August 15, 2017
Hatteras boat wins Alice Kelly billfish tourney
fishing wasn’t exactly on fire for the 28th annual Alice Kelly Memorial
Ladies Only Billfish Tournament. The record 97 boats competing had to
search hard in their efforts to find fish.
Some ventured as far as 70 miles south while others ran due east from
Oregon Inlet about 30 miles. In the end though, all five places were
filled and a couple nice game fish were hoisted aloft at the scales.
As one team declared when checking out the leaderboard, “We caught a beautiful day.”
Capt. Rom Whitaker and mate Andy Trant led their team aboard Release, a 52-foot Bobby Sullivan, to the first-place trophy.
Whitley Arvis of Colerain, Alison Beacham of Manns Harbor, Stephanie
Brady, Allyson Hoggard and Chelsea Leggett of Windsor, and Katy Wilson
of Wanchese released a blue marlin and 3 sailfish. The all-friends team
has been competing in the Alice Kelly for seven years.
“This is awesome,” said Hoggard. “We’ve had the same team for seven
years, all friends, so we’ve earned this, for sure. Capt. Rom is the
best ever. This tournament is really a fun setting and a chance for all
of us to get together. We have a good time and raise money for a cause
we all believe in.”
The other four top teams all scored 300 points for three billfish and the final outcome was determined by time of release.
True Grit, a 54 Paul Mann run by Capt. Hank Beasley was second,
followed by Uno Mas, a 68-foot Bayliss with Capt. Tommy Lynskey at the
Capt. Jordan Croswait on Legacy (57-foot Bobby Sullivan) skippered the
fourth-place team. Gratitude, a 60-foot Paul Spencer run by Capt.
Carson Forrester, came in fifth place.
Susan Wolf of Newport News took the top dolphin honors as well as the
jackpot of $19,550 for her 20.5-pound gaffer. Wolf was fishing aboard
Sniper (58-foot Paul Mann) with Capt. Jimmy Bayne.
The largest yellowfin, a 61.8-pounder, was reeled in by Suzan
Quesenberry of Richmond, fishing on Trophy Hunter. Kenneth Brown is the
skipper of the 55 Buddy Cannady.
Michelle Desrosiers of Newport News was on the winning end of a
45.1-pound wahoo. She was fishing on Sea Rounds, a 52 Viking run by
Capt. Doc Hoefer.
The boat was about 31 miles out on the 700 line in 45 fathoms when the
striped speedster hit a purple/black lure. That catch turned out to be
her biggest fish ever.
Derosiers and her teammates all work at the same medical facility with Dr. Hoefer.
“It wasn’t bad,” Hoefer said after the weight of the wahoo was
announced. “We thought we were going to get rained on this morning, but
we never felt a drop. It turned out to be nice.”
Emily Bracher, fishing on Pelican with Capt. Arch Bracher, was named
the top junior angler and Summer Bracher won the Paula Stanski Award
winner for Angling Excellence for her billfish catch.
A total of 64 billfish were released by this year’s tournament fleet.
“Thank you Alice, for bringing us all together once again,” said
tournament director Heather Maxwell. “We couldn’t do this without our
wonderful sponsors and all our dedicated volunteers.”
“We raised some serious money for a very worthy cause and we all had fun. So it really was a beautiful day,” Maxwell said.
The 34th annual Pirates Cove Big Game Tournament starts Tuesday, with live coverage all day by Capt. Marty Brill online at PCBGT.com, and every afternoon on 94.5 WCMS.