SIBU: An avid angler, Bai Ucop, reeled in a 12.6kg stingray that earned him a cool RM50,000 in prize money.
The stingray was the biggest catch at the Shimano International Surfcasting Challenge Cup on Sunday.
Bai later handed over his catch to organiser Sibu Fishing Club as it is an endangered marine species.
The competition, which ran from 9am to 12.30pm in Belawai, attracted more than 1,200 anglers from near and far.
When contacted yesterday, Bai, who is a policeman, said he caught the stingray at about 11.30am.
“It took me just 10 minutes to haul it into the boat. The first five minutes, it struggled hard but was weak after that,” he related.
As for bait, he said he used fresh prawns, a favourite of many fishes.
“I’m not surprised with the catch despite it being the biggest so far for me. I’ve won two to three fishing competitions but in the river only, so I’m used to landing big fish already,” he beamed.
He considered himself lucky as this year, he is 50 years old and the first two digit of the prize money incidentally is also 50.
As for the prize money, he said he had not decided what to do with it yet.
“I might treat my family and friends later. I might also use it for future fishing competitions,” he quipped.
His nearest rival caught a 4kg ikan senangin (threadfin).
Prior to the competition, State Fisheries Department director Bohari Leng wanted fishermen who had caught endangered marine species to release them back into the sea, under the newly amended Fisheries (Control of Endangered Species of Fish) (Amendment) Regulations 2109.
Those who failed to do so would be committing an offence and liable to be fined up to RM5,000.
Bohari highlighted that the regulations had added four species of shark and two species of ray to the endangered list, which came into force on July 17.
The species under the shark group are Sphyrna mokarran (great hammerhead shark), Sphyrna zygaena (smooth hammerhead shark), Eusphyra blochii (winghead shark) and Carcharhinus longimanus (oceanic whitetip shark).
Two species under the ray group are Manta birostris (oceanic manta) and Manta alfredi (reef manta).