The Abaco Anglers Fishing Tournament raised over ten thousand dollars this year through sponsorships and signups that the organizers decided to add an additional, local charity to the regular recipients.
This year, proceeds will go towards the Hope Town Jr. Sailing Club, Friends of Abaco Animals, Abaco Shelter and Hope Town Volunteer Fire & Rescue.
The Tournament ran from April 20 – 29 and, despite some windy weather, scores of fishermen (and fisherwomen) reeled in everything from Mahi to Mutton Snapper and Barracuda.
Jennifer Schmidt caught the largest fish of the tournament: a 95 pound White Marlin.
About forty anglers competed in this year’s tournament. A significant increase over recent years.
Ashley Knowles, the event’s organizer, said “I’m beyond excited on the turn out this year because we were able to make significant donations to local charities. I look forward to the future of this tournament, hoping it will continue to grow each year.”
Knowles was assisted this year by Steve Vickers, with CALIC Group, who provided who provided logistical support.
Festivities culminated the evening of Saturday, April 29 with an awards banquet hosted at Hope Town Inn and Marina.
The categories for awards were Female Anglers, Male Anglers, Junior Anglers, Bone Fish, Billfish (men’s and women’s) and Team competition.
Female Angler awardees included: Margaret Strickland, Susie Tolman, Ashley Knowles, Susan Buffin and Judy Magee.
Male awardees included: Joe Strickland, Syd Jr, Jake Vickers, Charlie Home, Paul Magee and Doug Albury.
“Rybo Runner” won the Team Competition with a 25 pound Mahi caught by Jake Vickers.
Maitland Lowe Jr., Skyler Key and Jack Hitchcock battled it out in the Junior division, with Maitland taking first after reeling in a 9.5lb Barracuda on 10lb test line.
Tony Pantuso scored a 6.2lb bone fish, earning him a trophy.
Syd Jr. pulled in a 30lb Sail Fish (winning the Men’s Billfish) and Jennifer Schmidt hauled in a 95lb White Marlin earning her not only first in the Female’s Billfish division but also the largest fish of the tournament.
Other impressive feats included Doug Albury pulling in a forty five pound Grouper on handline.
After trophies were distributed raffles were called and an auction was held.
Raffles included dinner for two at the Hope Town Inn & Marina as well as several $50 gift certificates to Lighthouse Marina.
The auction included a few items including roundtrip airfare with Air Unlimited, but the icing on the proverbial cake was a literal cake – baked by event organizer Ashley Knowles. The cake was won with a $400 bid. However, the bid winners decided to send the cake back out for more bidding.
Altogether, $700 was raised with the cake alone.
Sponsors this year included: Lighthouse Marina, Maximus Asset Management, Fireplace & Gas Services, Hope Town Inn & Marina, CALIC Group and Intex Coatings inc.
The majority of the same sponsors signed up again for next year as well as a few new ones.