1st Annual Buds & Suds Open Fishing Tournament reels in success
The National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa co-hosted its first annual open fishing tournament from December 2-3, 2016 — the 1st Annual Buds & Suds Open Fishing Tournament.
The event was a collaboration of the sanctuary, local fishing community and private sector, with major sponsors Bud Light and South Pacific Distributors Inc. (SOPAC).
Additional sponsorships were provided by Cardinal Point Captains (CPC), Industrial Gases & Tool Shop, Hamburg Sud, Samoa Maritime, Tri Marine – STP, Harbor Maritime, Pago Pago Game Fishing Association, KS Mart, StarKist and A&E Café.
The sanctuary was also very fortunate to garner support from the Sanctuary Advisory Council members and the community who assisted in organizing and sponsoring this exciting fishing tournament that will become an annual event.
Those instrumental in organizing the inaugural event included Sepp Steffany, George Powsky, Andy Wearing, Russ Cox, Va’amua Henry Sesepasara, and the Alia Association. Weigh Master Fred Brant and Tournament Committee member Solofa Su’esu’e. Additionally, providing special assistance, the organizing committee would like to thank the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources Director Ruth Matagi-Tofiga, Wes Tuilefano and the Data Collection Team.
Over 100 fishermen with their families and friends joined the last day of the event for the awards ceremony. Further, organizers and participants of the tournament donated over 400 pounds of fish caught to the Hope House- Fatu o Aiga.
There were 17 boats registered for the tournament that included both local alias and recreational fishing vessels. This was the first time both groups joined together for a fishing tournament.
Although not limited to sanctuary waters, a major goal of the tournament was to better inform the fishing community that you are allowed to fish in Sanctuary areas with the exception of Fagatele Bay.
Fagatele Bay is the only sanctuary management area where fishing is not allowed. Another goal of the event was to promote recreation in the sanctuary.
Tournament organizers received a lot of great feedback from the boat captains and participants, as they were grateful for the opportunity to fellowship and to learn more about the sanctuary mission. This feedback will help in the planning of the 2017 tournament and ensure it is even more of a success.
Cash prizes provided by SOPAC and Cardinal Point Captains were presented to tournament winners in the following categories:
- Yellowfin: 1st place 113.2 lbs, Dorado, Captain Chris Banse and crew; 2nd place tie 24.2 lbs, Sashimi I, Captain Uluiva Fa’alevao and crew, and Double Hooked, Co-Captains Andy Wearing and Peter Crispin and crew.
- Sailfish: 1st place 109.4 lbs, Sashimi II, Captain Fano Mitch Shimasaki and crew; 2nd place 86.4 lbs, Salvation, Captain Leuma Smith and crew.
- Dogtooth Tuna: 1st place 31.6 lbs, Dorado, Captain Chris Banse and crew; 2nd place 20.8 lbs, Dorado, Captain Chris Banse and crew.
- Wahoo: 1st place 29.6 lbs, I’a Manu, Captain Taulapapa Will Sword and crew; 2nd place 20.2 lbs, Sashimi II, Captain Fano Mitch Shimasaki and crew.
- Skip Jack: 1st place 10.4 lbs, South Wind, Captain Eo Mokoma and crew; 2nd place 9.8 lbs, Salvation, Captain Leuma Smith and crew.
- Miscellaneous: 1st place 28.4 lbs Big Eye Trevally, Sashimi I, Captain Uluiva Fa’alevao and crew; 2nd place 16.4 lbs Giant Trevally, Grady White, Captain Xavier Bowles and crew.
Fa’afetai tele, and we look forward to your continued support and participation again at next year’s tournament!