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Wednesday 11 May 2016 | Published in Regional


SAMOA – When the winners of Samoa International Game Fishing Association’s 20th anniversary game fishing tournament received their prizes last Saturday, the joy in their faces could not be overlooked.

Anglers from all around the region and overseas looked 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 – especially with Samoan teams taking the top three places overall.

“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.”

Kohlhase 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 on to American Samoa for the 17th Steinlager International I’a Lapo’a Gamefishing Tournament.

“At the moment, we’re looking forward to another tournament that will take place in Pago Pago this week. 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,” Kohlhase explained.

But before heading to Pago Pago, the Samoa tournament organisers handed out the prizes for the top boats and the biggest fish caught in the various species.

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 their traditional Samoan way of fishing.

- Samoa Observer