" show starting at 8:30 p.m.

The ABMT anglers take a lay-day on Sunday, but the competition continues on land at the MarlinFest "Boy Scout" Golf Tournament at Mahogany Run.

Started by Chuck Senf back in 1972, the ABMT has evolved into one of the most competitive saltwater sports-fishing events in the world. The ABMT is fished under International Game Fishing Association rules, and is overseen by a professional board of captains and qualified observers.

The tournament benefits the U.S. Virgin Islands Field Service Area, part of the National Capital Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America and helps fund the Marine Vocational Program, which is operated and funded under the BSA by the organizers of the ABMT. The MVP program teaches local Scouts to swim, scuba dive, sail and more to interest them to pursue a career in the marine industry.

More information is available by calling 1-340-775-9500 or 1-888-234-7484 or sending email to loveto@islands.vi. Those interested can follow the action on Facebook. Daily updates and results will be posted at: www.abmt.vi

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