The Seychelles Sports Fishing Club (SSFC) ended an eventful year by hosting a stylish gala dinner for its members and major sponsors on Thursday 7th December at the Eden Bleu Hotel on Eden Island.
The evening kicked off with SSFC Chairman Tarak Patel welcoming the 200 guests and in his opening speech, he thanked the faithful sponsors who had made the tournaments possible in 2017. “Without your loyal support we would not be here tonight and we thank you all for helping us put Seychelles on the world’s sportfishing map” he stated proudly. “In 2017, we tagged over 800 billfish” he added, stating that “conservation of our playground has been a fundamental part of the progression of the club”, and that he was grateful to all the anglers who had committed themselves to this vital aspect that will ensure a bright future for sportfishing in Seychelles. The Chairman also announced the introduction of a new Ladies’ conservation league which has been sponsored by Al Seer Marine, a leading marine company with headquarters in Abu Dhabi.
Following the Chairman’s speech, the evening moved into a higher gear with the announcement of the winners of the previous week’s Marine Charter Association Big Game Classic Fishing Tournament. Team ‘Island Star’ with captain Antoine Hoareau and first mate Joshua Didon, along with anglers Marc and Davis Houareau, Guy Savy, Ebrahim Chaka and Tony Payet was declared the winner, and they took home an exquisite billfish sculpture and a hefty sum of SR 50,000 for releasing 3 marlins, with one black marlin estimated at over 400 kilograms.
The runner-up who had also released a black marlin was Team 9G captained by Randy Bradley, with teammates Jared Emerick, Danny Thomas, Daryn Du Plessis, Anthony Hayman and the two renowned lady anglers Cherrymie Alinsug and Caroline Esslemont. The team won a bronze trophy plus SR 15,000 for their efforts. Other teams won SR 5,000 each for catching the heaviest fish in the following 5 categories – A-Team for Barracuda; Team FINS for Dorado, Team Island Star for Wahoo; Team Contender for Dogtooth Tuna and Team 9G for Yellowfin Tuna.
The ceremony continued with a raffle sponsored by Savy & Sons and many guests went home with oversized bottles of spirits. This was followed by the presentation of the trophies to the deserving anglers who had participated in the 2017 Conservation League sponsored by SSFC and Mason’s Travel. Adam Ogden won the Recreational Skipper award, whereas Daryn Du Plessis took home the coveted Charter Boat Captain trophy. Brandon Poole was the Recreational Angler of the year and young Liam Mason was named the Junior Angler for 2017.
In 2017, SSFC also launched a demersal tagging program in partnership with Seychelles Fishing Authority and sponsors HONDA Seychelles and the VCS Group. Tarak Patel and Randy Bradley emerged as the winner and runner-up for the Demersal Tagging Skipper awards, whereas Grant Heyer won the best demersal tagging angler award, followed closely by Elias Gonsalez in second place.
Team Blue Lady took home the award for the IGFA Great Marlin Race (IGMR) as the satellite tag deployed on their marlin in early January 2017 travelled the furthest compared to the other competitors’ tagged billfish. The IGMR is a partnership between IGFA and Stanford University that pairs recreational anglers with cutting-edge science to learn more about the basic biology of marlin and how they utilize the open ocean habitat. The goal of the program is to deploy 50 pop up archival tag (PAT) in marlin at billfish tournaments around the world each year. This effort will increase understanding of distribution, population structure and biology of marlin and engage anglers and the general public in the research process. SSFC introduced the IGMR to Seychelles in 2014.
The award ceremony ended with the handing out of two more awards. The first coveted award for Skipper of the Year went to Randy Bradley of 9G and he took home a beautiful bronze trophy and a cash prize. “I am extremely pleased to have won this prestigious award” he told the crowd in a short speech. The runner-up was Captain Antoine Hoareau of Island Star who said that “he will do his best next year to win the title back”. Capt. Aaron Manes was placed third.
The revered Team of the Year award was hotly contested throughout the fishing season and it was the climax of the evening when Chairman Patel announced that Team 9G had pipped Team Blue Lady to the post, with 2016 champion Team Island Star taking 3rd position. The teams were awarded large bronze trophies and cash prizes as the guests and sponsors cheered on the well-deserved winners. “We worked extremely hard all year and despite not winning any of the six major tournaments, our consistency paid off in the end”, Capt. Bradley said. “The competition was very intense this year and I assure you that we will be back again next year to compete hard against our friends” he mused.
Following the awards, the gala evening turned into a party mode as the anglers and sponsors took to the dance floor to celebrate the end of another successful fishing season. Our TODAY in Seychelles newspaper has been a proud partner and sponsor of SSFC throughout 2017 and we look forward to another exciting year of coverage in 2018.