Wow, just the end of March and already it's been a busy year! Our cycle ends with the completion of the "Boy Scout" in August and it starts up again with the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show in late October. In December we drove from Miami to Stuart visiting the tackle shops and we plastered the boats in the marinas and those in the boat yards with our brochures. Then in early January, we went to the Fort Pierce Billfish Derby (them boys know how to fish!) where we were rode along on Greg Talbott's and Scott Adam's beautiful 'On Line' and what a blast that was! February came along and it was time for the Big Game Room at the Miami International Boat Show. What a great show that was, fishermen were all over the place! We did our hustle at the show, sold a lot of tee shirts to help pay for the trip - and we met lot's of new prospects - the grass isn't growing on our bottom!! These early in the year promotions are important, catching everyone before they plan their summer schedule. Now it's time to get down to the serious business of operating world class tournaments for experienced fishermen!
The "We's" that I keep mentioning in this newsletter are a loose knit group of hard working volunteers who annually operate three fishing tournaments for the benefit of the VI Council, Boy Scouts of America. No one is on the payroll - because there isn't one!! After thirty-one years of operating the successful "Boy Scout" tournament here in St. Thomas, we took our show on the road and now we are operating similar events in the Bahamas and Bermuda. Much of our success when setting up shop on foreign soil was our pledge to share our tournament profits with local youth organizations... but the biggest door opener of all, was our longstanding commitment to releasing these fish. Not one billfish has been put on the dock by our anglers in 18 years! Where is the present growth period taking us? Who knows, wherever - as long as we can continue to offer our anglers a first class product and make money to develop new youth programs at the same time! We've been approached to operate tournaments in other parts, and a reality/documentary fishing film is in the plans. One thing, you can bank on our promise to remain focused on helping kids, the fish and the sport! Thank you captains and anglers for your continued support - and to our sponsors - you are the best in the industry and we thank you very very much! Our sponsors become our partners and by association, we provide them with valuable exposure to our clients.
Harbour Island Open - June 8, 9, 10. This year we are fishing all of our tournaments right before the full moon. The blue marlin will be snapping! The HIO is advertised as an "Open", meaning anyone in the area is welcome to join in. There will be a sizeable Calcutta, good Daily's and nice tackle prizes are handed out. The event is based out of the Harbour Island Marina and slips are made available for our clients. If you plan to partake, please let us know as early as possible! The IGFA Certified Observers must be given time to secure the best price for their flight (they donated this) and we need to book their hotel rooms in advance. Marina manager Sherrill Pletscher will release the slips that we have on reserve as soon as your deposit for the tournament is received. By the way, Harbour Island is a beautiful place to bring the family. They are guaranteed a great time on the island (including riding horses on the beach) while you are off chasing marlin! This is also the first leg of the Bermuda Triangle Series and the BTS anglers will meet and agree on the dollar amount going into their 'series' pot... and they will be figuring out their game plan! If you choose the 50 lb. test and a big fish comes up, you risk getting dumped. If you pull out the 80's and 130's, the anglers on the next boat over will surly be pitching the 50's to all small fish. The BTS was designed to offer many choices.... but, it all comes down to the team with the most "points" at the end of the St. Thomas leg in August. Sailfish, Spearfish, White Marlin and Blue Marlin earn points in both the HIO and the BTS. To win the Bermuda Triangle Series you must fish two out of the three legs of the series - and one leg must be the "Boy Scout" in STT. Everyone join us for the HIO and if you win... maybe we'll see you the next month in Bermuda! Need a boat for the HIO? Call us toll free at 1-888-234-7484 or (340) 775-9500.
Bermuda Open - July 7,8,9. Anglers travel to Bermuda to capture their "Grander." Think for a moment though - again, here you are fishing a tournament that offers a "point spread" that compensates you for the use of the lighter test lines. Would you choose to fish 50, 80 or 130 lb. test here in the land of monster fish? That depends on your goals and by the fact that last year's event was won by Bob DeGabrielle aboard Bull Tolson's 'Sea Toy'. Bob and his fellow angler went with the 50's and he kicked butt - ending up with 5 blues and a white. Again, this is an "Open" tournament and anyone who will be in the area is welcome to join in. Be forewarned though.... you will be fishing against some of the best anglers in the sport! Not only will you have the famous Bermuda captains to contend with... you will also have the red hot Carolina boats to fend off - and lurking will be Capt. Ronnie Hamlin who recently announced the release of 124 sailfish (Guatemala) in one day! Will the legendary "Capt. Hook" win in Bermuda? We may get a special pot going on this matter - because one of his anglers is Davis Clapp of Team A-Fin-Ity fame. There will be great prizes and a sizeable Calcutta. Go to our website at www.abmt.vi under the "Bermuda" button to locate info on the local charter boats. We advise you to contact them now!!
US Virgin Islands Open/ABMT - The 'Boy Scout' Tournament - August 6,7,8,10. Here the line test decision is made for you - it is the supplied 50 lb. Sufix "Key Lime". We know after 33 years of record keeping that it takes 12 -14 minutes to catch the average blue marlin (280 lbs. in the VI) on 50lb. test. This is billed as the "Super Bowl of the Sport" and it is not to be missed! Spicing it up are the BTS anglers who will be fishing a "tournament inside a tournament" for other types of billfish - racking up their final points. On the docks you will see an amazing array of boats.... picture a line up of the who's who of the sport. Last year's event (108 blue marlin released by 38 boats) was won by angler Chester Chambers on the 58' Bayless 'Vintage' with Capt. Hans Haan at the wheel. Team A-Fin-Ity walked with the BTS "Best Overall" honors and Davis Clapp was also second place angler in the ABMT. BTS Teams finishing in order were Clapp's Team A-Fin-Ity, Talbott's Team On Line and Luis Bacardi's Team Rum Bum.
Checks for all tournaments are made out to: VI Council, Boy Scouts of America. Visit our website at www.abmt.vi to see tournament rules, the recommended hotels and all necessary information. You can also call us toll free 1-888-234-7484 or (340) 775-9500. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Other news from Camp Caribbean:
- Very sad to say that Jim Edmiston of El Zorro fame (one of the first to send a mothership operation around the world) and past St. Thomas resident - is in poor health with life threatening cancer. Carol Bareuther (well known writer who fortunately lives on St. Thomas) has profiled Jim's life and fishing career and her article will be up on the ABMT website on April 1st. Jim wants everyone to know that he has lived his dreams and hopes that you can too. Send us your photos of Jim and we'll post them along with his profile.
- We are pleased to announce a three-day BVI tournament planned for early summer. Fishing dates are June 8, 9, 10. The name of the event is the "Caribbean Friendship Cup" and it's going to be a casual, but competitive event. First Prize is $10,000!! $2500 per boat entry. This is the joint effort of fishing clubs in the region and the Government of the British Virgin Islands. Participants will enjoy a BBQ "Liar's Party" (and registration) at the VI Game Fishing Club on St. Thomas and fishing starts on the North Drop at 8:30 the next morning. A lobster bake on the beach in Anegada the next night - then the next two nights are spent at the Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour - with the final night's "Awards Dinner" dinner held at the upscale Little Dix Bay, compliments of the BVI Tourist Board. This will be an IGFA rules "Boat" tournament" (1-4 anglers) and we will be using 50 lb. test for all types of billfish (prizes for largest yellow fin and wahoo too). There won't be any billfish boated unless a potential world record is caught - digital cameras will verify the releases. See the new tournament info. on our website at www.abmt.vi. Yes, you can expect a Calcutta and Daily's too! Tournament profits will be shared with youth programs in the BVI, Puerto Rico and the USVI.
- We welcome Matt Holmes, our new Executive Director of Scouting. Charley Tinsley has moved to his new assignment in Virginia. Thank you Charley for all your help!
- Lastly (sorry for the world record long newsletter), the ABMT's website at www.abmt.vi will soon incorporate an informative and inter-reactive internet board. We will be using this as a means to stay in touch with our Board of Captains (BOC) and we will invite sports fishermen around the globe to express their opinions on a variety of subjects affecting the industry. The forum will be monitored for "Boy Scout" behavior and it will be free of any bad taste. We hope to create a means to unite fishermen and to make their views known. There are a lot of challenges facing the future of our sport and we intend to do our part to help make it better.
Good fishing to everyone! If you would like to be removed from our mailing list, please let me know. Jimmy