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The 2009 Toyota Wahoo Wind-Up: St. Croix’s Diaz Is Top Angler; St Thomas’ Gatcliffe Is Second Top Angler

Winning St. Thomas boat team, Double Header IV, with Capt. Jonathan Gatcliffe (second from left) and Second Top Angler, Nathan Gatcliffe (third from left). Credit: Dean Barnes

The 2009 Toyota Wahoo Wind-Up: St. Croix’s Diaz Is Top Angler; St Thomas’ Gatcliffe Is Second Top Angler

None of the 114 anglers aboard 27 boats competing in the 2009 Toyota Wahoo Wind-Up fished on Nov.1 caught a 75-plus pound wahoo to win the highly prized Toyota 4-wheel drive extended-cab truck. But, that didn’t mean there wasn’t good fishing, and good catching, including some real whopper wahoos reeled in.
St. Croix’s Curtis Diaz, fishing aboard the Wild Cat, caught the largest wahoo, a 51.5-pounder, and pocketed a $1000 cash prize
“We started out of Green Cay and worked our way west along the northshore of St. Croix to Ham’s Bluff. That’s where we caught our first wahoo,” Diaz said. “Then we went down to Frederiksted and south to Sandy Point. We were getting bored when all of a sudden the reel started screaming with line peeling off. That’s when we knew it was a big one.”
Eight-year-old Nathan Gatcliffe of St. Thomas, aboard the Double Header IV, caught the second largest wahoo, a 47.4-pounder.
“Two months ago I told him we were going to fish the wahoo tournament together this year,” says Nathan’s father, St. Thomas Charter Captain Jonathan Gatcliffe. “When we went out, I told the guys to let my son be the first up. It just so happened that the first fish was the biggest. We put him in the chair, winched him in and he reeled in the wahoo.”
Nathan said, “It only took me about 10 minutes. It was the biggest we got all day.”
The secret to catching plenty of wahoo, says Gatcliffe, “is trolling at high speed. You can cover more ground that way too.”
Gatcliffe earned the best boat prize for St. Thomas with the catch of five wahoo weighing 173.07 pounds. Meanwhile, Two Fer Sure won top boat for St. Croix with the catch of three wahoo weighing 113.2-pounds. Both captains won $1000 cash.
Anglers who caught one of the ten largest wahoo were awarded cash prizes. In addition to Diaz and Gatcliffe, winners were: St. Croix’s Tom Hobbs, with a 45.7-pounder off Big Bills; St. Thomas’ James MacNeil, with a 42.9-pounder from Mixed Bag; St. Croix’s Tom Sedgwick, with a 39.9-pound wahoo aboard Two Fer Sure; St. Croix’s Daniel Griffin, with a 39.6-pounder off Maragata; St. Thomas’ Steve Morgan, with a 38.58-pounder from Double Header IV; St. Croix’s Dieter Oelschlager, with a 38.2-pounder from Wild Cat; St. John’s Andrew Hollen, with a 35.27-pounder from Cloud Break; and St. Thomas’ Steve Morgan, with a 34.17-pounder from Double Header IV.
A total of 28 wahoo, collectively weighing 934.7 pounds, were caught. Personal from the Department of Planning and Natural Resources’ Division of Fish and Wildlife conducted the weigh-in.
Over $5,500 in cash and prizes, plus the possibility of winning the Toyota truck, made up the prize booty in this tournament.
“This year we had some of the best weather in a Toyota Wahoo Wind-Up that anyone can remember,” said tournament director Jim Jamison. “It made for a nice day, especially for the smaller boats.”
The big thrill – and challenge – in this tournament was that both St. Thomas-St. John-based anglers and St. Croix-based anglers competed at the same time. The suspense leading up to the Monday night awards ceremonies on both islands was palpable as anglers waited to hear who won once results were tallied and merged.
Both the Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club on St. Thomas and Golden Hook Fishing Club on St. Croix hosted the 2009 Toyota Wahoo Wind-Up.
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