Bastille Day Kingfish Tournament Set for Sunday

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That big?? These and other whoppers will be told and caught at the July 15 Bastille Day Kingfish Tournament. If you have a boat and some lines to cast, you can register for a chance to land a load of cash.

St. Thomas’ fishing community is expected to celebrate its heritage this weekend with the running of the annual Bastille Day Kingfish Tournament. The Northside Sportfishing Club-hosted tournament gives competitors a chance to catch that ‘big one’ and pocket $2000 in cash.

Didn’t catch a colossal king? No problem! Organizers say there are more than a dozen other ways to win.

“The fish have been biting and we expect really good fishing,” says Catherine Bryan, one of the team of six tournament organizers. “Plus, with over $13,000 up for grabs in cash and prizes, we are expecting record attendance, record catches and record fun.”

Entry forms are available now at Neptune Fishing Supplies in Red Hook. Registration continues at the Captain’s Meeting on July 14th at 7:30 p.m. at Hull Bay Hideaway, and on Saturday July 15th at Hull Bay Hideaway from Noon until 6 p.m. Thanks to the generosity of sponsors, entry fees are low – $45 for adults, $35 for juniors ages 8 to 17.

All registered anglers receive an official Bastille Day Kingfish Tournament T-shirt, hat and goodie bag. Over 200 anglers – adults and juniors of all skill level – as well as over 60 boats are expected to enter.

Prize categories include: Largest Kingfish, 2nd Largest Kingfish, 3rd Largest Kingfish, 4th Largest Kingfish, Best Captain, Best Boat, Best Male Angler, Best Female Angler, Best Junior Male Angler, Best Junior Female Angler, Largest Barracuda, Largest Bonito and Largest Mackerel.

This year Budget Marine is sponsoring the Best Boat prize package valued at $500. In addition, several Virgin Islands’ businesses have generously contributed many luxury prizes. There will also be a 50/50 raffle drawing.

Boat owners take note. Tri Island Energy will have a fuel truck available at Hull Bay Beach on Saturday July 15 from 2 to 4 p.m. so that tournament boats can easily fuel-up.

Like last year, the conservation-oriented organizers of the Bastille Day Kingfish Tournament have eliminated the Jack species and increased the minimum length on barracuda to 40-inches in length. New too, to assure fairness for all, tournament participants are not allowed to leave shore until 4 a.m. on Sunday July 16th.

Lines in the water starts at 5:30 a.m. on Sunday July 17th, and ends at Noon, sharp. From Noon until 2 p.m., while the weigh-master and judges go to work, registered anglers can quench their thirst with Coors Light and rum punch or juice, depending on age. The Awards Ceremony will take place at 8 p.m. at Hull Bay Hideaway on Sunday July 17.

Junior anglers are eligible for the special “Catch in the Hat” drawing, sponsored by Offshore Marine. All registered junior angler names will be placed in a hat. The first eight names drawn will receive $50 cash and the next one will win $100 dollars, for a total award of $500. Junior anglers must be present at Hull Bay Hideaway to win. The drawing will take place during the band break Sunday afternoon. There will also be a bouncy house and face painting for the kid’s in the afternoon.

There will additionally be a “Lucky/Unlucky” prize drawn of $1500 distributed over several participants. More details at the Captain’s Meeting. The drawing takes place at the evening’s prize giving. Anglers must be present to win.

Come for the fishing and stay for the party! Cool Session Brass plays from Noon to 4 p.m., followed by the Dem Fellas Band from 6 to 10 p.m. Hull Bay Hideaway will be serving food. The Armstrong Real Tasty Ice Cream Truck will also be parked at the venue during the day.

The 29th Bastille Day Kingfish Tournament is sponsored by Coors Light and Captain Morgan, distributed by Bellows International; Offshore Marine, the Yamaha distributor in the Virgin Islands; NEMWIL, managed in the USVI by Red Hook Agencies, Inc., providing homeowners and business insurance in the USVI for over 20 years; TOPA Insurance Services Inc.; Budget Marine, the Caribbean’s leading chandlery; Caribbean Gifts & Things; and Scoops & Brew, Gelato and Coffee Bar.

First organized by the Northside Sportfishing Club in 1987, the tournament has become one of the highlights of French Heritage celebrations on St. Thomas. The event benefits the Joseph Sibilly School, St. Thomas Rescue, Civil Air Patrol and Nana Baby Children’s Home, as well as provides college scholarships. For information, Email nssfcvi@gmail.com or call (340) 998-0854. Follow us on Facebook!