The best sports fishermen in the world, plus hundreds of blue marlin aficionados, are headed to St. Thomas this August for the 42nd USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament, known as the ‘Boy Scout’ tournament because of its chief beneficiary, and the second MarlinFest.
“We expect over 25 boats to fish and predict the marlin bite will really turn on as we get closer to the full moon on Aug. 10,” tournament director Jimmy Loveland said.
According to the news release issued by the tournament, ABMT events kick off Friday when the tournament’s ‘Board of Captains’ inducts Capt. Albert Johnston into its ‘Hall of Fame’ at a party on IGY’s American Yacht Harbor Marina’s Marlin Deck.
On Aug. 5, a kickoff party will be held at the Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club. This is followed by the traditional ‘Woo Woo’ Party at XO, honoring the memory of late angler, Russ Hensley, of Beastmaster fame.
The next day, Aug. 6, MarlinFesters cast off on the ‘BVI Blast,’ a seven-hour powerboat excursion to four neighboring British Virgin Islands. T he event will inclue swimming, beaching and snorkeling along with a lunch at Foxy’s Bar and Restaurant on Jost Van Dyke.
ABMT fishing starts Aug. 7, right after the Boy Scout Flag Raising Ceremony and Blessing of the fleet at 6:30 a.m. at the flagpole at AYH. Anglers, captains and crews competing will set their sights on catching and releasing the most blue marlin first. Organizers invite the public to catch the spirit of the sport by walking the docks and watching the big rigs come in around 6:30 p.m. and counting the number of marlin release flags flying from the outriggers.
Anglers in this conservation-oriented tournament have not killed a blue marlin since 1986. The more flags, the more marlin the boat released, and the winner is the one who releases the most blue marlin first. At 7:30 p.m., the public is invited to ‘Out Back Night’ under the tents at AYH with a feast of brisket, ribs, chicken and all the trimmings. The Boy Scouts of the Virgin Islands will serve up the food.
On Aug. 9 and 10, the MarlinFest ‘Wet N’ Wild’ two-day Center Console ‘All Billfish, Wahoo and Yellowfin Tuna’ tournament takes place. This event is for those anglers who enjoy big-game fishing on standup tackle. Charter boats are available; details are online at www.abmt.vi.
On shore Aug. 9th a whole day of MarlinFest activities has been planned for the public — the Red Hook ‘Jump Up’ at AYH. An Arts & Crafts and West Indian Food Fair will kick off the event from 11 am to 8 pm. Then, the Chowder Challenge of the restaurants is set for 4 pm to 8 pm. The evening caps off with a Caribbean-style ‘Jump Up’ show starting at 8:30 pm.
The ABMT anglers take a Lay-Day on Aug. 10, but the competition continues on land at the ‘Boy Scout’ Golf Tournament. Designed by world-renowned architects George and Tom Fazio, the 6,000 yard, par 70 Mahogany Run Golf Course attracts thousands of visitors each year, including celebrities and presidents alike.
The ABMT’s final fishing action concludes on Aug. 11. The awards ceremony will take place in the evening, along with the naming of the 2014 USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Top Angler, who will pocket a $10,000 cash prize.
Started by Chuck Senf back in 1972 – and nicknamed the Boy Scout Tournament since a portion of the proceeds have always benefited the VI Council of the Boy Scouts of America, one of Senf’s favorite charities – the ABMT has evolved into one of the most competitive saltwater sports fishing events in the world. The ABMT is fished under International Game Fishing Association (IGFA) rules, and is overseen by a professional ‘Board of Captains’ and well-qualified observers.
The ABMT and MarlinFest benefit the U.S. Virgin Islands Field Service Area, part of the National Capital Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), and is home to 8 scouting units serving over 100 youth in this U.S. territory. In particular, these events help to fun the Marine Vocational Program (MVP), which is operated and funded under the BSA by the organizers of the ABMT
Further information can be obtained by calling 1-340-775-9500 or 1-888-234-7484, or by sending email to email@example.com.
Daily updates and results will be posted at: www.abmt.vi