KUANTAN: The calm seas and serene beaches in Kuala Rompin are set to play host to the country's largest offshore catch and release fishing competition, the Royal Pahang Billfish International Challenge (RPBIC), which is celebrating its 10th edition this year.
Described as the country's premier fishing event, the highly-anticipated competition at Pantai Lanjut from Sept 12 to 14 offers a cash payout of RM70,000.
Endorsed by the International Game Fish Association (IGFA), the RPBIC is also listed as a qualifying circuit for the IGFA Offshore World Championship, where the winner will compete at the event in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, which is known as "The Marlin Capital of the World".
State Tourism and Culture Committee chairman Datuk Mohd Sharkar Shamsudin said the event was aimed at showcasing the seas off Kuala Rompin as the "Billfish Capital of Asia" where sailfish and marlins spend most of their time cruising during their active migration season between March and September.
He said the event had turned Malaysia as a top destination for sailfish enthusiasta from all over the world and provided a boost for the tourism industry.
"Every year, the numbers of participants has been growing and it does not only lure anglers from Southeast Asia but also Australia, France and South Africa.
"The challenge will excite anglers as they will have to tackle the the high-heaps, somersaults and fighting spirit of the fish where at times force the fishing line to go off," he told reporters at the RPBIC press conference here yesterday.
Sharkar said the competition would continue to adhere to the strict rules and regulations where the fish could only be caught using circle hook, to prevent it from swallowing it, before it is tagged and released back into the water.
To date, some 100 anglers from Indonesia, Australia, China, Thailand and Brunei have confirmed their participation and the number will increase as the event draws closer.
The event is jointly organised by the Pahang state government, Tioman Development Authority, Pahang Tourism Department and Malaysian Angling Association.