Tight competition as Seychelles anglers bring in record 14 slams in SSFC-Heineken tournament
The Heineken Slam last weekend saw the participation of 16 teams comprising of Seychellois and tourist anglers. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The latest sports fishing tournament in the Seychelles waters turned out well last weekend as the 2015 SSFC/Heineken Funfish slam recorded an impressive '14 slams' compared to only one or two at the most or none at all, in previous tournaments.
The Heineken Slam is considered to be one of the most challenging on the sports fishing calendar, as the teams go out in search of the coveted 'slam', which consists of catching a combination of a wahoo, a yellowfin tuna, and a dorado.
The competition gets even more challenging as this is the time of year when the Indian Ocean archipelago experiences the Southeast Monsoon, which is characterized by rough sea conditions.
However, this did not deter a total of 16 boats, up from last year’s 10, from departing the Marine Charter in the Seychelles capital of Victoria at midnight last Saturday with a deadline of 5pm local time set the same day for the boats to return with their catch.
|After 17 hours of fishing, the anglers from the 16 participating boats waited patiently as their catch was weighed to decide the winner. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
Overall, the organizers have said that the 2015 tournament, which also saw the participation of tourists, was a success.
“The weather was perfect. We had over 100 participants on the boats, a record 14 slams, IGFA Super Offshore Grand Slams, IGFA Offshore Grand Slams,” SSFC’s Secretary Grant Heyer told SNA in an email interview, adding that it was a very close tournament with the winner and runner-up separated by only seven kilograms of fish.
The 'A-TEAM' was declared the tournament’s overall winner, with a total of 1,585.5 points, followed closely by 'Team KUKI' with a total of 1,558.5 points. Both teams managed to catch three 'slams'.
|A close one for 'A-TEAM' (top photo) and 'Team KUKI' the winner and runner-up of the 2015 Heineken Funfish slam. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
As was the case in last year’s Heineken Slam tournament and every tournament thereafter organized by the SSFC anglers were also aiming to win the Billfish Release challenge.
SSFC teamed up with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) for the challenge, which means all billfish caught (such as blue marlins, sailfish and swordfish) must be tagged and released, while video footage of the tag and release must be produced for verification purposes in order to be awarded their points.
“[There were] eight billfish released [six sailfish, one black marlin, one blue marlin] by five different teams. Two participants caught their first billfish,” said Heyer.
This year it was Team 'FINS' that took home the Billfish release challenge trophy after tagging 4 sailfish.
|Team 'FINS' celebrate winning the Billfish release challenge trophy. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
SSFC is of the view that sports fishing enthusiasts in Seychelles are becoming more aware of this conservation aspect of the fishing tournaments.
“Our SSFC/Mason's Travel Conservation Fishing League is up to over 93 billfish released this year, including recreational, sports fishing and tourists that visit Seychelles that go on fishing charters,” noted Heyer.
The Indian Ocean archipelago is known to have one of the richest big game fishing grounds in the world.
The next fishing tournament, the annual Southeast Monsoon Sailfish Tournament, is set for July 25.