While Todd Gentilucci won a prize for the biggest fish, the St. Croix Women’s Coalition was the big winner on Saturday of Golden Hook Fishing Club’s St. Croix Summer Slam Fishing Derby – donating half of the winnings from the Derby.
The fishing tournament featured 10 boats, including a sailboat, each paying a $200 entry fee. The boats launched at 6:30 a.m., pulled their lines at 2:30 p.m. and weighed in between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Prizes included cash and gift certificates from Beeston Health Club, St. Croix Marine and other merchants.
Prizes were awarded to the three biggest fish – of any species – caught during the 8-hour competition. Gentilucci staggered a mahi-mahi weighing nearly 35 pounds aboard the motor yacht, Ruffian.
Jose Sanchez took second place for his 30-pound wahoo caught aboard La Mansagera with teammate Alejandro Leon. Third place went to a 29-pound wahoo caught by Miss Nailah. Dave Sommer and his sons on Island Time – the only sailboat to participate – won $500 in the sailboat class.
Fishermen also brought in blackfin tuna, barracuda and trevally. Several fishermen gathered around the weigh station agreed that catching trevallies and mahi-mahi is “unusual, at this time of year”.
Edgar Bengoa, captain and owner of Golden Eagle, said he was “hanging on for life” as his crew landed three tuna at once – shaking the boat so much that half of his video was filmed sideways. Their total catch was nine fatty tuna.
During the day, Women’s Coalition staff and volunteers sold t-shirts and raffle tickets and visited families and friends of fishermen.
Jeremy Janusziewicz, event organizer for the Golden Hook, said it was nice to have people around to watch the fish weigh-in.
“The women of the Women’s Coalition have been, by far, incredible. It was a big event – double the attendance,” Janusziewicz said.
The decades-old nonprofit Women’s Coalition provides services for victims of violence, including crisis intervention and emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence.
Coalition Executive Director Clema Lewis thanked Board Members Aisha Webster-Glenn and Venne Williams for reaching out to Golden Hook to partner with the fundraising event. Williams said they wanted to do something to engage the community, but not a typical beach party or picnic. Webster-Glenn added that they planned the event in just six weeks.
“It (domestic violence) happens on land and sea. No one is affected – all ages, races, genders, ethnicities,” Lewis said. “It’s important that kind and kind people everywhere support the work of the Women’s Coalition,” Lewis said.