Five marlins were weighed in at the Gordon Murray Memorial Fishing competition, however only one managed to tip the scales over the 90kg minimum weight.
Paku Poila and Lieutenant-commander officer of the HMNZS Otago Ben Martin were the last fishermen to weigh in their catch, claiming the contest’s heaviest fish with a 97.9kg marlin.
Poila’s younger brother Poe was not far behind taking second heaviest prize with a 48.4kg yellow fin tuna.
The first and only fishing contest of the year which allowed a variety of fishing methods saw a record number of 38 boats registered.
Apart from five marlins, 83 yellow fin tuna, one ono and six skipjack tuna were caught by the contestants.
Results are: Heaviest fish Paku Poila – marlin 97.9 kg, 2nd - Poe Poila yellow fin tuna 48.4 kg, 3rd - Buckley Junior mahimahi 27.2kg. Aggregate: 1st - Jason Tuara 244.1 kg, 2nd - Junior Boy Katuke 131.6 kg, 3rd - Buckley Junior 88.1kg.
The focus now turns to Aitutaki where its fishing club is gearing up for the country’s first-ever Rod and Reel “Great Open Marlin Tournament”, to be held from March 9 to 14.
Shimano New Zealand have come on board as the official sponsor.
Aitutaki Game Fishing Club resident Clive Baxter said “we are thrilled that Shimano New Zealand has agreed to help sponsor our first ever Marlin tournament here in the Cook Islands.
“Shimano is known for making some of the finest big game rods and reels available anywhere in the world and is the preferred brand of our fishermen here in the Cooks.
“We could not have a better lead sponsor for this event.”
Steve Corfield, the managing director of Shimano New Zealand, said: “Shimano is proud to be the official sponsor for the Great Open Marlin event Aitutaki.
“The nature and location of this event presents an exciting promotional opportunity for us and we hope to be a part of this great sporting event for years to come.”
Top of the line game fishing rod and reel combos featuring Shimano’s renowned Tiagra “A” series reels will be presented to the top three anglers, as well as the winning boat captain.
Baxter has confirmed that Corfield, along with general manager of Shimano Fishing Ben Ashby, will attend the Marlin tournament.
Local airline Air Rarotonga is offering special fares to anglers heading to Aitutaki for the event.
Clive Baxter said: “We truly appreciate all of the support Air Rarotonga is providing for this great event. This will allow more of our brothers and sisters from Rarotonga, and perhaps even those Mauke and Atiu to be with us to compete.”
Sarah Moreland, the airlines general manager in charge of sponsorship, said “Air Rarotonga is proud to sponsor this event, we always look forward to new events in the Pa Enua and we are excited to continue our partnership and working with the Aitutaki Game Fishing Club.”
Fishermen from Rarotonga and the neighbouring islands wishing to compete in the Aitutaki event will first need to register in order to take advantage of the special discounted return airfare offer.
The contest is open to any and all boats/boat captains and anglers. Registration fees are $200 if paid by February 15th; thereafter the fee will be $250.
All fishermen wishing to participate must identify their boat and boat captain. They are required to compete only on a registered boat.
The competition will begin with the boat captain and angler’s briefing on March 9 at the Aitutaki Game Fishing Club, from 6pm.
The fishing competition will run from March 10 to 12 followed by a rest day on March 13. The competition closes on Saturday, March 14 followed by the awards night.
For more information about how to register, details of the tournament rules and the Air Rarotonga special airfares, contact the club’s treasurer Kimiora Ngapare +682 57599, or president Clive Baxter +682 54025.