July 16, 2006 — Girls just want to have fun. And, that's just what St. Thomas' Jill Nicolini did on Sunday, when she decided she didn't want to sit at home.
Instead she accompanied her husband, Michael, and Capt. Lou Elias, as they headed out aboard Elias' 33-foot boat, Islander, for a day of fishing in the Annual Bastille Day Kingfish Tournament, hosted by the Northside Sportfishing Club at Hull Bay Hideaway.
"My husband and I just moved to the island in February after Hurricane Katrina destroyed our home. He fished in another tournament earlier this year, but this was the first one for me," says Nicolini, who does have experience sportfishing off the Gulf of Mexico.
The three-member crew of Islander set off from the south side of St. Thomas and trolled between Buck Island to the east and west of the Charlotte Amalie harbor. "We caught our first fish at 5:45 a.m.," says Nicolini, as she and
her fellow anglers enjoyed a Coors Light, distributed by the tournament's major sponsor, Bellows International Ltd.
Nicolini says: "From then, until about 10 a.m., it was steady. We never had two on at the same time, but they just kept coming in. I ended up catching eight fish."
One of these was a 19.33-pound kingfish, which won the Largest Kingfish prize for Nicolini – $2,000 in cash sponsored by N.E.M. (West Indies) Insurance Limited, managed in the U.S.V.I. by Red Hook Agencies, Inc.
The Second-Largest Kingfish and Third-Largest Kingfish prizes went to angler Ruth Gomez, with a 19.15-pound and 17.14-pound catch, respectively, aboard the Lady Marie. Gomez received $750 cash sponsored by FedEx and $500 cash sponsored by Bellows International Ltd., and other luxury gifts.
With 17 fish caught total, Julian Aubain, aboard the Lady Marie, won the Best Boat award. He pocketed $1,000 cash from Offshore Marine and Yanmar, in addition to many other prizes.
The catch of seven kingfish earned Lou Elias, at the helm of Islander, the Best Captain award and another $1,000 cash award from Offshore Marine and Yanmar.
Shawn Berry, fishing aboard the Beva Feva, caught 90.31 pounds of eligible species fish to land the Best Male Angler award and a $500 cash prize from Offshore Marine and Yanmar.
Ruth Gomez set a tournament record with a weight of 138.94 pounds of eligible species fish to earn the Best Female Angler award and a $500 cash prize from Offshore Marine and Yanmar.
In the junior angler divisions, Antoine Greaux, fishing from the Red Bikini, caught 59.15-pounds of eligible species fish to win Best Junior Male and $250 from Offshore Marine and Yanmar.
Likewise, Celina Edwards, caught 32.65-pounds of eligible species fish from Les Freres to take home the Best Junior Female award of $250 cash from Offshore Marine and Yanmar.
Although the tournament is focused around kingfish, other species earn anglers prizes too. Gerald Greaux caught the Largest Jack, a 13.97-pounder, from aboard Red Bikini. Louis LaPlace reeled in the Largest Barracuda, a 25.36-pounder from aboard Ocean Runner. The Largest Bonito was caught aboard Rampage by Brian Kamin, and was 5.06 pounds. Junior angler Fernando Bryan, fishing from Livin Rich, caught the Largest Tuna, a 10.62-pounder. Johnny Questel reeled in the Largest Mackerel, a 6.80-pounder from Off Da Rock. No dolphin were caught this year.
Judges Herman Richardson and Kevin LaPlace Sr. officially weighed in the catches.
Each year the Northside Sportfishing Club makes donations to community organizations and individuals. This year's beneficiaries are The Joseph Sibilly School, St. Thomas Rescue, the American Red Cross, Kidscope and the Family Resource Center. The club also awarded college scholarships to Shanelle Brin, Kimberly Olive and Matthew Cobb.
272 Anglers (includes 34 Jr. Anglers)
PLACEMENT ANGLER LBS BOAT
Largest Kingfish Jill Nicolini 19.33 Islander
2nd Largest Kingfish Ruth Gomez 19.15 Lady Marie
3rd Largest Kingfish Ruth Gomez 17.14 Lady Marie
Best Boat Julian Aubain 17 fish Lady Marie
Best Captain Lou Elias 7 kingfish Islander
Best Female Ruth Gomez 138.94* Lady Marie
Best Male Shawn Berry 90.31 Beva Feva
Best Junior Male Antoine Greaux 59.15 Red Bikini
Best Junior Female Celina Edwards 32.65 Les Freres
Largest Jack Gerald Greaux 13.97 Red Bikini
Largest Barracuda Louis LaPlace 25.36 Ocean Runner
Largest Bonito Brian Kamin 5.06 Rampage
Largest Tuna Fernando Bryan 10.62 Livin Rich
Largest Mackerel Johnny Questel 6.80 Off Da Rock
Largest Dolphin – – –
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