There’s an old fishermen’s saying that the sport is called fishing, not catching. But on Sunday, at the Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club’s 2020 Wahoo Windup, it was definitely a day of catching for St. Thomas’ Keith Terry Jr.
Terry, an avid angler, got his feel for a reel angling for bass in Arkansas. This was Terry’s first time competing in this event, and he caught the tournament’s largest wahoo, a 29-pounder.
Terry — along with fellow anglers Nathan Gatcliffe and Teddy Nicolosi — fished aboard the Calypso Marine 37 “Double Header” with Captain Kai Holmberg at the helm.
The Double Header team, like the crews aboard the 10 other boats in the tournament, put their lines in the water at 6:30 a.m. Then, they high-speed trolled for whopper wahoo off the southwest end of St. Thomas.
“We caught a barracuda about an hour after lines, but that species didn’t count to weigh-in in this tournament,” Terry said.
“Then, it was about 30 minutes before we finished fishing, I was actually dozing when I heard the sound of line peel off the right short rigger. ‘Game time,’ I thought. It took about 20 to 25 minutes to get it right up to the boat, gaffed it and got it on board. That catch saved our day.”
While Terry claimed the top angler award, his catch was 46 pounds shy of the big prize — a $10,000 bonus offered for the tournament angler who catches the largest wahoo over 75 pounds.
St. Thomas’ Eddie Bryan, angling off the 24-foot Rampage “Anger Management,” caught the second-largest wahoo, also a 29-pounder. Since both Terry and Bryan’s fish weighed the same, length was used as the tiebreaker, with Terry’s fish measuring 54¼ inches and Bryan’s 41 inches.
Rounding out the top three, St. Thomas’ Ben Knoeck on “Kings Ransom,” a 30-foot Scarab, landed the third-largest wahoo, a 28-pounder.
The best boat prize went to “Miss Lucy,” a 39-foot SeaVee driven by Captain Chris Berry. Anglers Mark Stiehler, Sommer Berry, Christine McAllister and Asher Fox collectively caught 36 pounds of wahoo.
“We headed to the north and trolled the edge of the shelf. We got the first one about 8 a.m., a doubleheader just after 9 a.m. and then nothing again until around 11 a.m.,” Berry said.
“Although I fish commercially and am out every day, it was good to see a tournament happen again.”
The 11-boat tournament fleet with 39 anglers landed a total of 158 pounds of wahoo.
“It was a great feeling to have so much cooperation and support in making this tournament happen,” said Kelvin Bailey Jr., president of the Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club’s board of directors. “The enthusiasm of our sponsors, contributors and supporters really made this event truly something special.”