The Contender 36 "Oyster" from Team Budget Marine emerged surprise overall winner of the 17th St. Martin Billfish Tournament on Saturday night, scooping up three of the evening's big awards; not bad considering at least two of their crew, captain included, are relatively new names in the big game fishing world.
But there was clearly experience on board and perhaps some old fashioned luck that resulted in Oyster claiming the Most Overall Points first prize trophy, Most Blue Marlin Releases prize, and Best Angler for real estate broker-turned-star angler Jonathan Schaede.
In total, "Oyster" released two Blue and a White Marlin to take the Most Points prize and have their name inscribed on the perpetual trophy.
A BVI Tourist Board representative presented the winning boat with a crystal burgee from the BVI, burgee for the boat, free registration for the Lowell Wheatley Memorial Gamefish Tournament in Anegada, and a 3-night 4-day stay at the Anegada Reef Hotel.
Oyster also received an invitation to the Offshore World Championships in Costa Rica in 2015.
"We had a good team on board, good spirit, and we worked really well together," said "Oyster's" Captain Tim Roosens who confessed he started fishing just three months ago. "On board we had Phil who is very experienced, Jonathan who reeled in all three fish, David, myself and a young chap called Benjamin joined us today."
Second Most Points Overall went to "Living the Dream" from St. Croix, USVI, and Third Most Points Overall to "Big Sailfish Too."
The crew from "Living the Dream" also went home substantially richer when they won the optional winner-takes-all Marlin Jackpot, sharing a US $15,000 pot.
Heaviest Blue Marlin of the tournament went to Captain Philippe Casaubon and crew from "One Shot" with their 489lb catch, the only marlin of the tournament to qualify on the scales.
In the Fun Prize category Heaviest Dolphin was won by the boat Stars with a 25lb Mahi Mahi caught on Friday and the Heaviest Wahoo of 39lbs went to Yellow Whip, caught on Sunday.
No Marlin made it to the scales on Saturday but 9 releases were recorded. Boats scoring a release included Ipamol (1), Furious (1), Sophisticated Lady (2), Stars (2), Thumper Rum Coke (1), Follow Me (1), and One Shot (1).
All winning boats won substantial cash prizes, diesel fuel from Delta Petroleum, lure packages by Legend Lures, and paintings.
The tournament attracted 27 boats and was once again successfully organised by the St. Martin Sport Fishing Association and Calypso Events. The event closed on the waterfront with a rocking set from the popular Orange Grove band.