Published in the Samoa News
The Lady Saele out of Samoa, captained by Muliaga David Peterson, claimed the top overall team prize in the 11th Steinlager I’a Lapo’a International Fishing Tournament that included 22 boats from Samoa, New Zealand and American Samoa.
“First if all I’d like to thank the people of American Samoa for supporting Lady Saele,” Seb Kolhase who owns the Samoa-based boat told Samoa News. “There were a lot of people behind the scenes to get us where we are now.”
Captained by Muliaga David Petersen, the Lady Saele clinched the overall spot by scoring 604.8 points in the competition that was canceled its first two days, last Wednesday and Thursday due to rough seas and high winds. Anglers finally ventured out to fish Friday morning. Fishing continued through Saturday and Sunday.
Competitors gathered for the closing awards ceremony Sunday night at Sadie's by the Sea in Utulei. Offering the opening prayer was Pago Pago Gamefishing Association (PPGFA) Media Officer Iusitino Williams.
American Samoa Visitors Bureau (ASVB) Chairman Roy J. D. Hall, Jr. congratulated the PPGFA and the tournament committee “on a job well done” and thanked visiting and local anglers for their participation in the I’a Lapo’a.
“There were the first two days, I was a little concerned about the weather but as we went fishing on Friday I was glad to see that some boats caught and I was very happy on Saturday when I saw the 400-pound marlin being brought in and that was excellent for the tournament,” Hall said. “As an angler myself, you know the biggest marlin I ever caught was a 260-pound marlin and I was very envious of the 400-pounder. When you look at the 400-pounder, I think it was twice as long as the angler is tall.”
Hall was referring to the record-setting 406.4 lbs. Black Marlin reeled in by Christine Elmiger off the Brave Hart out of New Zealand. The Brave Hart is captained by Clyde E. G. Fraser. (See photo in yesteday's edition)
There were also reports of a marlin that had to be tagged because it was bigger than an angler’s boat, said Hall.
“If that story is true then that’s another story we can pass on to attract more people here,” he said. “On behalf of the American Samoa Government, I want to thank you all for coming. This has been a great event and on behalf of the Visitors Bureau … I’m going to recommend that we double the amount that we budget for this event … this is going to be the premier event for May, for our summer and I’m looking forward to everyone enjoying themselves. As you prepare to leave, have a safe trip home …”
The Brave Hart claimed a number of prizes including the 2011, I.G.F.A. Offshore World Championship Tournament invitation and went home with the second place overall team prize in the tournament. Elmiger clinched the Champion Female Angler title for her enormous catch which goes down in history as the largest marlin ever caught in the I’a Lapo’a tournament, according to event organizers.
Another record was also set on Saturday— three marlins reeled in that day— the highest number of marlins caught in one day in the I’a Lapo’a, event organizers note.
“The tournament was fantastic, it went really well … we just felt so sorry for the organizers and the sponsors that the weather conditions weren’t good and it had to be delayed but we got there in the end, had a competition and some nice fish, a lot of fish came in,” Elmiger told Samoa News. “That was fantastic.”
Elmiger, who has been gamefishing for 12 years, says pulling in the hefty catch was a team effort. It took them about one hour to land the 400+ lbs marlin.
“It’s totally a team effort, it’s not a one-man job,” she said. “You’ve got your whole team on the boat and if you happen to be on the rod and on the chair, you’re just kind of doing the donkey work really, you’re doing the hard work. You’re relying on your skipper to put you on the spot where you’re most likely to pick up the fish. You’ve got another person that’s got to tag it or grab hold of the leader and pull it up … it was hard work, it was the biggest fish I have ever caught. I caught a blue marlin in New Zealand but not that big.”
Elmiger says she has fished mostly in New Zealand, but has also gone fishing in Vanuatu, Samoa and American Samoa.
“For sure we’re gonna be back next year,” she said. “Congratulations to everyone! Good on everybody for getting out there … that’s what it’s about. Everyone gets out there, it’s a great level of fishing. You might catch a big fish one day and catch nothing the next day … there’s a certain amount of luck involved … congratulations to everyone and good on everyone for entering in the right spirit.”
Fraser, captain of the Brave Hart, thanked Crispin, the I’a Lapo’a Committee, the PPGFA and “all the people of Samoa for treating us so well over here.”
“It’s been an absolute pleasure, and I speak on behalf of all overseas boats— it’s been an absolute pleasure to come over. There are so many people to thank— the sponsors, the government departments … please accept [this] as a personal thank you from all the overseas boats,” he said, “it’s so much appreciated, the hospitality and everything we’ve had over here. So it is a pleasure to come over. We feel so sorry for you, the weather, the way it turned out, but you put up an awesome show … we hope to come back next year.”
Tournament Chair Peter Crispin thanked the many tournament sponsors before he presented winners with their prizes. The tournament was presented by Steinlager (distributed by Alamai Corporation) and the ASVB, in conjunction with the PPGFA and the Western Pacific Regional Fisheries Council.
Crispin says one of the tournament’s sponsors CII International, based in California, is looking at bringing in some US boats next year.
Most visiting boats departed yesterday morning.
Here are the 2010 I’a Lapo’a Tournament results as provided to Samoa News by the PPGFA:
OVERALL TEAM WINNERS
BOAT POINTS CAPTAIN HOME BASE
1) Lady Saele 604.8 Muliaga David Petersen Samoa
2) Brave Hart 453.8 Clyde E. G. Fraser NZ
3) Girlfriend 281.2 Timothy O. Dromgool NZ
4) Bellerophon 252 John Hindmarsh NZ
5) Happy Hour 237.2 Brian Peck AS
I.G.F.A. OFFSHORE WORLD CHAMIONSHIOP TOURNAMENT INVITATION
(Awarded to the top scoring boat on day 2 due to weather cancellations and participants departure schedules)
Team: Brave Hart Clyde Fraser Skipper NZ.
TOP SCORING SAMOA BOAT
TOP SCORING NZ BOAT
TOP SCORING AS BOAT
CHAMPION FEMALE ANGLER
Christine Elmiger off the Brave Hart
CHAMPION MALE ANGLER
Seb Kolhase off the Lady Saele
Brian Peck, Captain of the Happy Hour
$1,000 ASVB AWARD FOR MOST SPECIES CAUGHT
TAG & RELEASE SPEARFISH
David Mase off the Brave Hart
Greg Petersen off the Fu’a II
WINNERS IN INDIVIDUAL SPECIES CATEGORIES
ANGLER WEIGHT BOAT CAPTAIN
1) Fagota Fagota 24 lbs Wild Bill Kurt Hagedorn
2) Sam Fuamatu 23.2 lbs Wild Bill Kurt Hagedorn
3) Danny Ewing 19.6 Bona Vista III Andy Wearing
DOGTOOTH TUNA (Only 2 were caught)
1) Hellen Maxey 28.2 lbs Wild Bill Kurt Hagedorn
2) Tisa Faamuli 17.2 Happi Hooka Candyman
1) Courtney Stevenson 33.8 lbs Kingfisher II Alfred Schwalger
2) Barbara Mace 30 lbs Brave Hart Clyde E. G Fraser
3) Terry Lam Yuen 27.8 lbs Lady Fina Tony Fuga
1) Seb Kolhase 47.6 lbs Lady Saele Muliaga David Petersen
2) Seb Kolhase 40.8lbs Lady Saele Muliaga David Petersen
3) Seb Kolhase 40.2 lbs Lady Saele Muliaga David Petersen
1) Peter Young 41.2 lbs Sashimi II Teoutaifeau Mitch Shimasaki
2) E. T. Tulafono 30.6 lbs Princess Toria E. T. Tulafono
3) Kim Bertelsen 17.4 lbs Lady Saele Muliaga David Petersen
3) David Mace 17.4 lbs Brave Hart Clyde E. G Fraser
SAILFISH (Only one species landed, one was a tag and release)
1) Alan Woods 84 lbs Reel Chaos Aaron Bradley
1) Christine Elmiger 406.4 lbs Brave Hart Clyde E. G. Fraser
2) Fred Schmit 266.8 lbs Lady Saele Muliaga David Petersen
3) Jack Hindmarsh 252 lbs Bellerophon Ted Hindmarsh
TAG & RELEASE SAILFISH
1) Bryan Walmsley 60 lbs Girlfriend Timothy O. Dromgool
TAG & RELEASE MARLIN (3-way tie)
1) Brian Peck (No weight) Happy Hour Brian Peck
1) Bryan Walmsley (No weight) Girl Friend Timothy O. Dromgool
1) Patrick Willock (No weight) Fu’a II Vaughan Simpson
TAG & RELEASE, MOST OVERALL TEAM POINTS
1) Girl Friend
2) Happy Hour
2) Fu’a II