Pure Indulgence Secures Championship Title at 25th Samoa International Game Fishing Association Tournament

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The 25th Samoa International Game Fishing Association (SIGFA) Tournament drew to a thrilling close with Pure Indulgence clinching the coveted championship title for 2024.

Over four exhilarating days, 24 teams, comprising anglers from Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa, and Samoa, battled the elements and each other in pursuit of victory on the high seas.

The excitement reached its peak at the prize-giving ceremony held at the SIGFA headquarters in Matautu on Saturday 4 May, attended by distinguished guests including the Minister for Sports and Recreation, Laumatiamanu Ringo Purcell, and Samoa Ports Authority Chief Executive Officer, So’oalo Kuresa So’oalo.

SIGFA President, Vaughan Simpson, expressed his gratitude to the sponsors whose generous support made the event possible. He also commended the international camaraderie displayed by the overseas anglers while acknowledging the outstanding performance of the Samoa teams, who claimed victory in the overall best performing Country Award.

“The statistics speak volumes,” said Mr Simpson, reflecting on the record breaking achievements of the tournament.

A total of 110 fish were caught, with an impressive 66 billfish tagged and released, including a Black Marlin, 45 Blue Marlin, one Stripe Marlin, 18 Sailfish, and a Short bill fish.

The diverse array of catches also included eight Yellowfin, 12 Mahimahi, 18 Wahoo, two giant Trevally, and two Barracudas.

“On behalf of SIGFA, I extend my gratitude to our esteemed sponsors. Their ongoing support has been instrumental in bringing the international tournament to life, year after year;” Mr Simpson said.

“I also wish to express my appreciation to our international participants, whose passion for angling has transformed this competition into the success it is today. However, let’s not forget to celebrate the remarkable achievements of our Samoa teams, who have showcased their dedication and passion for the sport of game fishing and this year have earned themselves the overall top Country Award.”

A representative from the event’s Naming Rights sponsors, Neptune Direct Pacific Line, Michelle Brunt, extended her appreciation to all participating teams for their contribution to the tournament’s success.

Ms Brunt paid tribute to SIGFA’s longstanding partners such as Apia Concrete Products Ltd, especially the late, Tupua Wetzell, fondly known as Uncle Fred, whose legacy of service and love for the sport of game fishing continues to inspire.

“We are proud to stand alongside SIGFA and be a part of an event that not only promotes Samoa to the world but also contributes to our economy and sustainable fishing with a record breaking number of tagged and released bill fish” said Ms Brunt.

“I commend the SIGFA community for their tireless efforts in making this event a success, and I am confident that the memories created here will resonate for years to come, inspiring future generations of anglers worldwide.”

The achievements of individual anglers added further excitement to the grand finale, with Ryan Simpson of Fua II taking the coveted title of Top Angler for the second consecutive year, while Greg Hopping of Team Pure Indulgence secured the Top Skipper award.

Angler Ivan Ah-Liki caught the biggest Barracuda while Niko Caffarelli was the first male angler to tag and release a Billfish at the tournament. American Samoa’s Sama Fuafanua on Aya Maria caught the biggest Giant Trevally. Seb Kohlhase took the oldest Angler award and emerging angler superstar Michael Levi hangs on to the youngest Angler title.

Not to be outdone, some of the most outstanding achievements of the tournament came from the female anglers with Marge Caffarelli of Team Island Time catching the biggest Yellowfin and Karla Meredith from Team Free Spirit, landing the biggest Mahimahi.

American Samoa’s Pafuti Tupua of team Double Trouble once again showed off her game fishing prowess by hooking the biggest Wahoo of the tournament however this year was knocked off her podium when the top Female Angler was awarded to Samoa’s Evelyn Meredith of Team Free Spirit.

Samoa is the Home of Taula. Enjoy responsibly.

Tournament Champions, Team Pure Indulgence have not only won bragging rights as the winners of this year’s international tournament but have also earned themselves a shot at the World Offshore Fishing Championship in Costa Rica in 2025. Captain Greg Hopping expressed his pure delight at the team’s victory, noting the record breaking results from the tag and release efforts at the Neptune, SIGFA International Tournament.

“I want to congratulate my team who worked so hard for the whole week. It’s fantastic that so many billfish were released, you know that’s a first. As far as the South Pacific is concerned to release over 60 billfish is a first,” said Mr Hopping.

“The fact that every team that went offshore actually tagged and released a minimum of one blue marlin and that’s something we can all be proud of. Vaughn and I and the executive and those who have passed have been working on this for a long time and to see this tournament concentrate on sustainability of fishing in Samoa is unreal.”

He added, “I’m so proud of everyone and it’s such an amazing time. I also thank the SIGFA Executive for all the hard work they’ve done, everyone put in such a huge effort.”

The success of the Neptune SIGFA 25th International Tournament was made possible through the generous support of its sponsors, including Diamond Sponsors: Samoa IBFC, Apia Concrete Products Limited, Taula Beverages – Samoa, and Samoa Ports Authority.

Platinum Sponsors: Samoa Commercial Bank Ltd, Seb & Rene Sports Ltd, Samoa Tourism, Ca’Bella Pacific Construction Samoa Ltd.

Gold Sponsors: TransAm Samoa Ltd, NBS – National Bank of Samoa, Special Occasions Supply Samoa, Penn & Co, Jason Hansell Electrical, BDO Samoa, Tanoa Samoa Le Well Company Limited, Bank of South Pacific, and Oceania Gas Limited.

There were also several companies who assisted inder the Silver and Bronze categories as well as Frienship sponsors.

National Bank of Samoa – Medivac Solutions!