Editor's Note: Veteran photographer Richard Gibson spent several months in the summer and fall of 2018 aboard Sodium, Chad Damron's 75-foot Weaver. As they fished the North Drop off St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands under Gibson's watchful eye and camera lens, the team of Damron, Capt. Randy Jendersee and mates Capt. Travis Butters and Tyler Valles experienced an incredible stretch of blue marlin fishing.

While it has been overshadowed by other destinations in recent years, St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands is still one of the world’s top hot spots for Atlantic blue marlin. Captains hunt for fish here rather than turn endless circles on a FAD, and you also return to a comfortable marina each evening as well.

blue marlin crashing out of the water
Most of our bites can best be described as savage. The blue marlin in St. Thomas seem angrier than in other places, aggressively chasing the teasers and smashing our pitch baits.Richard Gibson
man holding up a shark bitten marlin tail
Sharks were a problem for us too. Giant bulls and tigers roam the drop-off. We aren’t sure how this happened, but we only reeled in a tail after this blue was mauled in the depths.Richard Gibson
fisherman in a fighting chair
To catch our fish as quickly as possible, we used heavy tackle. Damron made short work of this one on a 130, but we still lost a few more to the ever-present sharks. Lighter tackle and longer fight times lead to more losses. The North Drop in September is not a place where you want to go for a swim.Richard Gibson
fishing yacht on the water
There were only a handful of other boats fishing during the 2018 season.Richard Gibson
pitch baits on a wave
Rather than sharing the bites with a fleet of 40 or 50 as we have seen in the past, the 10 or so boats on the North Drop all had good fishing just about every day. Most of our bites were on pitch baits right off the transomRichard Gibson
blue marlin being tagged in st thomas
Rather than sharing the bites with a fleet of 40 or 50 as we have seen in the past, the 10 or so boats on the North Drop all had good fishing just about every day. Most of our bites were on pitch baits right off the transom.Richard Gibson