“It is the first time that we win such a competition and you will be seeing more of team Ushaka throughout 2018.”
Team Ushaka shocked the Sportfishing community this weekend by winning the Marlin Slam Tournament which was the curtain raiser event organised by the Seychelles Sports Fishing Club (SSFC).
The Tournament which was held on Saturday 27th January 2018 at the Marine Charter Association saw the participation of eight boats namely the 9G, Island Star, Blue Lady, Paolo, Ushaka, Rebecca, Ocean Pearl and SexSea. Entrance fee in this high-stake tournament was fifteen thousand rupees and all teams left Mahé at 2am and had to return by 5pm in the afternoon in order to be eligible for prizes.
The tournament was fished as per the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) rules. Furthermore, and as per the rules set by SSFC, the participants had to release all marlin below the 150-kilo threshold as well as release all other billfish such as sailfish, swordfish or spearfish. Only marlin estimated at over 150 Kgs were eligible to be weighed and all billfish caught had to be recorded on video to be handed over to SSFC as proof that the fish had indeed been caught according to all rules and regulations.
With a large crowd waiting patiently at the Marine Charter enjoying the latest music from popular DJs Basil Samy and Aubrey Manes, the first boat to make its grand entrance at 4.36pm was Team Fins who were fishing on boat Rebecca, followed by boats Ushaka, Island Star and Paola.
Since Team Fins had released one marlin and two sailfish, it did not weigh any fish although it proudly flew its release flags high above its outriggers. Meanwhile, the spectators were soon on their feet as the anglers on Team Ushaka unloaded two large marlins onto the Marine Charter jetty. The first marlin lifted onto the gantry weighed only 144 Kgs and therefore did not meet the minimum weight category. As the second marlin was hoisted up, the anticipation on the faces of the anglers of Team Ushaka was one of anxiety, but it soon turned into joy as the MC Eric Collie announced the weight of 151.9 Kilos, which meant that the marlin had qualified and guaranteed the team a chance to win the tournament. Team Ushaka also tagged and released two other marlins which were thought to be below the required threshold, as well as two sailfish. Those billfish were all released to fight another day.
Team Island Star was the only other team who released a marlin and a sailfish, the former caught by team captain Marc Houareau. “We missed a small blue marlin at around 8am but I caught this nice black marlin just before noon,” he told TODAY. “However, we felt it was just below the 150-kilo threshold thus we tagged and released the fish as per the rules of the competition”.
Upon completion of the weighing, the officials reviewed all the video footage that was turned in to ensure that all teams had caught their fish legally and according to the IGFA rules. After a long wait and much anticipation, Team Ushaka was declared the overall winner, followed by Team Fins as runner-up as they had caught their marlin earlier than Team Island Star who took 3rd place.
TODAY Sports caught up with Francis Marie, the captain of Team Ushaka. “We were disappointed at how long it took to announce that we were the winners, as it had been a very long day and we had put in a maximum effort to win. There was some contention in regard to IGFA rules and also the fact that our first marlin weighed did not meet the threshold, but in the end, we are happy that we won as we deserved it. We will try to defend our title next year and you will definitely be seeing more of us in future competitions”.
On another note, the chairperson of the SSFC, Tarak Patel, stated that ‘in general we are very happy with the turnout and participation considering the weather, and even if there were certain issues earlier which we have clarified and addressed. I am glad that Team Ushaka has won the tournament. Obviously, we would not have been able to organise this event without the help of our faithful sponsors and I would like to take the opportunity to thank our main official sponsor Rapid Roofing and the Ernestine family, TODAY in Seychelles newspaper and also the Marine Charter Association for hosting this exciting tournament.”
As a sponsor of this tournament and a partner of SSFC, TODAY in Seychelles would like to congratulate Team Ushaka on its inaugural win and wishes to thank all teams and anglers for taking part in this exciting tournament.