Team Victoria goes for title defense in Mahi Derby 2016


Scott Shular of Team Victoria shows the mahi caught last weekend in the waters between Saipan and Tinian. (Contributed Photo)

Defending champion Team Victoria is hoping to catch the biggest fish this Saturday in the Annual Mahi Derby 2016.

Captain Diego Benavente and crewmembers Scott Shular, James Benavente, and Vicky Benavente will be registering their boat to compete in the weekend tournament.

“We’re getting ready, preparing the lures and gear for this weekend,” said captain Benavente. “There’s no guarantee when it comes to fishing, so we’re just going to get out there, do our best, and keep an eye out for the big one.”

The Saipan Fishermen’s Association (SFA) will begin registration for all boat captains tomorow at the Smiling Cove Marina, from 4:30pm to 6:30pm. The Mahi Derby officially starts at 6am and concludes at 5pm on Saturday. SFA president Gene Weaver emphasizes the importance of safety and preparation for all Derby participants.

“It’s the number one factor when we organize the annual Mahi Derby,” Weaver said. SFA encourages all participants to have their boats inspected by the Department of Public Safety’s Boating Safety Unit. For more information, contact the Boating Safety office to arrange for an appointment. DPS Boating Safety telephone numbers are 285-4829 (Officer Kaipat), 285-5914 (Officer Omar) and 287-9610 (Officer Sato).

Last year, SFA signed up 37 boats to compete for cash and in-kind prizes and bragging rights for one year. Coming in first place, Team Victoria, caught the biggest mahi weighing 24.4lbs, garnering the captain and crew $1,000 in cash. Last year’s second place winner, Captain Alexandro Castro of the Carmelita, came in with a 23.8-lbcatch, and in third place, was the Zeppelin, with Captain Steve Pixley.

Sponsors for the 2016 Mahi Derby include the SFA, Budweiser, Marianas Visitors Authority, Docomo Pacific, and the CNMI Dept. Public Safety Boating Safety.

Derby entry forms and rules are available at the MVA office in Oleai, and the Fishing Tackle in Susupe. For more information, contact Martin Duenas at the MVA at 664-3200 or log on to the SFA website at (PR)

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