Team Roil Soil went home the biggest winner in last Saturday’s 17th Annual Mahi Mahi Fishing Derby after winning the side bet for reeling in the heaviest wahoo of the one-day tournament.
Captain Shayne Villanueva and his three crewmembers—Angel Reyes, Francis Buniag, and Jerome Sablan—aboard the Sun Bird caught a whopping wahoo that tipped the scales at 21.2 lbs to win the side bet prize of $2,400 which was $400 more than the $2,000 won by the actual 17th Annual Mahi Mahi Fishing Derby champion Team 10/7.
“We got very lucky. We had some very experienced anglers in the derby. So many great fisherman and 59 boats on the water. We just got lucky,” Villanueva told Saipan Tribune when asked about the team’s fortunes during the derby.
He said winning the side bet was not only fortuitous, but also was a good way to celebrate one of his crewmates’ birthday.
“We were excited to win. It was my cousin Jerome Sablan’s 40th birthday. So it was nice to celebrate that milestone with a memory of our first-ever derby as the side bet winner. He was our good-luck charm.”
The winning wahoo was caught right outside the northern part of Tinian’s waters some three hours after the Sun Bird sailed from the Smiling Cove Marina.
“It wasn’t an easy fight. The water was rough and we fought it for about 25 minutes,” said Villanueva, who added that he and his crewmembers are humbled to have been blessed by the bounty of the sea Saturday, considering they went up against more experienced fishermen like the crew of the Lucky Harvest, MV Gloria, Victoria, just to name a few.
While there were no cash or in-kind prizes for second and third places, coming in runners-up to Roil Soil in the wahoo side bet category was Kaimana of captain James Roberto aboard the boat of the same name. He and his lone crewmember, Ryan Camacho, managed to wrangle a 19.7-lb wahoo.
Ocean Fever of captain Larry Williams and Felin Nauti of captain Victor Salas tied for third place with a catch that weighed 17.8 lbs.
The main sponsor of the year’s 17th Annual Mahi Mahi Fishing Derby is Budweiser and the sporting event was organized by the Saipan Fishermen’s Association.