Catch a Whopper and Win Cash at Bastille Day Kingfish Tourney

By Carol Bareuther, Photo by Dean Barnes

Josh Slayton of St. John was last year’s winner who set a new record with a 58.78 pound kingfish.

Reel in a whopper kingfish and earn more than bragging rights.

The Northside Sportfishing Club’s Annual Bastille Day Kingfish Tournament — set for Sunday July 11th at Hull Bay Hideaway — is the chance to catch that “big one” and pocket some serious cash while enjoying the camaraderie of family and friends.

This inshore fishing event also offers more ways to win and more cash and prizes than any other Virgin Islands-based tournament of its kind. Festivities include live bands and a beach party. Plus, proceeds from the event benefit charitable community organizations.

More than 300 anglers — men, women, boys and girls of all skill level — are expected to enter. Thanks to the generosity of sponsors, entry fees are low, only  $45 for adults and $35 for juniors ages 8 to 16.

Coors Light and Snapple, distributed by Bellows International, Ltd., are once again on board as Gold Sponsors. The brands have donated over $100,000 in cash and product since signing aboard over a decade. Coors Light generously provides the official angler hats that have proven to be both a keepsake as well as symbol of an ace angler.

The Bastille Day Kingfish Tournament will be the first to welcome the arrival of the “Coors Light Super Cold Igloo” to the Virgin Islands.

Long time Silver Sponsor, Offshore Marine, the Yamaha and Yanmar distributor in the Virgin Islands, will donate cash prizes of $1,000 for Best Boat, $1,000 for Best Captain, $500 for Third Largest Kingfish, $500 for Best Male Angler, $250 for Best Junior Male Angler and $250 for Best Female Junior Angler.

Silver Sponsor, NEMWIL — managed in the USVI by Red Hook Agencies, Inc. and serving homeowners in the USVI for over 20 years — will donate the spectacular $2,000 cash prize for the Largest Kingfish prize.

In addition, Red Hook Agencies, Inc., will sponsor a $500 prize for the Best Female Angler. As an added enticement for junior anglers, Red Hook Agencies will also sponsor the special “Catch in the Hat” award for all registered junior anglers.

All junior angler names will be placed in a hat. The first eight names drawn will receive $50 cash and the next one win $100 dollars, for a total award of $500. Juniors must be present at the Awards Ceremony to win.

Meanwhile, Bronze Sponsor, TOPA Insurance Services Inc., will donate the $375 each in prizes for anglers catching the Largest Jack, Largest Barracuda, Largest Bonito and Largest Mackerel.

All registered anglers will receive an official Bastille Day T-shirt thanks to the combined sponsorship support of Coors Light and Bellows International Ltd, Offshore Marine and NEMWIL, as well as a goodie bag with goodies thanks to Hawaiian Tropic.

New this year, everyone is invited to enter the Scotiabank Sand Sculpture Contest. It’s free to enter. The theme will be nautical.

Judging of the sand sculpture contest will take place at 2 p.m. The winner receives a trophy and bragging rights and all participants will receive a ribbon.

Once again, local hotels and restaurateurs have contributed overnight stays and dinners for two, respectively, as additional prizes.

Last year, 57 boats and 208 anglers — including 36 junior anglers — competed.

Josh Slayton of St. John, who reeled in a record-setting 58.78-pounder aboard the 33-foot custom sport fisher, World Class Angler, caught the tournament’s Largest Kingfish.

Entry forms can be obtained from Bryan’s Electrical and Neptune Fishing Supplies. A captain’s meeting and registration will be at 7:30 p.m. at Hull Bay Hideaway on Friday, July 9.

Late registration will also be on Saturday, July 10, at Hull Bay Hideaway from noon until 7 p.m. Fishing starts at 5:30 a.m. on Sunday, July 11, and ends at noon sharp.

From noon until 2 p.m., while the weigh-master and judges go to work, all anglers can quench their thirst at either a Coors Light and Paradise Rum punch or Snapple open bar, depending on age. Island Oasis will also serve a complimentary blended fruit drink with Paradise Rum for adult anglers and virgin-style for junior anglers.

There will be drink, food (burgers, hot dogs, roti and Johnny cakes) and live music throughout the afternoon for community spectators who come down to see the catch and catch the fun for the day. Cool Session will play from noon until 5 p.m. and C4 from 6 until 10 p.m. The awards ceremony starts at 8 p.m. at Hull Bay Hideaway.

First organized by the Northside Sportfishing Club in 1987, the tournament has become one of the highlights of French Heritage Week July 8th-14th festivities. The event benefits St. Thomas Rescue, Sibilly School and Kidscope, as well as providing college scholarships to students of French descent. For more information call 998-0854.