Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club
6501 Red Hook Plaza #201
St. Thomas, VI 00802
For immediate release
July 12, 2011
BLACK GOLD LEADS FIRST DAY OF 48TH ANNUAL JULY OPEN BILLFISH TOURNAMENT WITH THREE BLUE MARLIN RELEASES
Luck and skill combined to boost Black Gold to the top of the leaderboard during the first day of fishing in the 48th annual July Open Billfish Tournament (JOBT), fished out of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Harry Sargeant, owner of the 65-foot American Custom Yacht, scored one of the three blue marlin releases for the day, while fellow Florida-based anglers. Matt Melchiorre and Mike McCarthy each scored one apiece.
“It was a beautiful day for fishing out on the North Drop,” says Black Gold captain, Keith Bokenhagen. “It was slow in the morning. We caught the three blues in the space of an hour and a half between 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.”
Melchiorre released his blue first, followed by McCarthy and then Sargeant.
“No big fish stories,” says Capt. Bokenhagen. “They were all relatively small and the releases were quick, just what you want in a tournament where numbers count.”
Bokenhagen says the team saw three additional blue marlin, but none of them came up to take the bait.
“They were just lookers,” he says. “They didn’t cooperate so we could catch them.”
Reel Tight, an 80-foot Merritt, is in second place with two blue marlin releases. Both of these were caught by 14-year old Florida angler, Tristan Lambert, which puts the teenager in the lead as top angler. Lambert won the Top Junior angler prize in the 2010 JOBT and Reel Tight placed Top Boat in this tournament in 2008.
The 58-foot Revenge is in third in the boat standings with the release of one blue marlin and one white marlin. Florida-based owner and angler, Sam Jennings, is only one of three anglers in the history of this tournament to win Top Angler twice, in 2005 and 2006.
The talent pool in this tournament is definitely hot.
Fishing continues Wednesday with lines in at 8:30 a.m. and lines out at 5 p.m.
The JOBT concludes Thursday, July 14. Up for grabs is not only the Best Boat award, but the prestigious Capt. Johnny Harms ‘Give Him Line’ Trophy for the angler who releases the most billfish first. The Awards Ceremony will be held at 8 p.m. at the Virgin Islands Game Fishing Clubhouse in Red Hook.
For more information, visit: www.vigfc.com.