A double-header hook-up landed anglers April Newland and Mike Landgraf cash prizes for the two largest wahoo caught in the Wahoo Windup, hosted by the Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club (VIGFC) and sponsored by Budget Marine. Newland’s 41.14-pounder weighed in as the largest, however still some 34 pounds short of earning the $10,000 prize offered for a wahoo over 75-pounds. Landgraf reeled in the November 17 tournament’s second largest wahoo, a 24.75-pounder. Both Newland and Landgraf fished aboard local sports fishing charter boat, Abigail III, helmed by Capt. Red Bailey. Abigail III won Best Boat for the most wahoo by count with two total.
“We had already caught 10 barracuda when the rod went down strong,” says Newland, who fought and caught the winning fish while standing up. “It was a fighter. It took me about 15 to 20 minutes to reel it in.”
Newland adds, “It would be great to get more women involved in fishing. It’s so exciting and so much fun.” Meanwhile, seconds after Newland’s fish hit the bait, Landgraf’s line went taught with a second wahoo.
“We ended up fighting both fish at the same time,” explains Landgraf. Newland’s husband, Byron, provided the luck by suggesting the Abigail III fish off the south side of St. Thomas due to heavy seas rolling in to the north.
“I first suggested we go north, but then followed Byron suggestion due to the weather,” says Capt. Red Bailey. “But I’ll tell you, that 100-pound wahoo is still out there in the north!”
Michael Berry, fishing aboard the boat, Anger Management, reeled in the third largest wahoo, a 20.68-pounder. Only three wahoo were caught by the fleet of 7 boats and 30 anglers. However, all boats reported plenty of barracuda with one boat getting as many as 35 bites. Personnel from the Department of Planning & Natural Resources Fish & Wildlife Department conducted the official weigh-in at IGY’s American Yacht Harbor Marina.
Prizes were presented at an Awards Dinner at the VIGFC held Monday night. “We had a great tournament and we invite everyone to come out and fish with us in future tournaments,” says tournament director, Paul Meyer.
Two anglers have pocketed the $10,000 cash prize in the last 10 years. In 2012, Clive Mahabir, aboard local charter boat Mixed Bag, reeled in a whopping 91.3-pounder, while in 2003 Mike Kuszewski, fishing aboard the local charter boat Black Pearl, landed a 94.1-pound wahoo, which remains the tournament record.
The VIGFC appreciates the sponsorship of Budget Marine and Glazer’s Premier Distributors, LLC. For more information about the VIGFC and future tournaments, visit: www.vigfc.com