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3rd Annual Isle de Sol Fishing Tournament

June’s Isle de Sol Fishing Tournament, held in conjunction with the St Maarten Big Game Fishing Foundation, drew 14 entries and raised over $1,000 for the Prince Willem Alexander School.

Ten boats eventually took part in the competition, with Nicky Johnson from Saba – last year’s champion - winning the prize for having travelled the furthest.

Since the object of the tournament is to raise money for the Special Education School – Scotiabank pledged to match all money raised – the mood was light-hearted and egos left at the dock. All the better, with one boat radioing in a 60lb catch that turned out to be 27lbs at weigh in, and another submitting a film of its releases which revealed, once developed, nothing more than a Boobie Bird!

Third prize went to the tournament’s first ever winner, Lee Halley, who caught the second heaviest fish, a 40lb Yellow Fin Tuna. Second prize, for most combined weight, went to Striker, captained by Gerrit Matser, for a 99.2lbs total catch.

Philipsburg-based Striker also walked off with the First Prize for the 42.6lbs Yellow Fin Tuna landed by youngster Mario-Pierre Jonhan (pictured with trophy).

According to Captain Matser, the strategy of fishing off Marlin Boulevard near Anguilla paid off. The boat came across what it thought was a net in the water, and realised it was a ‘bait ball’ – schools of ‘Hedgehog fish’ marshalled into a funnel by Yellow Fin tuna. “We stayed there all day,” said Matser. “Tuna are not an easy fish to hook –they don’t strike often, but when we got them in the boat, their stomachs were full of bait fish.”

A BBQ, raffle and kayak relay race by the Friendly Island Aquatic Club also helped raise funds, with “nearly all marine businesses within a 20-mile radius giving a donation”, according to event co-organiser Laurie De Robles.

More information about the St Maarten Big Game Fishing Foundation can be obtained from Robbie Cijntje on (599) 557 0106.

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