We were too far to hear most of the other boats over the VHF, and by lunchtime when we had 6 wahoo on board sitting in the fish box with three black fin tuna we knew that we had done well but wondered how well. Our special spot had gotten quiet and we decided to move closer to home and as we did so we could finally make out some of the VHF talk from some of the other boats. IT sounded as though Derek Biel’s Obsession was doing as good as we were and Vernon Hall’s Sky Lark had been busy too. We knew that only when all the fish had been to the scales that a winner would be known. In our last tournament a month ago, we had lost an engine after we reeled in and powered up to come on in. That tournament had been a tough one. I have had a quote from Antigua Marine Services for just over US $10,000 to fix that engine. I wanted plenty of time to get back into Jolly Harbour before the 3:30 “back in port” time, so at 1:45 just after we landed our 7th wahoo we pulled in all of our gear, turned off the engines long enough to check the engine levels, and then powered happily home. Whether we had won or not, we all agreed that it had been a great day of fishing with plenty of action. Our fish were all pretty big and we would be able to pay for our expenses as well as have fresh fish this week. What we needed to find out was whether we were going to be “Best in the West”. Last year it was my dad who won the Best in the West tournament, but I knew he hadn’t done well today after a short phone call on the way in. He had gotten three wahoo. JD texted me to say that he and Tony on Adventure Antigua’s other boat, Xtreme, had also gotten 3 wahoo and a king mackerel. We had at least beaten them.
Back at my uncle’s dock where the weigh in and party were held, there were 28 boats all lined up to weigh fish. There were boats from St. Kitts and Nevis as well as from Montserrat and overall it had been a fantastic success. Sport fishing was alive and well in Antigua. As we downed rum and cokes and relaxed a bit we saw so many wahoos come to the scales. Vernon had caught 9 of them and one of his was the biggest fish so far at 50.6 pounds. It was our turn next and there was a collective moan when our biggest beat his by just .1 of a pound.