“So I realized that everyone can fish.” Chronicle of the Lowrance Trophy 2023

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The Bertram 35 Flybridge
The Bertram 35 Flybridge “Drifter B” that participated in the Lowrance Trophy 2023.

Two good-sized specimens of
Auxis Rochei
, vulgarly known as tombarello, perhaps better known as Bonito. This is the haul we took with us on our return to port aboard Hakuna Matata, 1997 Settemari Fly 27, after about seven hours of competition-the Lowrance Trophy Fishing Tournament 2023, my first fishing competition-from dawn until 2 p.m.

Lowrance Trophy 2023 – Fishing Tournament

Appointment in Genoa at the Yacht Club Italiano on Friday, October 6, with a briefing to crews, presentation of partners (this year along with Lowrance and Bertram Yachts, Besenzoni also came on board) and dinner. During the evening I meet Luca De Prà, the next day I will board his Hakuna Matata to compete in the Coastal Fishing category. “Take care, 6:10 here at the dock. We have radler (mixture of beer and lemonade), wine and focaccia.”

Boats at the dock at the Italian Yacht Club before the dawn departure
Boats at the dock at the Italian Yacht Club before the dawn departure.

I soon convince myself that it will be a fun day, although the 5 a.m. wake-up call on Saturday might discourage even early risers. But that’s how it works, to go to the sea and mountains you have to wake up early to fish even more. I am the fourth (and last…) to board Hakuna Matata. On board in addition to Luca are Ginca and Giorgio, already buzzing with excitement for departure. I get a windbreaker with the colors and name of the boat, we start the engine and head for the harbor exit. The race starts at 7 a.m. on Saturday, October 7, with a beautiful (and very warm, for the season) sunrise lighting up the Gulf of Genoa. We plumb the lines and prepare four rods only with artificials, as required by the regulations. A very flat sea with little fish accompanies us until about 11 a.m., when we arrive in front of Camogli.

In front of Recco our first strike

We change spots often, pull up our rods, and restart looking for other eats, some with the naked eye, some with binoculars. Aboard Hakuna Matata is a 10-inch HDS Lowrance, in the cockpit we have a tablet mirroring the main system, and we keep an eye on depth and bottom from the depth sounder. As we pass Recco and Camogli we set up a nice lunch with a view of the dolphins, which escort us back to Genoa. Then lo and behold, one of the rods with the leaded line moves, Ginca swiftly grabs it, and the fight begins.

After very few minutes we have it on board: the first strike returns a bonito of excellent size. We unhook him and put him in the tank, set up the rod again, and confidently set off again. Unfortunately, the rest of the day returns only one more bonito and a couple of unsuccessful strikes; in fact, we lose fish during the fight.

Preparing the rods in the cockpit of Hakuna Matata
Preparation of rods in the cockpit of Hakuna Matata.

We move quite a bit within the area allowed by the regulations, looking for eats and following gulls under a sun that belongs more to summer than autumn. We keep ourselves hydrated, some with gin and tonic, some with a more traditional sparkling water. We understand that it is not the day and that we have to be satisfied with our two catches, so we head back to the harbor even before the end of the competition, set for 2 p.m., strikes. We returned to the Italian Yacht Club dock shortly after 2 p.m., and in the next hour the other crews also returned.

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There are those who did better than us (even much better) but also those who did worse (much worse, several have a zero at the “catches” box). What amazes me, however, is the spirit on the dock. Obviously those who made “cappotto” (i.e., returned to shore without fish) do not have a satisfied expression, but all in all the atmosphere is more that of a party than that of a competition. In the next two hours the offshore category boats also re-enter, they all without fish since the competition involved thecatch & releasemode. In the end there are winners, sure, and the prizes are also very important-three Lowrance HDS Pro chartplotters/fishfinders in each category-but what I am left with is the feeling that this is really a party for everyone.

A dolphinfish caught by an eqipment during the offshore competition. The fish will be released after measurement
A dolphinfish caught by an eqipment during the offshore race. The fish will be released after measurement.

“Easy” electronics help you fish

Besides, the approximately fifty boats registered (including some from the Monaco Yacht Club) testify to this: this event is liked because it brings together experienced and less experienced fishermen, all united by the same passion. While waiting for the awards ceremony, I exchange a few words with the Lowrance ambassadors present in Genoa for the event, and they reveal to me that electronics is a key key to bringing newcomers to the sport, and making it a hobby and a passion for so many people.

The Lion's Bay crew won the Lowrance Trophy 2023 in the Offshore category. The prize is a 16-inch HDS Pro chartplotter/fishfinder
The Lion’s Bay crew won the Lowrance Trophy 2023 in the offshore category. The prize is a 16-inch HDS Pro chartplotter/fishfinder.

One of them, Riccardo Fanelli, who was one of the first to perfect the technique of live trolling in Italy, reveals to me that Lowrance’s winning weapon is the simplicity of their instruments.

“If the tool is powerful, it can do a whole host of different things, but the basic interface is very intuitive. The main functions are simple and available from the main screen, and those who are more experienced can explore the tool with the advanced functions, try them out, and use them in their entirety. But a neophyte can quickly figure out how to use the instrument: if you know how to use a smartphone, you know how to use a Lowrance.”

I am not really a neophyte fisherman. In fact, the second part of my talk with Riccardo Fanelli, the one where he tried to explain to me how the depth of the thermocline affects the presence of white grouper in the Mediterranean, I will not report here. What I am left with from the Lowrance Trophy Fishing Tournament , however, is definitely the desire to fish one more time!

Federico Rossi

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