After the Opening Ceremony of S.I.G.F.A.’s 20th annual international game fishing tournament at Robert Louis Stevenson Museum on Saturday afternoon the participants are now more than ready to go and catch some fish.
Most of the anglers from New Zealand are staying at Apia’s Millenia Hotel, not far from the harbour, where the action is going to start today with the beginning of the Ladies Tournament.
One of the biggest fans of the tournament is Patrick Willock. Having been a participant of the international tournament since the early 2000’s, Willock is already a trouper when it comes to game fishing in Samoan waters.
“I’ve attended the event every year it was possible for me. I was one of the original ones who witnessed the early stages of the tournament,” he told the Weekend Observer.
But despite all these years, Willock still feels that certain excitement when coming to Samoa to go out and fish.
“I always look forward to coming here. I love the people and just the whole time up here. That’s why I usually come here in February as well, apart from the fishing tournament every year.” But at the moment, for the anglers from New Zealand, fishing is all that matters.
Having already arrived last Monday, the crew is longing for that one special catch.
“We haven’t done any fishing since our arrival here, we have just tried to fill in our time. Because we’re coming to Samoa for such a long period of time now, we’ve seen most of its attractions which are of course always a pleasure to witness, but for now, we cannot wait to start fishing”.
The tournament with over 240 anglers, did however face some difficulties in the past days. The reason is the delayed vessel that should bring twelve boats from New Zealand, which caused a modification to the event’s schedule.
For Willock and his comrades, this is not a reason to give up hope. “It would be nice if our boat was already here, but we don’t blame S.I.G.F.A. for that. They have done their absolute best as always, and we feel sorry for them. At the moment, they’re experiencing the same frustrations as we are. There are of course certain costs involved in that and the longer it is delayed, the more difficult it becomes.
Although we do feel a little bit let down because we haven’t been told what’s been going on and there were some stories circulating in New Zealand. For instance we were told that our boats would be here on the 26th of April, so we arrived a day later, but then we were told that the boat wouldn’t be here before the 1st of May.” As for the changes in schedule that the tournament had to undergo due to the vessel’s delay, Willock thinks that S.I.G.F.A. has done the best they could in the situation.
“I suppose they have done a really good job working with the few days they’ve got available, so I thank them for doing the best they can.”
Nevertheless, Mr Willock and his fellow anglers from New Zealand are sure, the tournament will be as pleasing as it was in all the years for the numerous participants from overseas: “I think once we get out on the water, everything will be fine and we’ll all have a lot of fun”, he explained.
It was also yesterday’s opening ceremony of the tournament that Patrick Willock was excited about. He mentioned that over the previous years here had been opening ceremonies at a number of venues for the annual fishing competition, but with this year’s opening being held at the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum, he was sure the right decision has been made for the opening event
“I think it will make a great place to open the event. I’ve been there several times before, and I can only tell you that it’s a stunning venue for our purposes”.