After 4 years of planning and postponing we finally met up in in The Dokas Restaurant and Bar in Mindelo on Sao Vincente.
54 of the 58 expected participants together with a couple of the skippers and crews, listened to the opening words from the Tournament Director Toine van Ierland, EFSA Netherlands secretary Miranda Koop, a representative from the Mindelo council and the president of the Mindelo Sportfishing Club.
The EFSA European Game Championships was a 3 in 1 combination with The PENN Challenge which is a charity tournament and the Dutch National Championships. Last but not least this event is also a qualifier for the Offshore World Championships in Quepos Costa Rica 2023 2 Charity goals Comunidade Sao Pedro and Operacao Carinho were presented with a €1000,00 donation and a promise of a larger donation dependent on the proceeds from the Charity auction to be held at the end of the tournament.
Hein Hoogduin, the weigh master, explained the rules and called all 18 teams up front to draw their boats. All teams received a bag with competition shirts, rules , daily registration forms, a pen and 25 tokens, per person, for drinks for the rest of the week.
Micau Tavares arranged a lovely buffet with local dishes for all to enjoy accompanied with drinks for everybody. The national tv covered the evening.
Day 1 started off with a sturdy breeze,5 bft, which made the water quite choppy. During the day the wind died down. Some boats stayed in the marlin alley and others crossed the channel and went to the islands. Calls were coming in over the radio throughout the day making it very exciting.
Day winners were Peter Ouwendijk and Frans van Oss from the Dutch team The Untouchables with 5 marlin.
The Finnish team -Tight Faces Eerho Terho , Aarno Holopainen, Matti Sepäiä , Janne Laurila – fishing for the Netherlands came in 2nd with 4 marlin. This team are true novices when it comes to marlin fishing. Catching 4 on their first trip ever.
3rd place was for Ireland A, Warren Doyle, Christy Cloak, George Mc Cullough and Shay Mc Donnel, catching 3 marlin. This too is a team which consists of first timers.
In total 33 marlin were caught on 18 boats. That’s an amazing number, even to the local skippers. Cape Verdi sure lived up to the stories everybody heard.
Day 2 The air was buzzing with good vibes. The wind was up to a 6 bft. Everybody was rearing to go. Just like Monday all boats sailed up to the front of the harbor and waited in line for the 7:30 call. No running allowed to keep the slower boats in the competition. It was an impressionable sight to see 18 Game Boats waiting in line and moving off at the same time.
As soon as the call came in over the radio the boats spread out to their chosen fishing grounds. Once again, the radio was alive with chatter. Marlin were being raised all over the place. There were 33 marlin caught by the end of the match. Many more were raised. One team managed to pitch 6 and loose them all, finally blanking after all their effort and hard work.
Clube Pesca Nautica a Desportiva, Fernando Nunes, Filipe Bispo, José Amado and Victor Teixeira, Team CPND Albufiera for short hauled in 6 marlin. What an accomplishment. Broadbill team 1, Gert-Jan Oldenboom, Patrick van Lanaken and Arjan Biesheuvel came in second place with 4 self-pitched marlin. 3rd was Gibraltar B Charlie Lara, Lester Chipel, Peter Cosquieri, Dom Currer,with 3 marlin. 33 marlin in total despite 4 boats blanking. Could this tournament go any better?
Day 3 the weather turned for the worse. 7bft made fishing very difficult. The blue water had been pushed out even further towards Sao Antao. Boats and anglers were struggling to find fish and draw them up to the surface. Toine van Ierland called it Rock’n & Roll’n, and that it was. High waves 3 to 4 meters coming from all directions as the skippers maneuvered their boats in a zigzag pattern. A far cry from yesterday. Not much chatter on the radio which didn’t do the moral any good. Once back in the harbor all eyes were towards the skyline to see how many flags were flying. Only 13 caught and released. Ireland A managed to hook a 11.6 kg Wahoo. Unfortunately it was to light for the Non-Pelagic prize. Minimum weight had to be 30kg.
Yesterday’s blankers came in as day 3 winners. The Reel Dutch Fishing Team: Toine van Ierland , Hein Hoogduin and Klaas Hoogduin managed to pitch 2 marlin giving them 2200 points. This also meant that Randy Baker on the Dacia was best skipper for a second time. Team Sequoia: Paulus van de Berk and Roland Baks had 3 marlin, unfortunately 2 on 130lbs rods giving them only 1800 points. Team Marlil: Martin Kets de Vries, Bob Hentenaar, Frank and Miranda Koop, caught 2 marlin but didn’t pitch the baits themselves leaving them with 1600 points. The wild weather made it very difficult and to nobody’s surprise 9 boats blanked today.
The 4th and final day. The weather gods were in our favor. Sun bursting through the clouds , wind down to 5 bft again. It was anyone’s game. The skippers were eager to win with 4 boats in line for first place. John Smith and Roel van Orsel, Team The Dutch Anglers on the Sea Quest probably had the best day of their lives. The first time Marlin anglers had a triple hookup. The team ended the day as winning team with 5 marlin. Samir Rahal and Mahmoud Mroueh from team Dakar came in second on the Nha Cretcheu. Ireland A managed yet another second 3rd place with 2 marlin.
Ireland A and The Dutch Anglers were the only 2 teams to have fish every day. Ireland even had the luxury of dropping 1100 points seeing only the 3 best results counted. It didn’t help them much in the end as they ended in 7th position.
EFSA European Big Game Champion – PENN Challenge Champion :
Gold Team Dakar fishing for the Netherlands 7100
Silver Clube Pesca Nautica e Desportiva Portugal 6700
Bronze The Dutch Anglers The Netherlands 6400
The Untouchable and Tight Faces also both had 6400 points. It came down to when the first fish catch time was noted on the score sheets, just 4 minutes difference!
Team Dakar/ the Netherlands also represent EFSA The Netherlands in The Offshore World Championships in Costa Rica 2023. We wish then the best of luck and Tight lines.
Dutch National Champion: Team Dakar
Silver: The Dutch Anglers
The Untouchables received the Dutch National Marlin bronze pins
Best skipper is Zak Conde on the Amelia writing up 14 marlin
Second best skipper Randy Baker on the Dacia 10 marlin
And thanks to the last day win Steve George on the Sea Quest won the prize for third best skipper with 10 marlin, putting him 400 point in front of the La Onda Mila.
All winners received the EFSA medals, Game pins and prizes from PENN- Overseas travel rods and PENN Slammer reels.
A big thank you to PENN Europe, Andy Moyes Big Game Tacticals, Ray Marine, Terruo-Bi, Legitiem, Makaira Adventure , Plain Vanilla, Maasland Vleeswaren for their sponsoring of the skipper day prizes and team prizes and contributing to the Charity auction.
A big thank you also goes out to all the people who bought something in our Charity Auction. The children of Sao Pedro and Mindelo thank you from the bottom of their hearts. We raised an astonishing € 10.150,00 on top of the € 2000,00 already given to the Charity goals. The representative of Operacão Carinho was brought to tears when she heard how much money had been donated.
Micua Tavares from Restaurant DOKAS did a great buffet again with local dishes. Everybody seemed to really be enjoying themselves during the prize presentation and auction.
Judging by all the positive feedback, this was a terrific event definitely worth repeating. Participants and skippers were asking for the new date. South Africa is next in line in 2024 after then we will see.
Secretary EFSA The Netherlands