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PHOTOS: NZ'S BRAVE HART IS 14TH STEINLARGER INT’L I’A LAPO’A CHAMP

tony@samoanews.com
Nine anglers of seven different vessel’s were all tied up with 200 points for the Tag and Release Category of this year’s 14th Steinlager International I’a Lapo’a Game Fishing Tournament. [photo: TG]

The closing of the 14th Steinlager International I’a Lapo’a Game Fishing Tournament was exciting for our guests from the New Zealand, as they topped the chart in the Country Standings, with New Zealand's Brave Hart  sailing away from Tutuila with the Championship title for this year’s I’a Lapo’a, with an overall run away total of 1023.2 points.
 
Awards and farewells for the highly successful fishing tourney took place on Saturday evening, the day after competition finished, during a special awards dinner.
 
Brave Hart was captained by David J.A. Watt and crew members were Christine Elmiger, Nicole Diane Bol and Clyde Fraser. Elmiger took the Top Female Anglers win, while Watt placed 3rd in the Top Male Anglers category.
 
Second place in the Overall Country Standings was American Samoa’s Reel Cat, captained by Sepp Steffany, which collected 726.6 points, with a huge catch brought to the scale when Steffany lured in a 326.6 lb Blue Marlin. It wasn’t the biggest fish of the tourney — but it was enough to bring the Reel Cat to second place standings. In fact, its specie catches were all Blue Marlin.
 
Coming in third place was the “Kingfisher II” — the only vessel from Samoa to compete, which captured 667.4 points. The boat was captained by Alfred Schwalger, who also won the “Sportsmanship Award”, acknowledging tough times: Trying to regroup after the Hurricane Evan disaster, still hosting the game fishing tournament in Apia, and ultimately bringing his crew to Pago to compete.
 
Fourth place in the competition was the “Bonavista II” — a local vessel captained by Andy Wearing. The Bonavista II racked in 649.4 points with a total catch count of 24 captures of three different species.
 
Fifth Place was awarded to local vessel, the Sau Ia! captained by Rodney Reid. It collected 561 points with a total of three catch counts of two different species. It also brought in the “heaviest fish” during the tourney, but not enough to place in the top three spots of Country Standings.
 
Just below Sau Ia! was the Girlfriend crew from New Zealand who lured in a total of 525.8 points to claim the sixth place of the tournament.
 
Competitors who scored below 500 points were New Zealand vessels, Game Keeper, Kai Time, Adrenalin, and Te Ururoa, and the Happi Hooka from American Samoa.
 
The top three anglers of the tourney were local fisherman Sepp Steffany of the Reel Cat, who collected 726.6 points for first place;  Darrin Spillane of New Zealand from the Girlfriend vessel with a total of 525.8 points for second; and, third place was awarded to David J A Watt from the Brave Hart vessel also from New Zealand. Watt collected 209.8 points.
 
The top Female Angler Award went to Christine Elmiger of the Brave Hart crew. She fought hard in this year’s tournament to score 303.2 points to top the Women’s Division in the tournament.
 
The Heaviest Fish Landed Award was given out to a local competitor from the Sau Ia! vessel, Peter Young, who caught “The I’a Lapo’a” — a 342.2 lbs Blue Marlin that was reeled in during the last day of the tournament last Friday.
 
Adrenalin for NZ was immortalized on the American Samoa Visitors Bureau Perpetual Trophy of the I’a Lapo’a Tournament for the most species captured (5) during this year’s competition.
 
Species caught by different competitors in this year’s I’a Lapo’a Tournament:
 
Adrenalin
 
Barracuda 1
 
Dog Tooth Tuna 1
 
Masi Masi 1
 
Short Billed 1
 
Yellow Fin Tuna 2
 
 
Bonavista II
 
Sail Fish 1
 
Wahoo 9
 
Yellow Fin Tuna 14
 
 
Brave Hart
 
Blue Marlin 4
 
Masi Masi 2
 
Short Billed 3
 
Skip Jack Tuna 1
 
 
 
Game Keeper
 
Blue Marlin 2
 
Masi Masi 1
 
 
 
Girlfriend
 
Blue Marlin 2
 
Sail Fish 1
 
 
Happi Hooka
 
Dog Tooth Tuna 1
 
Wahoo 3
 
 
Kai Time
 
Blue Marlin 2
 
Masi Masi 1
 
 
Kingfisher II
 
Blue Marlin 2
 
Short Billed 1
 
Yellow Fin Tuna 8
 
 
Reel Cat
 
Blue Marlin 3
 
 
Sau Ia!
 
Blue Marlin 2
 
Masi Masi 1
 
 
Te Ururoa
 
Barracuda 1
 
Sail Fish 1
 
Wahoo 3
 

photo: TG
photo: TG
Captain Alfred Schwalger of the Kingfisher II, the only vessel from Samoa to compete in the 14th Steinlager International I’a Lapo’a Game Fishing Tournament, was awarded the “Sportsmanship Award” acknowledging tough times: Trying to regroup after the Hurricane Evans disaster, still hosting the game fishing tournament in Apia, and ultimately bringing his crew to Pago. [photo: TG]
The American Samoa Visitors Bureau Perpetual Trophy for the I’a Lapo’a Tournament was awarded to the Adrenalin Crew from New Zealand for most species (5) captured during the competition. Previous winners of the trophy were Bonavista II and the Fua II. [photo: TG]
The top Male Angler Award for the 14th Steinlager I’a Lapo’a Tournament was won by our one of our local competitors, Sepp Steffany of the “Reel Cat” vessel who topped the charts with 726.6 points. [photo: TG]
The Heaviest Fish Landed Award was given out to one of our local competitor from the Sau Ia! vessel, Peter Young who caught the 14th Steinlager International I’a Lapo’a Game Fishing Tournament’s “Biggest Fish”, which was a 342.2 lbs Blue Marlin that was reeled in during the last day of the tournament last Friday. [photo: TG]


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