THE ABMT'S ANNOUNCMENT
OF A NEW DIRECTION
The purpose of this document is to provide information about the new developments of the ABMT in its 45th year of operation. This writing is not a press release, it’s simply meant to provide our volunteers and supporters with an understanding of the tournament’s history, the standards that we uphold and our mission going forward.
These changes are taking place because of the following reasons: ABMT’s
Reason #1. Because of a lack of financial support from its own community, the Virgin Islands Council, BSA was dissolved by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). The parent organization then allowed the National Capital Area Council, BSA (NCAC) of Maryland a “takeover” of the BSA assets of the USVI. When the NCAC refused to provide the ABMT volunteers with a profit/loss statement after the operation of the 2014 tournament - the volunteers decided to establish their own legal entity. A sister corporation named the Marine Vocational Program (MVP) was founded and became a US IRS 501 (c)-(3) non-profit and at the same time, the ABMT itself became a registered non-profit Virgin Islands corporation. In addition to the ABMT volunteers running of fund-raising events (2 fishing tournaments, MarlinFest, On The Edge magazine and an upcoming New Year’s Eve Bash), the volunteer group is now operating a year-round trade school that weekly serves the members of the Boys and Girls Club as well as other youth groups. Because of these legal accomplishments, the entry fees into the ABMT tournaments remain tax deductible as before.
Reason #2. A fellow tournament operator started up a competing fishing event in the nearby BVI’s on the traditional dates (43 years) of the USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament. His action caused a divide in the normally shared client base that has seriously impacted the ABMT’s ability to fund the youth organization it supports. The loss of vessels that normally fish the ABMT has also impacted the summer business of the marinas, hotels and restaurants in the Red Hook area. Surprising and unexpected too, the Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club (VIGFC) announced that they had teamed up with the competition… pledging their support with the hopes the association would increase the participation in their July Open Tournament.
Putting Negatives Behind: With the startup of its own non-profit the ABMT has solved the identity issues that arose from its decision to stop its funding of the BSA. The ABMT’s next challenge is to combat the loss of tournament profits and while doing so, it must take the “highroad” in terms of maintaining good relations with its BVI neighbors.
Research: Change has come to the sport. There is an indication that today’s boat owners place little or no interest in competing for the ABMT’s prestigious Ed Pang “Top Angler” trophy - especially if they are required to follow the ABMT’s angling rules that help to declare winning anglers. They state that they simply want to fish by IGFA rules. We’ve been told by captain after captain that their owners do not like the ABMT’s requirements of:
1. Observer oversight to insure that the angling rules are followed and species identification is independently verified.
2. The mandated minimum of two anglers.
3. The designation of the “pitch” rod position and the requirement that all anglers onboard be fairly rotated into this favored position (baiting all fish raised to the teasers) on an hourly basis.
Conclusion: If the research above is accurate and if the ABMT agrees to remove its objectionable angling rules… its assumed that some of the boat owners will then elect to fish the ABMT simply because of its tax deductible entry fees and because they’d like to support the organization that helps the youth of these islands. They might also hope to win the famous ABMT during their fishing career.
Decision: The ABMT will not forgo its principals of maintaining “fairness” amongst anglers when determining the winner of its Ed Pang “Top Angler” awards. Nor will it abandon the achievements of the winners of the past who competed by its angling rules. It will simply drop the rules that measure individual angling skills and it will no longer offer its “Top Angler” trophy.
New Changes: The ABMT will now operate a “Team Tournament” (sometimes referred to a “Boat Tournament”) requiring no observers, no angler minimum and no hourly rod rotation. It will continue to operate a 4 day tournament on its traditional dates which are: 3 days before the full moon of Aug. and one day after the moon.
Note: Boat owners fishing in the competing BVI tournament may now be simultaneously entered into both events, fishing the 4th and last day of the ABMT either out of the BVI or St. Thomas. They will be fishing by the same rules and may be entered into two Calcutta’s at once. The ABMT will award many team prizes including the Release Marine “Top Team” step box.
Further Changes: The ABMT’s prestigious 45 year perpetual trophy named “Straight Up” (designed by artist Ed Pang and donated by the late Winthrop Rockefeller, Jr.) will now begin listing the names of the winning teams (1-2-3), the team captain’s name, the boat captain’s name and the number of blue marlin released.
The 5 year old event known as ‘MarlinFest’ is envisioned to grow and become a large annual “gathering” or the sport’s “must do” of Big Game Fishing. It operates the week of the USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament. It’s felt that boat builders will want to attend to meet potential clients and to show off their new designs. Manufacturers will be touting their wares and anglers around the world will attend to be entertained and to witness the event in support of their favorite sport. The daytime activities of a chowder challenge, golf tournament, arts exhibits, fishing clinic and BBQ beach party will keep attendees busy until the tournament boats arrive back at the dock. A Caribbean Show and Full Moon Rum Party in the parking lot of the famous Duffy’s Love Shack will wrap up the week and send everyone home with a smile on their tanned face and with the promise that what goes on during MarlinFest stays on St. Thomas! ABMT’s
‘WET N' WILD’
Big 5 Center Console Tournament
Advertised as a “No Babies” tournament and designed to challenge the hard-charging center console fishermen. Now in its 3rd. year of operation with the goal of attracting entrants up and down the Caribbean, as well as some who may team up with fishing friends (time sharing to reduce costs) and ship their vessel down from the US mainland for a summer filled with marlin fishing and cruising fun.BACK TO ABMT HOME
This two day “Big 5” team tournament is scheduled two days before the full moon of September when the seas are normally calm and the blue marlin bite is still at its peak! In addition to earning points for the release of blue marlin, anglers will earn points for their rare but possible catch of sailfish, white marlin and spearfish. Adding to the competition’s fun are the additional points earned for the boating of Wahoo and Yellowfin Tuna that meet a minimum weight.