July Open Tournament Officials Adjust Offshore Awards

Opening Day Wahoo Moves Ramon into Second

St. Thomas, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS – JULY 17, 1998 – Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club president Lori Bailey today announced a correction to the Top Angler awards in the Offshore Division of the 35th annual July Open Tournament that concluded July 5 in St. Thomas.

With a tournament total of four blue marlin releases, Sea Dream owner-angler, Juan Donastevez, Jr. of Puerto Rico remains the Top Angler, Best Visiting Angler, and Give’m Line Trophy winner.

When factored into his tournament catch total, however — which already included two blue marlin releases — Jose J. Ramon’s 28-pound Day One Wahoo catch aboard Sarita boosted the Puerto Rico angler into the Second Place  Angler slot. That decision forced a two marlin apiece tiebreaker (based on time-of-catch) between Adrian Stella (Magic Touch) and Angell Rivera (Sea Dream) that saw owner-angler Stella emerge as Third Place Angler.

“We apologize for the error and will get proper trophies to the anglers affected,” says Bailey, who explains that JOT tournament scoring is typically driven by blue marlin catch totals. “As soon as the awards committee realized that Wahoo were included among the “Big Five” fish species Offshore anglers score points for, we knew there had been a  mistake.”

Though bumped from the top-three angler standings, Rivera remains victorious as part of the Puerto Rico-based Sea Dream “Dream Team” that captured the Best Visiting Boat, Best Crew, and Last Fish titles with a three-day, ten-marlin boat total that included catch contributions from all four registered anglers: Juan Donastevez, Jr. (4); Angell Rivera (2); Umberto Martinez (2); and Jose Lanpreabe (2). Sea Dream was captained by Ray Fernandez.

Eighteen boats and 59 anglers from the U.S. and British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico participated in the three-day competition that saw a total of  32 blue marlin releases in the waters off the British Virgin Island’s North Drop. The Virgin Islands’ longest-running sports fishing tournament was sponsored this year by Chivas Regal, with Miller Lite Beer and Cruzan Rum, distributed by Premier Wines & Spirits, Ltd. of St. Thomas.