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Mon Chari Wins Big at Scrub Island

The British Virgin Islands produce outstanding blue marlin fishing for the fleet

January 17, 2020
Sport fishing yacht on the water at the Scrub Island Invitational
Scrub Island Invitational Courtesy AH360 Photography/Scrub Island Invitational

Hosting internationally accredited anglers from the United States, Brazil, and across the Caribbean, the 2019 Scrub Island Invitational held in the British Virgin Islands sent 21 top-shelf blue marlin fishing teams to wrangle with the North Drop’s blue marlin for some $200,000 in prize money—­undoubtedly dodging a few hungry sharks in the process.

Mate Hannibal Moya, fishing aboard Jichi, released the first blue of the tournament, ultimately setting up owner Louis Isaias’ team to finish second for the day with three blue marlin releases and a total of 1,500 points.

Fishing for a tournament winner? You need to master the use of a flying gaff. Our experts show you how.

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But after a dinged prop and late start on Day One, the smallest boat in the fleet—a 43-foot Cabo named Batichica—made up for it by winning the daily with four blues released in two and a half hours. Capt. Juan Garcia and his team took home just under $42,000 for less than a half-day’s work. Not too shabby.

Jr. Davis’ Wave Paver, with one release on the board for Day One, racked up five more blues to win the daily on Day Two, but the brand-new American Custom Yacht—the 68-foot Mon Chari owned by Damon Chouest—which was in fifth place after the first day, was now only one fish behind Wave Paver as Day Three dawned.

Mon Chari owner Damon Chouest
Mon Chari owner Damon Chouest Richard Gibson

It was all about Mon Chari on the third day of competition. The boat that was delivered one month previous to the day, with just 100 hours under its hood, released four blue marlin for the daily and took the overall win on time with a total of 5,000 points. Capt. Russell Sinclair and the Wave Paver team finished second, with the tournament’s Top Angler Davis catching the last blue marlin of the event 31 minutes after Mon Chari.

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Day Three’s results bumped Brooks Smith’s Uno Mas team up to third place overall by adding another three fish to its tally; Uno Mas angler Maria Magalhaes was named Scrub Island’s Top Lady Angler.

Living the realistic dream, balancing the requirements of a professional captain with a solid family life.

“This was a first-time tournament for the resort,” says Scott McArdle, general manager of Scrub Island Resort, “and it was a huge success.” McArdle also pointed out the overwhelming support of the BVI Department of Conservation and Fisheries, as well as the participants’ poignant feedback as fuel for next year’s event to be “even bigger and better.”

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