Big fish and lots of them is what anglers — and the crowds that came to watch and have fun at the Coors Light and Snapple party — enjoyed at the 21st Annual Bastille Day Kingfish Tournament, July 12 at Hull Bay Hideaway.
When the official weigh-in was complete, it was a St. John angler who reeled in the largest kingfish. Josh Slayton aboard the 33-foot custom sport fisher World Class Anglers caught a record-setting 58-78-pound kingfish.
“We headed off the south side of St. John and caught a small kingfish first,” Slayton said. “Then, Chris (Capt. Chris Tronquet) told me to check the baits and that’s when I saw the hit on the flat line.”
“The kingfish peeled off about 200 yards of line, so we knew it was big. I finally reeled him in about 15 minutes later. When Chris put the gaff in him and pulled him aboard we could see how big he was.”
For his efforts, Slayton pocketed $2,000 in cash for his largest Kingfish, sponsored by NEMWIL, managed in the USVI by Red Hook Agencies, Inc.
The St. John boat’s success was due to a combination of skill and luck, explained World Class Anglers captain Chris Tronquet.
“It was pretty cool,” said Tronquet. “During 21 years of the tournament and no one brought in a kingfish as big as ours. A lot of it was being in the right place at the right time and making sure that you’ve done all your work to prepare for bringing in a fish that big.”
The crew aboard World Class Anglers included the largest haul by a female in the tournament. Tarn Hildreth reeled in a total of 31.19-pounds of fish to pick up the Best Female Angler award and a $500 cash prize from Red Hook Agencies.
“Tarn’s the best female angler and we have all kinds of cool stuff,” said Tronquet.
The Annual Bastille Day Kingfish Tournament is a favorite for the popular St. John fishing charter captain.
“There are lots of prizes and good money and its a lot of fun,” Tronquet said. “We always go over for the tournament, but we’ve been doing so well, I think they’re getting sick of us over there.”
The second largest kingfish prize went to 14-year-old junior angler, Robert A. Greaux, Jr., who caught a 56.66-pounder aboard C-Hawk. Greaux won $750 in cash.
Eddie Bryan, fishing aboard Jus Chillin, reeled in a 41.91-pounder to win the third largest kingfish cash prize of $500, sponsored by Offshore Marine and Yanmar.
With 18 fish (141.39-pounds) caught total, Shawn Berry aboard Weapon of Mass Destruction won Best Boat and was awarded $1,000 cash from Offshore Marine and Yanmar.
Meanwhile, the catch of 4 kingfish (50.38-pounds) earned Fernando Silva, aboard Karaho, the Best Captain award and $1,000 cash from Offshore Marine and Yanmar.
Raymond Petersen’s catch of a total of 141.39-pounds of fish, aboard Weapon of Mass Destruction, earned him Best Male Angler, and a $500 cash prize from Offshore Marine and Yanmar.
The Best Junior Male prize of $250 cash from Offshore Marine and Yanmar, went to Robert A. Greaux, Jr., who caught the 56.66-pound kingfish aboard, C-Hawk.
Nicole Berry won the Best Junior Female prize, $250 cash from Offshore Marine and Yanmar, with the catch of 49.28-pounds of fish, aboard Friendship.
Although the tournament is focused around kingfish, other species earned anglers $375 cash each courtesy of TOPA Insurance Services, Inc.
Wayne Bryan caught the largest jack, a 14.32-pounder, from aboard Karaho. Dale Brin reeled in the largest barracuda, a 21.70-pounder from aboard We Be Fishin.
The largest bonito was caught aboard Weapon of Mass Destruction by Raymond Petersen, and it was 2.94-pounds. Finally, Edgar Bengoa reeled in the largest mackerel, an 8.24-pounder, from Tootse.
This year, thanks to a unique partnership between Senator Patrick Simeon Sprauve, the St. Thomas Fishermen’s Association and the Northside Sportfishing Club, Charlotte Amalie High School student, Keith Roy Colbourne, in recognition for his many hours of volunteer community service, had a chance to join experienced fishermen and fish the tournament aboard the Ms. Andrea.
“It was a fun day,” said Colbourne, who smiled and held up his catch.
Winners also received overnight stays at local hotels, dinners for two, and a variety of luxury gifts and excursions all generously donated by the Virgin Islands’ business community.
Judges Herman Richardson and Kevin LaPlace, Sr., officially weighed in the catches.
After weigh-in, the fun continued onshore at Hull Bay Hideaway with a Coors Light and Snapple party, both sponsored by Coors Light, distributed by Bellows International Ltd. Island Oasis also served a complimentary blended fruit drink with Paradise Rum for adult anglers and virgin-style for junior anglers.
Cool Session Brass entertained throughout the afternoon. Later, crowds gathered inside Hull Bay Hideaway for the Awards Ceremony, where the Spectrum Band entertained.
All 36 registered junior anglers were eligible for a special “Catch In The Hat” award. In this award, sponsored by Hull Bay Hideaway and Red Hook Agencies, the first 16 names drawn from a hat received $50 cash and the last two names called won $100 dollars each.
Nearly $12,000 was awarded this year in cash and prizes.
Each year, the Northside Sportfishing Club makes donations to community organizations and individuals. This year’s beneficiaries, The Joseph Sibilly School, St. Thomas Rescue, the American Red Cross, Kidscope and the Family Resource Center. The Club also awards college scholarships.