While Todd Gentilucci won a prize for the biggest fish, the Women’s Coalition of St. Croix was the big winner Saturday of the Golden Hook Fishing Club’s St. Croix Summer Slam Fishing Derby — with a donation of half of the derby’s earnings.
The fishing tourney comprised 10 boats, including one sailboat, each paying a $200 entry fee. The boats launched at 6:30 a.m., pulled in their lines at 2:30 p.m. and weighed in between 3 and 5 p.m. Prizes included cash and gift certificates from the Beeston Health Club, St. Croix Marine, and other merchants.
Prizes were awarded for the three largest fish — regardless of species — caught during the 8-hour competition. Gentilucci reeled in a mahi-mahi weighing almost 35 pounds on board the motor yacht, Ruffian.
Jose Sanchez won second place for his 30-pound wahoo caught on board La Mansagera with teammate Alejandro Leon. Third place was won for a 29-pound wahoo caught by Nicholas Charles on Miss Nailah. Dave Sommer and his sons on Island Time – the only sailboat to enter – won $500 in the sailboat class.
The anglers also brought in black-fin tuna, barracuda, and kingfish. Several fishermen gathered around the weigh-in station agreed that catching kingfish and mahi-mahi is “unusual, this time of year.”
Edgar Bengoa, captain and owner of Golden Eagle, said he was “holding on for dear life” while his crew landed three tuna at the same time — rocking the boat so much that half of his video was filmed sideways. Their total catch was nine fat tuna.
During the day, staff and volunteers from the Women’s Coalition sold T-shirts and raffle tickets and visited with the anglers’ families and friends.
Jeremy Janusziewicz, event organizer for the Golden Hook, said it was nice to have people around to watch the fish weigh-in.
“The women with the Women’s Coalition have been, hands down, incredible. It’s been a great event — double the attendance,” Janusziewicz said.
The decades-old nonprofit Women’s Coalition provides services for victims of violence, including crisis intervention and emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence.
Coalition Executive Director Clema Lewis gave board members Aisha Webster-Glenn and Venne Williams credit for reaching out to Golden Hook to partner for the fundraising event. Williams said they wanted to do something to engage the community but not a typical beach party or picnic. Webster-Glenn added that they planned the event in only six weeks.
“It (domestic violence) happens on land and sea. Nobody is not affected — all ages, races, sexes, ethnicities,” Lewis said. “It is important that nice and kind people all over support the work of the Women’s Coalition,” Lewis said.