Saipan Fishermen’s Association president Tony Scragg said the way the 37th Annual Saipan International Fishing Tournament turned out couldn’t have been scripted any better.
He said after a 2020 that saw SFA scale down the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual fishing tournament returned with a bang this year.
“I would like to say thank you to each and every participant who joined our 37th annual tournament. We had 90 entries and that is phenomenal. Of the 90, we had 17 from Guam and we thank them for coming down and the COVID-19 Task Force for all the work they put in to make this happen,” he said.
The SFA official said the 2021 fishing derby also marked the first time Flying Proas took the part in the competition, which successfully bridged the Marianas’ rich seafaring tradition.
“We had a historic event with four traditional canoes and we are so proud of 500 Sails participating. We organize this event for all the fishermen, fisher women, and the youth of the Marianas. The turnout was fantastic and makes us very proud and ready to do it again each and every year,” said Scragg.
SFA member and awards ceremony emcee Curtis Dancoe also recalled an interesting exchange at the Smiling Cove Mariana ramp with one of the winners in the July 10-11 event.
He was pertaining to billfish category winner Defiance captained by Rufin Inos Jr. and manned by deckhands Tero Takai, Vince Inos, Asap Ogumoro, and the irrepressible Jack Salas.
“A beautiful Tundra was sitting there and I said ‘sorry sir, you’re blocking the ramp. And he says ‘it’s OK I’m Jack Salas’ and I said ‘aren’t you supposed to be fishing?’ and he said ‘I’m actually waiting for the boat to come because I have all these things that I need to unload.’ And so they go out at 10 o’clock and go back at less than 4 hours later with a 327-lb marlin to take first place,” he said as the crowd erupted in cheers during the awards ceremony last July 12 at the poolside of Aqua Resort Club.
Scragg also extended his gratitude to the sponsors of the annual competition, which despite the pandemic, still stepped up to the plate and agreed to sponsor the 37th Annual Saipan International Fishing Tournament.
“On behalf of all the members of the Saipan fishermen’s Association, I would like to say thank you to all the sponsors, government agencies, support staff, and volunteers. They are all a huge reason why our tournament was so successful! We hope to see everyone next year for our 18th Annual Mahi Derby and the 38th Annual Saipan International Fishing Tournament. Congratulations to all the winners. Please visit our website sfacnmi.com, Facebook page, and our Instagram page for all the videos and pictures of this year’s event. Fish on Marianas!”
The 37th Annual Saipan International Fishing Tournament was sponsored by the following: Marpac Budweiser, Mobil Oil Marianas, TSL Foundation/TanHoldings, Triple J Enterprises, Pacifica Insurance Underwriter, Inc., CIC Insurance, Docomo Pacific, Roil Soil, Pacific Rim Land Development, Paradise Dental Spa, Coca-Cola Beverage Co. (Micronesia), Inc., Atkins Kroll Saipan, Matson Inc., D&Q International Distributors, Naked Fish, Western Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Council, Muzik Production, WSTCO, MINA, Micronesian Marine, Marianas Coffee, Johnny’s Bar & Grill, Herman’s Modern Bakery, Century Hotel, Fishing Tackle & Sporting Goods, Joeten Motors, Inas’ Kitchen, and Bank of Saipan.