After some tough luck in the early hours of their trolling, K Fisher captain Jun Azarcon and crew finally landed the prized catch—a 290-lb marlin—to rule the 36th Annual Saipan International Fishing Tournament held last Saturday.
K Fisher reeled in the heaviest bill fish to prevail against 57 other boats that registered for the Saipan Fishermen’s Association-organized competition. Joining Azarcon on the winning boat are anglers Jack Diaz, Joe Torres, Pat Reyes, and Pete Sablan.
Sablan said they caught the marlin somewhere east of Saipan (it’s expected and understandable for most fishermen to not disclose their specific hunting grounds, especially during competitions) just before lunch and after initially getting several tunas.
“We are following a school of fish for a few hours in the morning and we’re only catching tunas. We got a strike at 11am and the reel went screaming. We knew it was a marlin, but couldn’t tell if it was a big one,” Sablan said.
“We were able to pull it in around 11:20am. We trolled for a few more hours around the same location to see if we could get a bigger marlin or a wahoo. Then we decided to make our way back to the dock by 3pm,” the K Fisher crewmember added.
Cut-off time for last weekend’s tournament at Smiling Cove Marina was at 5pm, an hour earlier than the usual deadline. This year’s competition was also shortened, from two days to just one due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite of the changes in the tournament that was originally set for July 18 and 19, this year’s event still had a good turnout with a mix of newcomers and returning participants.
Newbie Sesa came in second behind K Fisher for the heaviest bill fish category after reeling in a 170.6-lb marlin. In the yellow fin tuna division, Ichiban’s 10.6 lb-catch narrowly beat the 10.5-lb of Bunita.
In the wahoo category, Reyisa had the heaviest catch at 49.8 lbs, followed by the 24.1 lbs of Team Kaijin; 19.2 lbs of Just for Fun; 19.1 lbs of Amazing Grace; 17.9 lbs of Cha’nang; 16.5 lbs of The Marianas; 14.5 lbs of the Happy Rider; 11.9 lbs of Le’ana Vae and Fountain of Youth; 11.3 lbs of Trenchers; and 10.9 lbs of MV Connie.
In the mahi category, MV Tivana reeled in 11.7 lbs to beat Ocean Masta (10.1 lbs), Soul Mates (8.7 lbs), and Nombei (4.4). In the skipjack competition, Santa Soledad’s 11.5 lbs won over the 9.6 lbs of K Fisher, while J&MJ brought an 8-lb to land in third place.