Youngsters did have a field day, while a man whose make shift fishing equipment and a last minute catch are the biggest story during the Saleng Fish Catching Competition at the Burnham Lake on Independence Day.
Bruce Cacas, 14, and the five year old Aliyah Triss Cupatan were the fastest to record their first catch coming in barely after eight minutes when their one hour stretch in catching the biggest and maybe most number of fishes started – a 13-inch and 12-inch tilapia, respectively.
Cacas, the younger of two brothers, on the right side of the view deck’s dock cry after a brief period as part of the second batch of competitors drew applause from a small crowd.
That broke the 10-inch effort of Jackson Abion earlier during the first batch of competitors’ time at the dock.
Then a few seconds, the littlest and youngest of the 28 participants shouted with glee as she also reined in a 12-inch fish that left the other 17 participants that include a fisherman-professional photographer from Batanes, a Korean fishing hobbyist and a visual artist stunned.
Cacas later followed up his success with another 13-incher before struggling with his brother with what could be a much bigger catch after their lines were tangled that allowed the fish to get away.
But a last minute surge of Julius Carnese, who was using a line and hook attached to an eight inch piece of wood, saw him dangling an 11 inch catch for his third fish of the day as time expires.
He earlier caught an eight incher halfway in the competition and 10 minutes later, his biggest catch at 12 inch.
Carnese took the most catch award, while Cacas netted the biggest fish award.
Cupatan settled for the second place award in the biggest fish category edging Kim Dae Hyun who caught his 12-inch fish midway in the competition.
Kim, however, left early after he lost a big one that got away during crunch time. “It could be a cat fish, a big one”, said tournament director Rafael Serrano, who saw the surplus store owner’s 12 foot fishing rod bend to its fullest.
Cecil Bayares also caught the last train for the money round as she caught a 13-incher just as the clock struck one hour to go along with her earlier catch of 10 inch.
Bayares was earlier given the gold plum in the biggest catch which was taken back due to count back as the younger Cacas boy had two 13-inch catches.
Bayares instead settled for the second biggest catch, ahead of first round competitor Abion, whose yield of 10 and nine inch tilapias was the best catch so far until the second batch.
Meanwhile, the older Cacas boy, Francisco III, 16, was given the young angler award, Sally Wayte, a Hawaii, United States based Filipina, took the veteran angler’s award, for being a 78-year older. She also has a 2.5 inch young tilapia to show as prize.
Celia Wegayan was given the Alpha and Omega award for enlisting as the first entrant to the competition and one of the last to register a catch – a 10 incher.
As this developed, fishing could become a regular activity at the Burnham Lake said mayor Benjamin Magalong during the awards ceremony right after the fishing competition.
“Thanks to the efforts of a man who survived Covid (for 45 days) who also suffered a big heartbreak when he lost his wife earlier this year,” said Magalong referring to Serrano, who was the first person to be issued a special fishing permit at the lake.
Magalong had his first catch of fishes Thursday last week during an early fishing tryst with Serrano where he outdid his fishing mentor five against three.
“He got his first taste of the shock when you get to catch a fish,” said Serrano, referring to the mayor.
Today, June 13, the City Environments and Parks Management Office is expected to release the first batches of fishing permit.
“We are still finalizing the guidelines on how to fish but by Monday, June 13, we expect to release permits including of course the fees,” said Sandra Almag during an Ugnayan at the City Hall last June 8.
This is a news welcome to fisherman-photographer Noli Gabilo, who joined the June 12 fishing tournament but failed to catch one.
The Saleng Sports Events included a fun run (3K, 5K and 10K), a go cart races and a boat race among boat personnel.