Thirty-eight fishermen from Guam, Saipan and Rota joined last weekend's 2012 Rota Cliff Fishing Derby, an annual signature event of the Northern Mariana Islands organized by the Marianas Visitors Authority and the municipality of Rota.
Top honors this year in the Biggest Fish category went to Melecio Balan, Jr. of Rota for his 8.01-lb bluefin trevally. He was followed by Xerxes Camacho with a 5.37-lb needle fish, Michael Dechaves with a 4.62-lb blackspot snapper, and Richard Taisacan with a 3.88-lb bluefin trevally.
Balan also topped the Most Weight Category, bringing in 31.20 lbs. He was followed by Olen Jacob (28.96 lbs), Reynaldo Castillo (24.47 lbs), and Camacho (23.37 lbs.).
Jacob also topped the Most Variety category with 27 species, followed by Balan (24), Rio Cayetano (21), and Camacho (19).
“The derby went off without a hitch, and everyone had a good time,” said MVA Community Projects manager Martin Duenas. “We're extremely grateful to all the sponsors for supporting this year's event.”
The derby was held from the evening of Friday, July 27, until 12pm on Sunday, July 29, at As Matmos, Malilok, and Pona Point. The event was co-sponsored by the Rota Mayor's Office, Rota Municipal Council, Rota Legislative Delegation, and Ambros Inc.
Cash prizes were awarded to the top four finishers in the categories of Biggest Fish and Total Weight ($600 first place, $300 second place, $200 third place, and $100 fourth place).
The Top 4 finishers in the Most Variety category received in-kind donations from Ambros Inc. Organizers are already looking ahead to next year's event and are hoping for an even larger turnout at the next Rota Cliff Fishing Derby, set for July 26-29, 2013. (MVA)