FUJAIRAH OFFSHORE FISHING TOURNAMENT 2017 REPORT
The first day of FOFT 2017 was marked by the presence of excited anglers from UAE and other participating nations. The buzz and excitement was infectious as friends and competitors greeted each other in a display of sportsmanship. The briefing session for the anglers was held on Nov 1 at The Harbour Club in FIMC building. The enthusiasm of participants and their sheer desire to win was evident during the briefing. After the formal introductions, the teams were prepped about the various categories of the fishing tournament and the associated rules for the tournament. Queries were asked and answered by everyone at the briefing and the event timings were established.
The event started on 2nd Nov at 6.30. Participants, like original fishermen set sail for their fishing expeditions at the break of dawn. As per the rules, the teams had to begin early and return by 4.30 pm as by 5 pm the weighing stations would be closed. A weight limit was pre-defined for fish that can be caught and brought to shore. Any fish, caught and killed above the weight limit was not allowed and the team risks losing points.
The surprise catch of day 1 was the gigantic 195 kg Black Marlin caught by team Soolyman. The maximum points to be gained by such a massive catch was 500 but the points were to be deducted if the rules weren’t complied with and according to tournament rules, this type of fish was supposed to caught, weighed and let loose back into the sea. The big fishes were to be photographed or video recorded during the catch but not killed. However, an exception the rules also states ‘if the fish died during the angler’s attempts to pull it to the boat for weighing then the angler can inform the Committee and provide proof of the fish’s accidental death’. In this case, Soolyman ensured they had videos and photos to prove that the fish died during the fight and the points were calculated completely without any deduction. Similarly, the team managed to catch another fish of the same quality which weighed 125 kilos. Unfortunately, the fish also died during the attempts to pull it on the boat
More surprises awaited us on 3rd Nov – Day 2 as Xtrem Derbas caught a big Marlin. Thankfully, the Marlin was caught and weighed safely after which the team released it back into the sea. Similarly, team Natilisa landed a 125 kg Blue Marlin which set the tone for the day. But, the biggest catch of the tournament was taken by Team Bit Me. An enormous, 230 kg weighing, Black Marlin. This catch was celebrated greatly by the team as well as by the organizing committee.
After the full day competition, the organizing committee held a gala dinner in the evening for the teams and participants. The teams welcomed this event and spent the evening mingling with each other over food and discussions about great catches and fishing techniques with other things.
On the 3rd day of the tournament, the fishing was slower but not without team Bit Me catching and releasing another Sail Fish of huge proportions. The participants were required to wrap up earlier than usual on day 3 as it was the last day of the tournament and the felicitation ceremony awaited all the anglers.
The felicitation ceremony was graced by FIMC President Sheikh Safe Bin Hamad Bin Safe Al Sharqi. Who attended the event on the last day and expressed his regrets on not being able to attend the other days of the tournament. He awarded the winners and thanked FIMC and the organizing committee for their exceptional work in making FOFT 2017 a resounding success.