Meet Kevie Thomas

One of sport fishing's most beloved personalities
Kevie Thomas smiling and posing for the camera.
Kevie Thomas in a rare moment of inaction at Abaco Beach Resort. Scott Kerrigan / Skip’s Tournaments

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Born and raised on Great Abaco in the Bahamas, Kevie Thomas has always had a love of the sea and an innate Bahamian passion for hospitality toward those visiting her island home. Thanks to a woman named Penny Turtle, a longtime coordinator at Boat Harbour Marina in the 1980s, Thomas’ first job was working the front desk at the marina, doing manual billing and helping boaters come and go. She rose through the ranks at Abaco Beach Resort, eventually becoming the rooms-division manager, while also surviving a direct hit and the subsequent devastation wreaked by Hurricane Dorian in 2019. Today, she is one of the most recognizable and welcoming personalities in our colorful world of sport fishing.

Q: What are your favorite parts of the job at Abaco Beach Resort?

A: We have a lot of repeat visitors, and it’s always fun watching the kids grow up over the years. Part of it is the culture of the Bahamas—we are very friendly and hospitable. We love bringing people into our homes and seeing them enjoying our islands and the natural resources. At the [Fort Lauderdale] boat show, I saw a lady I had first met at the Bertram-Hatteras Shootout many years ago when she was just a young girl. Now she had a family of her own and was looking forward to bringing them back to the Abacos.

Q: Did you grow up fishing?

A: I used to fish a lot more when I was younger, but now it seems like I’m always working. I’ve probably been marlin fishing about 20 times. I remember my first one—it was a long time ago on a boat called Fifth Day. We hooked a nice blue about 500 pounds, and I remember the captain wouldn’t let me give up. It was fun but a lot of work. I’d rather catch dolphin and wahoo to eat, or just go fishing on the reef for snapper. It’s fun but not overwhelming.

Kevie Thomas driving a resort guest around on an small UTV.
With an innate sense of friendliness and ­hospitality, Kevie Thomas enjoys ­welcoming visitors to Abaco Beach Resort. Scott Kerrigan / Skip’s Tournaments

Q: You rode out Hurricane Dorian at the resort. What was that experience like?

A: We don’t live far from the resort and were planning to stay at home with my husband, my brother and his wife. I was at work, and they kept calling, saying they thought they should leave, so we decided to stay at the resort. For the first half of the storm, we had to hold the door to our room closed against the wind, which was strong enough to move the cars around in the parking lot. Then it passed over and the second half hit, which was even worse. That was what ­finished us off. We huddled in a hallway for the next six hours as it ripped off the storm shutters and just destroyed the resort. The storm sat over us for the next three days, and the wind, water and storm surge washed away what was left of the island. We were truly lucky to be alive. I had 10 feet of water in my house, which was nothing but a shell with half a roof left. We made the right decision.

Q: The resort was rebuilt pretty quickly, right?

A: We started the cleanup as soon as the weather cleared and had pilings ordered for the marina within five days. The owners are in the construction development industry, so they knew what needed to be done to get us back up and running as quickly as possible. We had a few rooms that were still intact, so we were one of the only places on the island that could host visiting government officials and NGOs. The storm hit in September, and by December we had the power back on. By April 2020, we were ready to host tournaments with new docks and about 60 rooms, but then the pandemic hit and shut us down completely. It was like a second natural disaster. People couldn’t come in to finish the work, and the construction was seriously delayed. But in 2021, we were finally able to host the events again.

Kevie Thomas with Capt. Skip Smith on the stage .
Thomas shares a hug with her longtime friend Capt. Skip Smith. Courtesy Debra Todd Photography

Q: Speaking of tournaments, when did you meet Skip Smith?

A: I had met a lot of the tournament guys over the years with all the events we hosted at Boat Harbour: the Billfish Blast, the Bertram-Hatteras Shootout, the Bahamas Billfish Championship, and eventually the Custom Shootout and the Production vs. Custom Shootout. I met Skip when he was a sponsor of the BBC more than 25 years ago, and we’ve been friends ever since.

Q: What changes have you seen over the years?

A: The boats always seem to get bigger, that’s for sure. And I also think that people were more focused on the fishing back in the day. The tournaments have always been very competitive, but it seems people are having more fun these days.

Aerial view of Boat Harbour Marina, showcasing the ocean surrounding the harbour.
Boat Harbour Marina is the epicenter for boats fishing throughout the northern Bahamas, especially during the busy spring tournament season. Scott Kerrigan / Skip’s Tournaments

Q: What’s it like being a Bahamian woman in a management role?

A: I think we need more women in leadership positions; we tend to put more thought into the decisions we make, and we also want the best outcomes for everyone involved. I’m a proud Bahamian first, and we enjoy treating everyone like family.

Read Next: Learn more about marlin fishing out of Abaco Beach Resort here.

Q: What does the future hold for you?

A: I enjoy my position, and I love seeing our repeat guests every year. The resort keeps getting better each season too, as we build on that reputation as one of the top boutique resorts in the Bahamas. I love fishing, but I always encourage our visitors to go island hopping so they have the chance to visit other places and to have unique experiences wherever they go. Whatever your passion, you can find it here. When I finally do decide to retire, I’ll probably just plant a little garden at my house, go fishing more often and enjoy life with my family. That’s what’s most important to me.

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