The Alvin Iglesias-skippered 10-7 had a triumphant debut in the 34th Annual Saipan International Fishing Tournament after reeling in the heaviest single catch way ahead of the cutoff time of the competition held over the weekend.
Iglesias and anglers Phil Babauta, John Jimeno, Keith Torres, and C.J. Echalico brought a 445-lb marlin to the dock at Smiling Cove Marina last Saturday to take the lead in the Saipan Fishermen’s Association-sanctioned tournament and remained on top of the board at the conclusion of the event yesterday at 6pm.
Around 30 minutes later, Youth of Fountain arrived at the dock with heir 492-lb catch, but it was not counted as per tournament rules and was only weighed in for record purposes.
“We’ve been competing in the derby for the past several years, but it was our first time to join using this boat 10-7,” Iglesias said a few minutes before the competition wrapped up last night. They derived the name from a betting system in cockfighting where some of his anglers are also joining.
Besides the boat’s debut win, the team also recorded two more “first” with Babauta participating in his first derby and the group making it to the weighing station ahead of the 69 other entries.
“We caught this between 9am and 9:30 am and it took us 30 minutes to bring it up to the boat,” Gimeno said. “The moment we caught it, we headed back to the dock and called it a day to prepare for the next one.”
“We got it somewhere east of Tinian—almost the same exact spot where we also landed a 400-plus marlin about two years ago using a different boat. It’s our fishing spot, that’s where my dad used to bring me,” added Iglesias, who took over the captain chores from his father as the latter retired after 28 years of fishing around the Marianas.
Aside from 10-7, eight other boats delivered marlins thatwere officially weighed in.
Included on the list and the 10-7’s closest challenger last Saturday was K-Fisher. K-Fisher reached the dock five minutes before the cutoff time and with the clock ticking, the anxious spectators and the boat’s anglers were glued on the electronic scale, as staff from the Division of Fish and Wildlife lifted the marlin.
The scale tipped at 115lbs first and slowly went up, and then stopped at 379lbs—to the dismay of the packed crowd. K-Fisher’s catch, which angler Pete Sablan said they got outside the Marpi area round 5pm last Saturday on their way back to the dock, was more than eight feet, but leaner. 10-7’s was plump although its length measured only around eight feet.
O’Dear did not land a marlin last Saturday, but showed up at the dock yesterday with their 334-lb billfish, while Victoria was in third place on Day 1 of the competition after getting a 302lb. Blu-By-U got a 255-lb marlin, Cha’Nang had 102.3lbs, Cabo Express recorded 71.2lbs, and last year’s grand winner Debbie I of Guam managed to catch only a 184.8-lb marlin.
All results were posted at the event’s board and unofficial, pending certifications from SFA. Winners in other categories—marlin, skipjack, wahoo, yellow fin, and mahi—will be announced tonight at the event’s banquet.