Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club
6501 Red Hook Plaza #201
St. Thomas, VI 00802
For immediate release
July 14, 2011
BLACK GOLD TOP BOAT, JENNINGS TOP ANGLER AT 48TH ANNUAL JULY OPEN BILLFISH TOURNAMENT
minute entry paid off for Harry Sargeant’s Black
Gold, which won Top Boat at the 48th Annual July Open Billfish Tournament
(JOBT), fished out of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, July 12 to 14. The
Florida-based team aboard the 65-foot American Custom Yacht released three blue
marlin the first day, none the second, and two the third for a total of five
blue marlin (2500 points), more than any other team in the 9-boat fleet.
"I roamed around on the North Drop today more so today than the first two and it paid off," explains Black Gold captain, Keith Bokenhagen.
Angler Matthew Melchiorre released both of Black Gold's fish on the tournament’s final day.
"The first came up on the long rigger and the second on a pitch bait," says Melchiorre.
The competition really heated up by mid-day on the final day of fishing. By then, the St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands-based charterboat, Mixed Bag II, a Luhrs 40 Express, had already scored two blue marlin releases and Black Gold only one. This tied Mixed Bag II and Black Gold with 2000 points apiece, although Black Gold led on time having released their tournament total of four fish first. From then on, the Black Gold team was definitely on tender hooks wondering if Mixed Bag II anglers would release another marlin to reel in the top boat prize. As it turned out, it was Black Gold's Melchiorre who then released his second blue for the day just after 2 p.m. to win Black Gold its Top Boat prize.
This is the first time Black Gold has won the JOBT. In 2008, the team did earn the Third Top Boat prize.
Mixed Bag II, with Capt. Rob Richards at the helm, finished Second Top Boat (2000 points), while the 58-foot Revenge, with Capt. Mike Lemon driving, finished Third Best Boat (1800 points).
Revenge angler, Jon Jennings, reeled in all four of his boat's fish–three blue marlin and one white–for 1800 points. This earned Jenning's the tournament's only angler prize, the prestigious Johnny Harms 'Give Him Line' perpetual trophy. Jennings won this prize in 2004 and his father, Sam Jennings, in 2005 and 2006.
“We have a
great crew, a great captain and we have fished together as a long time,” says
Jennings, “so the teamwork is there.”
Fourteen-year-old Florida-based angler, Tristan Lambert, fishing aboard his family’s 80-foot Merritt, Reel Tight, won the Top Junior Angler award with two blue marlin releases (1000 points).
Beautifully carved wood marlin heads, handcrafted by marine wildlife artist, David Wirth, were awarded to the winning teams.
In total, the 9-boat fleet released 20 marlin–19 blues and 1 white–over the three-day tournament. No fish were boated.
IGFA trained Observers, all members of the IGFTO (International Game Fish Tournament Observers), rode aboard each boat throughout the tournament to verify the releases.
Proceeds from the JOBT benefit the Boys & Girls Club of the Virgin Islands.
For more information and to register, visit: www.vigfc.com.