It was an epic three days at Los Sueños Resort Marina, located at Playa Herradura on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific Coast. During the second leg of the third annual Los Sueños Signature Triple Crown billfish series, presented by Chantilly Air, February 24-27, 2016. All previous Los Sueños tournament records, going back 12 years and 34 individual events, were broken.
Imagine releasing 75 billfish in just three days and not even making it into the top 10 boats! Over the course of the competition, 108 anglers on the world’s most competitive saltwater sport fishing teams released a total of 2,754 billfish. To put this number in perspective, the fish to boat ratio is 64 fish per boat in three days, or close to 2 fish each and every minute of the tournament. Incredible numbers and incredible teams in an incredible place –beyond compare!
All hoped for a busy day but by lines in at 8:00 am but no one was prepared for what the day would bring. The first double release was called in only four minutes after lines in by Blue Eagle. Exactly at 10:00 am Numero Uno released fish number 290. The bite continued. Radios were burning hot. At 12:00 o’clock tournament control logged fish number 512, released by Dragin Fly. At 2:01 pm Penny Perfect called in the first quadruple of the day, fish numbers 729 to 732. It was then that it became clear that the previous tournament record for the most billfish released in single day, previously set on the third day of the 2015 Triple Crown with 879 billfish, was only minutes away from being broken. Several teams – Pelese, Fish Tank, Pescadora and Jaruco – were fighting it out. The honor of receiving fish number 1000 went to No Agenda. By the end of Day 1 a total of 1,103 sailfish were caught and released,surpassing the previous record by 316 fish or 21%. To quote one of the observers “It was insane out there! Wherever you looked fish were popping like rice”. Fitting for Costa Rica – someone must have spilled the beans.The most fish caught that historic day were released by Fish Tank and Pelese with 37 sailfish (3700 points) each,with Fish Tank releasing their last fish only 11 minutes before Pelese to win the day. Agitator, Sea Fix and Southern Pride also put on stellar performances, putting them into the top three spots for Leg II after the first day.
It was First Light who called in the first fish of Day 2 at 8:05 am. By 8:08 am five more fish were reported to tournament control, including a double by Sea Fix. It would be another busy day. By 10:48 am Pescadora briefly held the first place position for Leg II, followed by Agitator and Fish Tank. Release after release, often five or more in less than a minute, were called in. By 1:14 pm Pelese had moved into first place, followed by Dragin Fly and Agitator. By 3:08 pm Fish Tank had moved up to second place. At 3:48 pm fish number 2,000 was called in by Sea Fix. Tournament Control jokingly had to remind the teams that the tournament was still only on the second day of competition. The day ended with 932 billfish releases for a two-day total of 2,035 (all sails). The standings going into the last day of competition left Agitator in first place with 6600 points, Pelese in second with 6400 points and Spanish Fly in third with 6300 points.
It was anyone’s game going in to the third and final day. Agitator started the day at the top of the leaderboard with 6,600 points, with at least 10 teams in hot pursuit. The Tournament Committee posed the question – at what time would the all-time record for the most fish caught in a single tournament, being 2,170, be beat? It did not take long. By 9:34 am Dream Time released fish number 2,171 and opened a new chapter in Los Sueños tournament history book. By 10:07 am Agitator was still holding on to first place, Pelese was in second and Sea Angel in third Place. At 2:00 pm Pelese had moved into first place, bumping Agitator to second. Spanish Fly rounded out the top three, with Sea Angel just behind. Positions were changing by the minute. At 2:08 pm Reel Joy called in the only marlin release of the tournament. It was like a ping pong match – too fast to follow. When lines in was called at4:00 pm, it was the closest leader board in Los Sueños history. Once all the scorecards were reviewed, the final standings were verified and announced at the awards ceremony. The 43 participating teams had released a three day combined total of 2,754 billfish (2,752 sails and 1 marlin)!
Agitator finished at the top of the leaderboard with 8,700 points (87 sails), followed by Pelese in second place with 8,600 points (86 sails), on time over Spanish Fly with 8,600 points (86 sails), over Sea Angel who had also achieved 8,600 points. It was so close that Spanish Fly and Sea Angel not only tied on points, but also on their last time,forcing the Tournament Committee to go back to their second last time – with just 8 minutes between them. It was an incredible three days of competition that provided a new benchmark in billfish tournament competition.
CASH PRIZES & AWARDS
The evening could not have been any more perfect for the awards ceremony on Saturday night, held under the stars on the white sand at the Los Sueños Beach Club. Guests enjoyed a phenomenal buffet dinner and live musical performance by Mustang 65. Immediately preceding the presentation of trophies, prizes and checks to the tournament winners, guests enjoyed the highly anticipated dock show filmed and produced by Rich Christenson, and edited by Paige Sparks. The ceremony was closed out by a spectacular fireworks display by Faisa and a jam packed after party with DJ Charlie Stevens at the Terrace Lounge in the Los Sueños Marina Village. Tournament winners took to the stage to receive a total of $145,000 in cash, as well as other prizes provided by tournament sponsors.
1st $72,500 Agitator: 8,700 points, 87 sails
2nd $43,500 Pelese: 8,600 points, 86 sails
3rd $29,000 Spanish Fly: 8,600 points, 86 sails
Visit the Tournament Website for more pics and information