When the last winners of S.I.G.F.A.’s 20th international game fishing tournament received their prizes last Saturday, the joy in their faces could not be overlooked.
With the tournament’s closing ceremony at Apia Concrete Products, the anglers from all around the region and overseas could look back on a week of fishing that was more than worthy to the 20th birthday of the annual competition.
S.I.G.F.A.’s president Vui Kevin Kohlhase was more than pleased with this year’s tournament.
“We were absolutely satisfied with the outcome of our tournament this year,” he said.
“We had a few setbacks with the ships and a lot of the anglers from New Zealand were a bit upset about that, but as soon as their boats arrived, they all kicked into fishing mode and were all happy to get started. So, it all ended up well and we can look behind a great week of fishing.”
Vui said the amount of fishes caught varied.
“It’s different every year. In some years we tag a lot of Marlin, some years we hardly see any of them being caught. But last year I think we had more yellowfin, or at least bigger ones than this year.
“So the boats that caught all the yellowfins this year seemed to be in the right place at the right time.”
In fact, the anglers had so much fun on Samoan waters, that they simply decided to extend their trip and continue it in American Samoa, as they had done in the years before.
“At the moment, we’re already looking forward to another tournament that will take place in Pago Pago. It will be hosted by the Pago Pago Game Fishing Club which is sort of our sister club, and most of our participants will take part in it. So after our prize giving, we will immediately be off to American Samoa the next day,” Kohlhase explained.
But first, they had some prizes to give away.
The organization also gave away the prizes for the biggest fishes, sorted by the different species of fish caught in the competition.
The most outstanding catch in these categories was without question Paul Dunn’s monster marlin, weighing an astonishing 175.6 kilograms and therefore making his team Extreme Measures the third best in the overall tournament.
But the other catches of these categories were by no means less impressive, proved for instance by the local team Yellowfin, which was under the command of skipper Roy Lee. The team were able to catch the competition’s biggest Masi Masi.
Sustainability and the conservation of old traditions were also the issues addressed by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi during his speech at the closing.
With a wink, he even proposed a challenge for the anglers regarding the years to come.
“Many years ago, before the times of tough lines and durable hooks, our ancestors used hooks carved out of fishbone. We even created a special Samoan technique for catching sharks, pulling them into the boat with very strong hands. And sometimes our fisherman found it safer, to jump out into the water, to give the boat’s space to the shark.”
With his speech, the Prime Minister invited S.I.G.F.A. and the visiting anglers from overseas to promote those men in Samoa who are still able to carry out this traditional Samoan way of fishing.
List of Winners of the 2016 International Game Fishing Tournament hosted by S.I.G.F.A.:
1st Place Team: FUA II - Samoa
2nd Place Team: Yellowfin - Samoa
3rd Place Team: Extreme Measures - Samoa
4th Place Team: Greenies Wakka II - New Zealand
5th Place Team: Finn Addict - New Zealand
Winning Country: Samoa
Winning Angler: Ryan Simpson - Team Fua II
Winning Female Anglers: Shelley Burich & Kathryn Pratt
Largest Marlin: Team Extreme Measures
Largest Yellowfin: Team Fua II
Largest Wahoo: Team Troppo Fishing
Largest Masi Masi: Team Yellowfin