Competition is exhilarating, but perhaps its even more so when you’re up against yourself. This season, the Florida-based 58' Revenge, with it's owner/anglers Sam Jennings and his son Jon aboard, with long time captain Mike Lemon at the helm, achieved a milestone by catching and releasing blue marlin number 1000.
Lemon said "Catching 1000 blue marlin with one boat, one captain, one father and son team together was such a pleasure."
The road to this milestone in the Revenge team's career started eleven years ago when Lemon landed his helm position.
"At the time, Sam and I sat down, looked at the calendar, and planed the fishing days. That's when I realized we had an opportunity to catch more fish than I ever had before," Lemon explains.
Although Revenge has traveled to Mexico and Venezuela to fish, Lemon says 90 percent of the releases have been in the Virgin Islands.
"St. Thomas has a history of the best blue marlin bite near the full moon, so we try to predict the best window whether its the front side, back side or right on. It's difficult, but that window is what we factor in when making up our fishing schedule. We typically fish 50 to 80 days a season." Lemon explains.
Finding the right windows has definitely been one of Lemon's knacks.
Throughout the years, Lemon says: "We've had some stretches that really stand out. For example, right after Hurricane Marilyn in 1995, we released 26 blue marlin in four days and saw twice as many more fish. It was unbelievable. In 1999, we had a spectacular run of 101 blue marlin in 30 days and in a 4 day window released 27 total with ten fish on one of those days."
Many of Revenge's releases came during tournaments. Sam Jennings has scored as Top Angler three times and his son Jon on in the USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament. Just a month ago, Revenge won this year's Virgin Islands' Game Fishing Club's July Open Tournament with eight marlin releases, seven by Jon Jennings which earned him the prestigious Give'M Line Trophy.
Lemon say's "The excitement of catching a blue marlin is like catching your first fish every time. It's a thrill," Lemon says. "A thrill that the more your catch, the more your want to catch. The goal is to always catch more."
Editor's Note - In 2003, Capt. Mike Lemon became the first Captain to be inducted into the ABMT's Board Of Captains "Hall of Fame".