Over 60 boats expected for Mafuti Derby

Posted on Aug 17 2022

I Sanhalom Laguna Anglers Association president Joe Torres, left, with Ed Diaz, the captain of Nibbler, the three-time defending champion of the ISLA Mafuti Derby. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

The I Sanhalom Laguna Anglers Association will hold its 4th Annual Mafuti Derby on Aug. 27 with boats launching from the Smiling Cove Marina.
ISLA president Joe Torres said they’re anticipating 60 boats to take part in the one-day derby, which is named after the emperor snapper that is plentiful in the Marianas. 

Over $3,500 in prizes are at stake in the 4th Annual Mafuti Derby, which starts at 6am and ends at

A mandatory rules briefing will be held on Aug. 25 at the Minatchom Atdao Pavillion starting at 5:30pm. 

Registration forms are available at Fishing Tackle & Sporting Goods, Micronesia Marine, and on the ISLA Facebook page.

Last year, captain Ed Diaz made up for his belated start to the sport of fishing by winning the 2021 ISLA Mafuti Derby.

The Marianas Visitors Authority Community Projects specialist and the crew of Nibbler caught the biggest emperor fish at a whopping 7 lbs to win the top prize of $1,000, a handsome trophy, and a year’s worth of bragging rights. 

It marked the third straight Mafuti Derby that Diaz and his crew won. They first won in 2018 and then made it back-to-back in 2019. The derby was canceled in 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

ISLA was established in 2018 by a group of anglers that treat fishing as a way of life. The Mafuti Derby is restricted to the waters inside the Saipan lagoon and participating boats can’t exceed 17 feet in length. 

Since the derby is only held inside the lagoon and is safer and closer to land, over the past years  more and more of the island’s youth have been taking part in the fishing tourney. 

Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at Mark_Rabago@saipantribune.com
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