On the 24th & 25th of February 2018, the Trinidad and Tobago Game Fishing Association hosted its annual Budget Marine Wahoo Blowout tournament. The tournament usually focuses on Wahoo as the primary species but due to a continuous decline in fish stock from unregulated fishing in and around our coastal waters, the committee had no option but open up to other species to try to increase catch and participation.
The tournament only attracted 10 boats this year comprising of 46 anglers. This was a direct result of poor fishing and rough seas offshore. In total 143 pounds of fish were caught in two days with over 80lbs of it donated to the Christ Child Convalescent home. We also had 2 Sailfish successfully caught and released by our winning boat, which braved the weather and traveled to Tobago in hopes of a more fruitful catch.
Captain Dominic Wallace with crew Dean Fakoory and Glen Charlotte on board the vessel Roller Troller took first place in this year’s tournament and was the only boat to successfully put Wahoo on the scale. After braving the weather on day one and fishing off of the Sisters in Tobago, Wallace and crew came to the scale with two Sailfish releases and a Wahoo weighing in at 11.9 pounds. Narrowly making the 10 pound minimum weight, it was the only Wahoo to make the scale on Saturday.
Chelsea Lock on the boat Queen B also graced the scale on Saturday with a Dorado weighing in at 11.75 pounds. This gave Queen B and captain Trevor Bhagwansingh enough to win second place and also won Chelsea best female angler for the tournament.
On Sunday the fishing was even more dismal as many boats opted to cut their day short and head back in for a swim. With the tournament already won Wallace and his crew decided to stick it out till the end and hope for the best. After having their lines recklessly cut off by the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard doing routine checks in the area, they could’ve easily called it a day, as there was only a couple hours left of fishing.
Again the crew on Roller Troller decided to regroup and stick to the plan. With most of his tackle now at the bottom of the ocean, Wallace had to dig deep into his tackle box where he found the most hideous red and yellow Sea Witch, a favorite of the late, great, local captain, Gary Story. “This one is for you Gaff” as Wallace set back his spread and continued trolling up and down the southern coast of Chacachacare Island.
As the five ‘o’ clock cut off approached, it was now time for everyone to pull up their lines and head back to dock for the ‘weigh in’ where no one had caught any fish for the day....Then, divine intervention: While retrieving their lines in order to head back to port, the right rigger line gets bit and line is now screaming off the reel sending Wallace and Fakoory into a state of excitement and most of all disbelief.
When the dust settled the crew found themselves back at the weigh station with seconds to spare. Their Wahoo weighing in at 62.6 pounds was the biggest catch of the tournament and the lure they caught it on?...You guessed it!
Lots of positives to be taken away from this year’s tournament as well as attributes that lack in modern society. A little bit of faith mixed with hard work and effort will always give you the results that you deserve.
As a country the laws pertaining to our fisheries and coastal waters are both irrelevant and antiquated. A lot has happened to fish stock in the past 20 years and laws must be updated and enforced to ensure stability both from a commercial and recreational point of view. As people we need to be more sustainable and what we do, negative or positive, makes an impact on others around us.
We would like to thank our sponsors once again: Budget Marine, Carib and the Ministry of Sport for their continued support in this tournament and our push to promote sport fishing and conservation in Trinidad and Tobago.