The Tobago International Game Fishing Tournament (TIGFT), which wrapped up its 13th annual Charlotteville-based event on March 9th, 2008, hosted a total of 55 boats – 31 in the International/IGFA (International Game Fishing Association) Division and 24 in the Local Division.
Over the three days of fishing, anglers released a total of 15 blue marlin, 10 sailfish and one white marlin.
“Also ‘released’,” says Capt. Gerard “Frothy” DeSilva, tournament director and owner of Hard Play Fishing Charters, “was a long bill spearfish, a rare catch, by angler Kent Costa of Team Mar Caribe. Unfortunately the Mar Caribe team mistook what would have been a Tobago Island Record Spearfish for a Blue Marlin and set the prize catch free.”
Junior angler, Justin Amann, of Team Hard Play landed the tournament’s only billfish, a 67.1-pound sailfish. The Largest Tuna weighed in at 56.7 pounds and was caught by Jonathan Dela Rosa of Team Gud Tyme. Adam Clarke of Team Legacy from Barbados took home the prizes for the Largest Wahoo, a 43.1-pounder and Largest Dolphin, 51.3 pounds.
The B-Class Mercedes Benz sponsored by Sterling Service Limited as the prize for the record breaking heaviest blue marlin went unclaimed as no blue marlin were brought to scale in the tournament.
“That is not to say that the marlin weren’t out there,” says DeSilva. “Chris Aqui of Team Abigail fought a large blue marlin which he unfortunately lost after a four hour battle. Team Workshop and Team Surf n Turf also reported large blue marlin lost.”
However, the prizes of Penn International Reel & Rods, Bodo Muche Trophies, Black Bart Lures, Yeti Coolers, and much more were presented to the many winners at the Awards Ceremony and Prize Giving Dinner. An exciting video of the four-day event was shown to participants before the presentation of prizes. The Honorable Orville London, Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly, a major sponsor of the event, presented the prizes to the Best Boat – Team Viking IV. Team B’ Boss took 2nd Place and 3rd Place went to Team Luhred Away. Best Male Angler was Goran Quardfordt, Best Female Angler was Sara Aleong of Team Barracuda and Sean Mendonca of Team Indigo claimed Best Junior Angler.
The use of Digital Cameras and Memory Cards for ‘Release’ photos was implemented for the first time this year. This afforded participating teams the guarantee of an eligible photo. Also, new this year was a Bimini Start on the first day of fishing and additional points for the use of Circle Hooks in an effort to promote conservation of the billfish species.
The TIGFT is the second of six tournaments that form the newly founded Southern Caribbean Billfish Circuit (SCBC), which started in Grenada at the Spice Island International Billfish Tournament January of 2008. Other events of the circuit are Barbados Game Fish Tournament, TTGFA Marlin Madness in Tobago, the St. Lucia International Billfish Tournament and MBA Martinique Billfish Tournament. Teams will be judged on their three best performances of the six SCBC events.
The TIGFT is known for its heavily-contested fishing among teams as well as for the Lay Day fun and the ‘relax and let loose’ Angler’s Party during the event.
DeSilva says, “The Tournament Committee prides itself on hosting a well organized and exciting sports fishing adventure for participants and looks forward to an even bigger and more exciting event in 2009.”
The dates for next year’s TIGFT are March 19-22, 2009.