THE TOBAGO FREEDIVE SPEARFISHING CHALLENGE 2011
The first annual Tobago Freedive Spearfishing Challenge was held in Castara on Sunday 16 May. The aim of the Challenge was to bring to together spearfishermen from both islands and to have a fun and safe tournament. In order to promote conservation and fish sustainability, certain species such as Jewfish and Parrot fish were not allowed and eligible fish had to be over a certain weight. We also had a junior category as we wanted to encourage kids into the sport.
The tournament began at 6 a.m. and the contestants had to be back at the scale at 3.30 p.m. The weather and water conditions proved to be a challenge as the wind and current increased throughout the day. Those who tried to dive on the Atlantic side of the island were faced with very murky water and had to retreat to the cleaner water of the Caribbean side. Most hunted the waters around the Sisters, the Brothers and the Giles Islands.
A large crowd had congregated at the scale to see what the spearfishermen had caught and they were not to be disappointed. The majority of the fish that were caught were Cavali, Snappers, Groupers and Barracudas.
At the prizegiving, it was Richard Parkinson who took first place with 71.1 points and won a Riffe 120X Speargun with a Reel. Second was Josh Lewis with 58.9 points and his prize was a Suunto D4 Freedive watch. Third place was Wilbert Paul with 44.3 points and he took home a Riffe Torpedo Float plus a 75 foot Floatline. The Junior prize was won by Matthew Chung with a 5 pound Snook.
The Heaviest Fish category was also won by Richard Parkinson with a 19.5 pound Horseye Cavali. Wilbert Paul was second with a 14.8 pound Horseye Cavali.
Josh Lewis came in third with a 14.6 pound Black Grouper.
At the end of the prizegiving ceremony, after a bowl of fish broth and a few cold beers, it was satisfying to know that not only was the tournament a success and enjoyed by all but also that many new friends were made.
Sponsors – Miles Almandoz & Co. Ltd., Carib Brewery Limited, Rick’s Dive World, Riffe, Angostura, Bryden’s, Almandoz Hardware Ltd., Gatorade, Alstons Marketing Co. Ltd., Joy Wong Feed shop, Ansa Automotive, Bar Code, Sign Up, Omer, La Cantina, Ocean Experience.