A pair of 16-year-olds and the veteran crew of Hagu Reel landed a mighty 100-lb marlin to win last Saturday’s Tasi To Table Youth Mini-Derby held in the waters off Saipan.
Skippered by Christian “Hollywood” Camacho with a crew of Ken Salas and Jess Guerrero along with Marianas High School’s Kina Rangamar and Rota High School’s Landon Atalig, the Hagu Reel didn’t only caught the heaviest fish of the derby, but also got back to the Smiling Cove Marina the swiftest as they checked in at 8:21am or not even 2 hours and 30 minutes after the 14 boats taking part in the one-day fishing tournament left the dock.
In a way the 100-pounder Camacho and company landed Saturday ran counter to the mini derby of the Tasi to Table Youth Fishing Club-organized event as there’s nothing mini about the catch.
Originally, the crew wasn’t even supposed to catch billfish as Camacho said their plan was to catch wahoo at first,
“Honestly I’m still shocked that we managed to catch this. Originally everybody came to do wahoo and mahi but they decided to go big or go home and we got that marlin,” said Rangamar, who helped drive the boat.
The MHS student, the daughter of CNMI Sports Hall of Fame inductee Elias Ranagamar, said the Tasi to Table Youth Fishing Club is a great program and allows youth like her a chance to learn about catching the bounty of the sea.
The experience of hooking the 100-lb marlin left her almost speechless. “I saw the sword and I said ‘oh wow, holy cow…’It’s the biggest fish I’ve seen and caught ever!”
Atalig, who helped reel in the monster marlin, shared Rangamar’s sentiments as he also was completely awed by the size of the fish they caught.
“It’s my first time trawling on a boat. [I was] surprised we landed a 100-lb marlin. Also learned that you’ll never know until you try…” said the Rota High School student.
Atalig said, in all, taking part in the Tasi To Table Youth Mini-Derby was “fun, helpful, and I learned a lot.”
Captain Camacho said Lady Luck smiled at them soon after pulling up anchor from the Smiling Cove Marina.
“It was good water. We were supposed to go south but at the last minute I decided to go north. Right after we passed Mañagaha [Island] I let the lines out and when we passed LL buoy that’s when we struck [the marlin]. We were actually thinking of going wahoo but later on I said ‘let’s try and go for the marlin’ and let them get that experience,” he said.
“Don’t want to divulge the secret, but when the fish are hungry they will bite,” Camacho added, while saying that the fight with the fish was over around 10 minutes when they managed to bring the marlin into the Hagu Reel.
Camacho said he’s just happy that aside from topping the Tasi To Table Youth Mini-Derby, he and his crew were also able to impart their fishing knowledge to the next generation of the islands’ fisher folk.
“We basically explained to them our line spread and the purpose for the outriggers so we can open up the lines and not get tangled.”
Coming in second to Hagu Reel was Sweet Candy captained by George Moses with the crew of Mike Kukkun and Inas Lizama Jr. and students Cody Dela Cruz and Lorenzo Hocog. They went home with a 15.2-lb wahoo.
In third place with a 11.6-lb wahoo was Roil Soil fronted by captain Shayne Villanueva and his lone crew Justin Cashman. Their students were Alex Limes and Sirlashu Dela Cruz.
A 3.3-lb skipjack gave 10-7 fourth place. The boat is skippered by Alvin Iglecias who had students Austin Guiawen and Tyrel Pascual as crewmembers
Salty Bandits finished fifth among 14 boats with their catch of a 3.1-lb skipjack. It was captained by Masaki Kitami and manned by Keith Fernandez and students Haven Hocog and Zander Atalig.
Tasi to Table vice president Wayne Pangelinan said the Tasi To Table Youth Mini-Derby was a success and thanked all the captains and their crew for sharing their knowledge and time to the islands’ youth. “We applaud everyone as this is a sure win for our CNMI,” he said.
The sponsors for last Saturday’s Tasi To Table Youth Mini-Derby are the following: D&Q Saipan, MarPac Distributors, Coca Cola Beverage Company, Western Pacific Regional Fisheries Management, Pacific Auto, Kautz Glass Company, Islander Rent A Car, IT&E, Fishing Tackle & Sporting Goods, Athlete’s Foot, Joeten Ace Hardware, Herman’s Modern Bakery, The Shack Saipan, Zori Zori, Hyatt Regency Saipan, Aqua Resort Club, Saipan Ice & Water, Casa Urashima Restaurant, Grotto Garlic Restaurant, Department of Lands & Natural Resources, Division of Fish & Wildlife, American Memorial Park, Smiling Cove Marina, Department of Public Safety, Tinian Mayor’s Office and the Tinian Municipal Council, Rota Mayor’s Office and the Rota Municipal Council, CNMI Public School System, Rep. Leila Staffler (D-Saipan), and Bryan Rassilyer.