Welcome to the Super Bowl of Sportfishing! Observer Information BTS Leg #3 US Virgin Islands

The USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament has grown into one of the most prestigious fishing events in the world! With so much talent involved... it usually takes a combination of both luck and skill to win it!

Virgin Island's angler Chuck Senf started the USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament in 1972. Senf and fellow sports fishermen created this tournament as a vehicle to spread the word about the great Blue Marlin fishery in the Virgin Islands.   

Photo Credit:  Stewart Loveland

In addition, the money generated by the tournament was donated to benefit the Virgin Islands Council of the Boy Scouts of America, one of Senf's favorite charities. The USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament has since been informally known as the "Boy Scout" Tournament.

Over the next several years, as the originators of the tournament became less active, a new generation of volunteers took over (early 1980's) and infused fresh ideas. The major goal of the tournament during this transition time, was to create a competition that would attract both the local fishermen and the visiting anglers from the continental United States.

Concurrent with the transition in the tournaments leadership, was the ABMT's development of the "modified release" format, a scoring method that allows anglers to either boat or release their catches. Subsequently, the USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament became the first fishing event in the world to release Blue Marlin. Since the development of it's "modified release" format - there has only been 3 blue marlin put on the dock! What amazes most, is the fact that the "minimum weight" requirement for twenty-five years was just 400 lbs. With each tournament averaging 100+ blue marlin it's obvious that the anglers and crews did not want to kill the fish weighing more than 400 lbs. Much of the success is due to the use of highly competent observers.

In 2003 (31st. year of operation) the minimum requirement was raised to the weight of a "Potential IGFA World Record." If a boated blue marlin weighs enough to become a new world record, the angler is rewarded the same number of points as a released fish. If the fish weighs under the record - no points are earned.

To construct a tournament that the Florida, as well as local fishermen, would be sufficiently enticed to enter, necessitated a precise set of rules. In addition to the basic, International Game Fishing Association (IGFA) rules, the Tournament Director began writing a special set of regulations which would tighten and expand on those proffered by IGFA.