The 2011 Trinidad and Tobago Game Fishing Association (TTGFA) annual Tourism Development Company (TDC) Tarpon Thunder Tournament saw records being smashed as anglers from Barbados, the United States of America, Canada and Trinidad & Tobago released a record 236 tarpons over three days of fishing in August. The previous record was 166 tarpon, which were released in the 2009 tournament.
Speaking at the prize giving, held at Sweet Water Marina in Chaguaramas, a delighted Tournament Chairman, Richard De Verteuil, noted that a total of 138 anglers participated on 29 boats.
The winning team, Ramajay released a staggering 32 tarpon over the five fishing sessions that started on the morning of Friday August 19th and continued through the weekend. Their impressive haul forced last year’s champions, team Mapepire, to settle for second place with 26 releases. Third place went to team PRI-d-Jep; they also had 26 fish but were beaten by Mapepire on time.
Captain of the winning team Michael Ross along with team members Christian Reece, Blayne Fahrina, Chad Chu Cheong and Josh Lewis started the first morning of the tournament in impressive fashion by releasing nine fish. Six of the nine fish were caught by the skipper of Ramajay. However, Josh Lewis and crew were not alone as team Magic Lady also released nine fish in the first session.
Several other teams did well on the first morning by catching six fish but it was not good enough to compete against the two leaders. Later that day, during the second session, Ramajay took the lead and never looked back. Josh Lewis of Ramajay and Adam Conyers of team PRI-d-Jep both released 11 Tarpon but Josh had to settle for second best angler because of time. Paul Hamelsmith of team Mamazelle II placed third best angler with his ten releases.
The prize for Best Female Angler went to Susan Persad of team Taz. Persad released a total of four Tarpon. One fish on the first morning took her two and a half hours to release. She was not the only winner on the boat as her team member Bob Schutz won Best Foreign Angler by also releasing four fish. Best Junior Angler was awarded to Jordan Aboud, with last year’s top anglers, Joshua Camacho and Matthew Vilain (both of team Anger Management), settling for second and third place respectively.
TTGFA’s President, Reginald MacLean thanked all the foreign anglers for taking part and special mention was made of the sponsors for the 2011 Tarpon Thunder Tournament: TDC, Well Services Group of Companies, Carib, Vemco, Blue Waters, Budget Marine, Real Marketing, Tee-Tee Ltd, Reel Tackle & Seafood, Tank & Fuel and Weather Routing Inc.
MacLean went on to remind all participants of the importance of handling the fish properly to ensure that they survive after being released.
Report submitted by Steven Valdez.