Every Summer Needs a Vacation
Marlin Fishing in St. Thomas UVI
On August 8th Robert Conley, Marion Jones, Devin Silas and I took a break from our summer routines in Ft. Pierce to join up with an interesting group of fisher people headed for the USVI Atlantic Blue Marlin or “Boy Scout” Tournament in St Thomas, VI. While Devin went there to work as a mate on one of the boats, the rest of us were signed up as ‘observers’ to work with the tournament director and world renowned founder of “The Boy Scout”, Jimmy Loveland.
Our 2hr flight out of Ft Lauderdale included approx. 22 of the 36 overall ‘observer contingent’ to St Thomas, where we were treated to a delightful tour of the island and were then dropped off at a rather grand hotel overlooking St. John’s and other tropical vistas. Unlike the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands have some serious topography. Formed in part by volcanic eruptions, the islands look more like Hawaii than the flatlands of my old stomping grounds in the Abacos.
Four days of tournament fishing on 36 of the world’s finest fishing machines was a serious matter for an observer. With prize money in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, decisions made by observers (who fished on a different boat each day!), had to be accurate and concise. Woe be unto the man or woman who made a bad call, as this was very serious business to anglers vying for the prestige and prize money of a win at the ‘Boy Scout’!
All things considered, it was not only a privilege but the chance of a lifetime to be a part of this fascinating event. To top things off on our trip to the USVI’s, the four of us met up with Ft Pierce native Capt Mike Brady, and marlin fished on our ‘lay day’ (one day set aside in the tournament in case of a bad weather day). Marion was by far the star angler catching a 400 lb plus marlin on a ‘pitch bait’ fifteen feet from the transom of the “Cowpoke”!
Capt Mike, aka ‘Brady’, also of Ft Pierce, 1st mate Dewey and 2nd mate Devin were a finely honed team that day and it was more than apparent that we were under the tutelage of a sage and practiced skipper in the world of marlin fishing. Backing down with unfettered alacrity on all three of our marlin releases that day, Brady added the ultimate thrill to an already fantastic trip.
And….we arrived home to excellent fishing on the Treasure Coast. Well no, there were no marlin, but extraordinary catches of both sailfish and wahoo in 80’ to 200’ have been the order of the day in mid August. Superlative cobia catches were reported between St Lucie and Ft Pierce last week and a steady bite of both AJ’s & kings promise great Treasure Coast fishing into Sept. With tropical storms on the horizon, it looks like the ‘mill pond’ we fished in all summer is a thing of the past, but it won’t be long before the mahi bite picks up and trolling dead bait will be the order of the day!