Fledgling fisherman Derek Reyes Jr. took top honors at the Shoreline Casting Tournament that was held last Jan. 25 along the beachside of the Minatchom Atdao in Susupe.
The other winners in the tournament were Pio Nogis, who came in second place; Bryant Dy, who took third place honors; PJ Robert, who came in fourth; and Gabby Mario, who placed fifth.
Organized by the Saipan Fisherman Association, the Shoreline Casting Tournament saw the young members of the Youth Fishing Club try their hand at fishing from the shore as early as 5:30am, using the rod and reels that were recently donated by Fishing Tackle and Sporting Goods.
Prizes were awarded to the students who placed top five. The tournament was only open to students who are under into the SFA’s “Tasi to the Table” program.
“I didn’t think there would be many students coming out because of the weather but they came out and were in full force,” said SFA president Gene Weaver. “Just seeing all these bright yellow shirts along the shoreline, it was a success and a very great turnout.”
According to SFA spokesman Wayne Pangelinan, this was a way for the students to put their skills to the test.
“We’ve given them three and a half months of classroom learning. Now it’s time to put the learning into practical use,” said Pangelinan. “In addition to that, we have taught them the values of the catch and release. If the fish sizes are pretty small, we teach them how to release it so it can repopulate the ocean.”
The students are enrolled in the “Tasi to the Table” program for eight months and had three and a half months to learn the skills in the classroom and then, the next five months for students to put their skills to the test.
“This [fishing] is part of our culture, we only hope that the young generation will take over and carry the spirit, ingenuity, and push forward for many more movements, like what we’re doing for them today,” said Pangelinan.
“I hope that the students who have never touched a rod and reel before felt a special connection with the water,” said Weaver.
Five representatives of the Bureau of Environment and Coastal Quality, Micronesian Islands Nature Association, Department of Public Safety’s Boating Safety, and more were also present at the tournament.