The N’Gor Marlin Cup began on Sunday amid excellent weather conditions. 17 boats were registered, despite a number of absences due to the international crisis.
The water temperature was extremely hot for the season at close to 30° (consequence of climate change?), so when the competition started, we were worried that we would not see our game opponents, i.e. the marlin and albacore tuna.
On day one, the boats split into three groups – north, north-west and south-west (where some marlin had been spotted the day before). Albacore tuna (yellowfins) were very quickly reported to be biting in the north – north-west area. After 30 minutes’ fishing, the Maltese team landed a 65 kg tuna. Marc Iung on the Pili Pili caught two 42 kg tuna back to back by chumming. Then the Maltese hooked some marlin, but only to come off the hook.
The competition was in full swing. Throughout the day, there were several reports of lost catches, with three breakages and two lost while reeling in. Of the 14 bites from blue marlin, only one was caught and then released – a low ratio indeed! At the end of the day, the “Désiré” released one blue marlin and one white marlin to reach the top of the leaderboard.
The other boats concentrated on albacore tuna, with 17 bites, 2 breakages (hook and reel) and only 6 fish caught between 35 and 65 kg.
In any case, the fish had been pinpointed, and everyone saw large albacore tuna leaping from the water in the north and south areas. Only the boats fishing over the 1,000 m stretch of the north-west area saw any blue marlin. Therefore on day two of the competition, all the boats without exception barrelled towards this open sea area and, to their great dismay, hit a pocket of dirty water. Panic stations! The boats immediately scattered, but it was too late and the boats were especially too far to change tactics. Since two boats had some bites nearer the coast, some boats decided to head closer to shore. “Petit Boy” landed an albacore tuna and then released a blue marlin of approximately 150 kg. The boats gradually arrived late afternoon and saw some blue marlin swimming down the wave over the 200-m drop-off. Three or four fish got away mid-combat out of a dozen bites (the last of which on a boat just a few miles from the mooring), the blue marlin seemingly taunting the boats and reminding everyone that marlin anglers are the ones that love the open sea, while the fish prefer the small drop-offs teeming with food! Last year, the winner only fished over 100 / 200 metres…
Fortunately, the “gambas galore” evening on the beach staged by Carole confirmed that prawns… are definitely the best bait!
Today is a chill day (although the madmen have agreed to meet this morning for an internal competition – now a classic event – with 70% of the jackpot for the largest marlin and 30% for the largest tuna), and the gloves are off for tomorrow.
Provisional leaderboard: 1st “Petit Boy” – Rak family, locals David and Olivier Pellat , 2nd “Désiré” – Salvatore Ficara from South Korea and Olivier, 3rd “Théo” – Dominique Dumas with the Lopez’s, again from Dakar, 4th “Pili Pili” – Marc Iung from Congo, 5th “Assane” – Christian Busutil from Malta, 6th “Caro” – Bernard Gaudin from France, 7th “Macarena” – Gerome Lacouture from France.
See the pictures from the first day : (Photos by Julien Gérard).
The whole 4 days of pictures from our Flickr stream : http://www.flickr.com/photos/be-ez/sets