Fishermen from Saipan, Rota and Guam will be competing for more than $10,000 in prize money as they battle for the biggest catch in the inaugural Shut Up & Fish Marlin and Tuna Tournament, which will kick off at 6 a.m. Saturday.

The tournament held a press conference last night with captains getting together at the boat basin for last-minute instructions and strategy sessions.

“The vibe (was) amazing at the press conference,” event coordinator Joaquin Cruz said, adding that the community feeds off each other, making for a fun and happy event.

Taking lessons from the March tournament, which targeted mahi mahi and wahoo, Cruz said tournament officials are allowing boats to depart from two locations – Agat Marina and Hagåtña Boat Basin – to even the playing field and allow for more competitors. The March tournament had more than 100 participants on 40 boats.

“By doing this, it will allow fishermen from down south to join in,” Cruz said. “This way, they don’t need to trailer up their boats from the south and bring them to Hagåtña.”

Cruz is optimistic and expecting a great turnout for today’s competition.

“This should be a really good tournament,” Cruz said. “This is our first year, but it’s our second tournament. The response was so good during the last one that the fishermen were asking for another one.”

Now, it’s marlin season, so today’s competition will have first-, second- and third-place awards for all three categories: marlin, skipjack and yellowfin tuna.

“Come on out, we are trying to start a great fun-filled event for the entire fishing community,” Cruz said. “We have a few already lined up for next year. Every year, I go to Saipan with my family for a fishing tournament and when you see how the whole community supports it, it was amazing. That’s why I wanted to start this to show Guam that we can do this, too.”

To help prep for the event, the Shut Up & Fish crew did a dry run yesterday afternoon with three first-time fishermen – Rey Slavfoff, Joe Espinoza and Shawn Stamper from Mugu, California, helping them reel in an 88.6-pound marlin.

“This is the first time we ever went deep-sea fishing. We just wanted to do it for fun. The first hour was dry, but then we got this one," Espinoza said.

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