Anglers wanting to catch the big fish that got away last year are ready and raring for the annual Samoa International Game Fishing Association (S.I.G.F.A.) International tournament, set to be launched this Saturday.
To be held at Matautu-Tai, the tournament brings the competitive world of sports fishing together in the tropical waters of Samoa.
International Anglers are ready to test their skills and for Samoa, it’s a chance to grow its fish sports tourism.
President for S.I.G.F.A., Poao Francis Hansell, says Samoa is the whole package when it comes to sports tourism.
“I’m looking forward to this competition because it’s about boosting our economy through tourism in this country, promoting fishing in our waters and showing tourists our unique culture,” Poao said.
“It helps our people here in Samoa, everyone will benefit from the taxis, the restaurants, hotels and motels, anyone.”
The competition is a week-long but traditionally Anglers coming in on their boats usually arrive long before the tournament and stay beyond the duration of competition to take advantage of fishing opportunities while they are in a faraway place in the world.
“It’s not just the tournament that generates money here in Samoa, the boats then stay on for a lot longer sometimes for about a month and people will fish for as long as they can starting from before the tournaments and then after the tournaments,” S.I.G.F.A. Secretary, Fritz Rasch, said.
“Every day as much as they can, they will be out there fishing.”
“We are still getting boats from American Samoa and getting Anglers from all over the world as far as Dubai. We think the tournament brings a lot of money to Samoa.”
“We think that this year there’s going to be around 60 anglers, captains competing and then with the women’s competition probably another 20 competitors.”
S.I.G.F.A. is looking to boost their membership this year and intend to continue promoting sustainable fishing to play their part in marine conservation in Samoa. To encourage this practice of conservation, the competition is enabled so as to award anglers more points if they tag and release.
“As an association, we have monthly tournaments, and for kids dinghy tournaments that we run, but the club is open to everyone to join and not everyone has a boat. You can come down and meet and make friends,” said Mr. Rasch.
“In terms of promoting sustainable fishing, we are trying to increase the number of fish closer to the shore by deploying Fish Aggregating Devices (F.A.D.) where they put floating devices like bands or chains where fish can congregate and start to grow by bringing in little fish and then bigger fish and so on.
“There’s also the tag and release programme where instead of killing the fish and bringing it in, you can tag the fish, take a photo and then let it go.
“And you’re still in the competition and it still contributes to the number of fish available for fishing sports tourism here in Samoa.”
Just like all the other Anglers heading to our shores this week, Mr. Rasch, who will be competing in the tournament, tells the Samoa Observer that he has his eyes set on one thing only next week.
“I want those trophies,” he said. “I want those titles too, that is what I’m looking forward to is the actual competition and winning some categories. Hopefully taking out the overall that’s what I’m aiming to do, that’s what we’ll all be aiming to do.
“Beau Rasmussen does our trophies and they’re just amazing. They are made of really beautiful bone and wood so I’m looking forward to adding a few more of those to the mantel piece.”
Tournament registration opens at 1pm and the opening ceremony will begin at 3pm followed by a moment of silence to honour the late Max Rasmussen.
The competition ends on Saturday 21st April and anglers will move on to the Social Fishing Tournament in Asau.