When the last catch of S.I.G.F.A.’s 20th international game fishing tournament was brought in on Friday, the tournament’s winners were not known then.
But there were two anglers around Apia’s harbour who have been in outstanding form during the contest, landing some very big catches.
In terms of measurement, the heaviest and most impressive catch of the tournament was certainly Paul Dunn’s 176kgs blue marlin, on the second day.
A fish so fast, vigorous and almost unpredictable that only an experienced angler with the right crew behind his back was capable of subduing. Mr. Dunn, who has been fishing for 35 years, and the crew of the boat Extreme Measures, had the measure of the beast.
“We were about six miles from Apia when we noticed the bait. The catch took me about one hour and seven minutes,” said the angler from New Zealand. “It was pretty stubborn. It came up to the boat, jumped, and swam away again and again, so it really was a tough fish to catch, I must say.”
“In a tournament like this, the only person that is allowed to touch the rod is the angler, so there was no other opportunity for me as to get it all the way to the boat.” To finally load a true sea monster like this on the boat demanded a special technique for the anglers of “Extreme Measures.”
“We had to first stick it to the boat’s side before we could load it on the boat which required two people. But the unloading is actually a rather safe process, as long as you know how to handle it.
“After that, we killed the marlin because it is always safe to do that, but when you’re fishing in a contest like this, you get one point per kilo, so it was a better decision to bring that fish in.
“Also, lots of people will eat it, so this fish is not wasted by any means.”
For Paul Dunn, the catch is of personal significance.
“It’s my biggest fish in Samoa so far, and I have to admit, from my point of view and I am sure many anglers will agree with that, the blue marlin is by far the hardest fish to catch.”
But the hardest of them all was not the only surprise the tournament had to offer this year.
On the same day Paul Dunn came back with his massive marlin, another angler impressed his comrades with an achievement that might have made his team the true champions of the event. Ryan Simpson from Samoa caught a staggering number of five big yellowfin tunas during the tournament, catching four of them on the second day, with the heaviest weighing around 32.4 kilograms.