Panama: Tournament Triumph!June 23, 2011
WCFC was lucky to participate in the first big game-fishing tournament – The Novey Tournament – of the season just around the corner at the lovely Hacienda del Mar on the island of San Jose. Hosted by the Novey family, the event saw boats coming from all over Panama to launch the beginning of the game fishing season.
The tournament includes divisions for all – adults as well as young anglers and a women’s category as well. The main focus is educating the angling community about preservation and conservation of our precious game fish species – in particular marlin – which as all you WCFC supporters know, is a topic close to our hearts. We continue to uphold our ideals of catch and release fishing here in Panama just as we do in Haida Gwaii, and hope we can continue to set a positive precedent for the industry here just as we do in Canada. In this tournament, anglers must provide photo evidence of all marlin caught (on a tournament-provided disposable camera) before releasing the fish.
It was a great day of fishing offshore and inshore – tuna, billfish, wahoo, dorado, amberjacks, roosters, cubera snappers, pompano, groupers, sierra mackerels…all were represented well.
Captain Chris, Lindsay, and myself headed over to the island of San Jose to greet the boats as they returned for the weigh-in…this is a view of the bay as the first boats come in. 80 boats were registered for the tournament…
The three of us basked in the sunshine by the infinity pool while we watched the boats come in – quite a scene! These macaws were EVERYWHERE!
Our guest team is below, Captained by Junior, Mate Alirio, guests Brian Grange, Eddie Sollas, Fidel Hachem, Jacob Ehler and Craig Weincek from “The Visitor” (a Panama City newspaper), and Giancarlo Rovira, owner of Panama Fishing Magazine.
They had a great day of fishing, and brought their haul up to the beach for weigh-in.
Here is the beginning of our 2nd place haul below…
Here is the dashing Eddie Sollas loading up the scale with the rest of the team looking on.
We came close to the top prize of the tournament – the grand prize is awarded for the most game species caught (calculated by total overall weight). This is a TOUGH category, but we came within a hairsbreadth of the first place here, with 5 species caught. We were beat out by the Atlantis and Jorge Arauz who caught 6 species.
Brian Grange was chatting up a storm, here he and Eddie charm the President of Panama Ricardo Martinelli, no doubt with stories of how amazing the West Coast Fishing Club at Punta Coco is!! Presidente Martinelli weighed in with some nice fish on Saturday afternoon.
Some of the big wins and highlights of the day by other anglers at the tournament:
54 lb Cubera Snapper caught by Albert Btesh, who as his prize will be joining us for a luxury overnight fishing package (WCFC was a sponsor of the tournament). To add to this, Albert caught the snapper at Punta Coco!! Woo hooo!!
Other highlights: a 67lb roosterfish, 62lb amberjack, 166lb tuna (landed on a popper after a 3 hours fight!), 75lb wahoo.
It was a great day of fishing – and a great day meeting so many great anglers and sharing in such a great community event.
Good night from Paradise,