Apia, Samoa – The Samoa International Game Fishing Association (SIGFA) recently concluded its four-day international tournament with a prize-giving ceremony on Saturday, May 6th, crowning the Yellowfin team as the champions.
The tournament, which brought together 24 teams from four countries – Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa, and Samoa – was a showcase of camaraderie, friendly competition, and an impressive display of fishing expertise.
Despite the intense competition and challenging weather conditions, the Yellowfin boat and crew emerged victorious once again, marking their 5th win in their 15-year history of competing in the SIGFA International Competition.
Team Yellowfin secured the top position with a winning score of 302.1 points, with Teams Fua II and Reel Cat taking second and third place, respectively. American Samoa teams Anite Pier and Double Trouble followed closely behind in fourth and fifth place.
As the national champions, Team Yellowfin has automatically qualified to represent Samoa at the esteemed Offshore World Championship Tournament (OWC) held in Costa Rica next year.
Skipper Seiuli Roy Lee expressed his immense pride in his team’s achievement and dedicated their award to his late parents, who taught him about fishing and helped him throughout his career.
“This win is super special because we haven’t had any competition during the COVID Pandemic, and it feels good to welcome back some old and new friends from Australia. My parents taught me about fishing and helped me; they both have passed away, but I dedicate this win to them,” said Seiuli.
During the award ceremony, the Honourable Prim1e Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa presented individual awards to the top anglers.
Jared Willans from Australia achieved the top position as the champion angler with a remarkable score of 276 points. He also secured the tag and r1elease Billfish award. Team Yellowfin’s skipper, Seiuli Samoa Roy Lee, clinched the top Skipper winner title.
Other notable winners included Pafuti Taupua from American Samoa, who successfully defended her championship title in the female angler category, and Ryan Simpson from Fu’a II, who caught the heaviest Blue Marlin, weighing 159.95kg. The oldest angler award was presented to Seb Kohlhase, while Michael Levi was recognized as the youngest angler.
Niko Caffarelli on Baby Blue earned the top position in both Barracuda and Wahoo categories, and Konrad Von Reiche on Free Spirit emerged as the winner in the Masi Masi category. Finally, Karl Roepke, who fished on Sea Lord, caught the largest Yellowfin of the tournament.
SIGFA President, Vaughan Simpson, called the 2023 SIGFA International Tournament a success and was pleased with the turnout and competition despite the unfortunate weather.
“We are delighted with the success of the 2023 SIGFA International Tournament, which brought together some of the best anglers from Samoa, Australia, New Zealand, and American Samoa,” said Mr. Simpson. “It was inspiring to see the teams overcome various challenges and compete at such a high level. We congratulate Yellowfin on their victory and wish them all the best at the Offshore World Championship Tournament.”
“We want to thank all our incredible sponsors for their ongoing support, especially Apia Concrete Products, SIFA, Taula Beverages, Samoa Tourism, Samoa Commercial Bank, and many other local entities. We look forward to continuing our partnerships and hosting more successful tournaments that promote our destination and the sport of game fishing in Samoa.”
The SIGFA International Tournament 2023 would not have been possible without the generous support of its main sponsors, including Apia Concrete Products Limited, Samoa International Finance Authority, Taula Beverages – Samoa, Ca’Bella Pacific Construction Samoa Ltd., Samoa Tourism, and Samoa Commercial Bank Ltd. Other sponsors include Transam, Troppo Fishing Adventures, Samoa Pacific Forum Line, Tanoa Tusitala Hotel, Le Well Company Limited, ANZ Bank, Hansell Electrical Engineering, NBS – National Bank of Samoa, Seb & Rene Sports Ltd, Oceania Gas Limited, Eat the Kiwi Samoa, BDO Samoa, Penn & Co,