USA, Turks and Caicos, Brazil, Portugal, Mexico, Italy and Bermuda in very tight race for fishing’s prestigious offshore championship title
By Pete Johnson, Johnson Communications, IGFA-PR counsel
CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico – A log jam has been created among seven teams from seven countries for the top position going into the fourth and final day of the eighth annual International Game Fish Association (IGFA) Offshore World Championship Tournament in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
In first place with just a single marlin release on Day 3 and holding a slim lead of just 45.6 points from a weight fish is a team representing the Master Angler Billfish Tournament in Balboa, California, USA. The team made up of Floridians Burt Moss and Tim Hamilton of Pompano Beach, along with George and Stuart Disbury, Deerfield Beach have 10 marlin releases and additional points from a 45.6 lb yellowfin tuna as a weight fish. Their total is 3045.6 points.
In a tie for second place with 3000 points on 10 marlin releases each are three teams. They include the Caicos (Turks and Caicos) Classic Release Tournament team who after having a scoreless day on Monday released six marlin Tuesday and another four on Wednesday. They are locked in with Brazil’s Cabo Frio Marlin Invitational team which had four releases Wednesday and Portugal’s 2nd Int’l Big Game Fishing Championship of Portimao making the biggest jump in the standings Wednesday with five marlin releases.
First round leader Mexico’s Copa del Gobernador San Jose del Cabo team dropped another notch to third place tied with Rome, Italy’s YCSS-IMD Fishing Tournament and Bermuda Anglers ILTT. They each have nine marlin releases for 2700 points.
Also in contention with seven releases each are Kenya’s Sunset Kingfisher and Mexico’s Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo Total Tag & Release teams at 2100 points.
“This will be an old fashion shootout on the water Thursday,” said IGFA tournament director Mike Myatt. He said 72 marlin were released Wednesday. “Most of the teams went to areas where marlin were caught the previous days, but found the bite scattered.”
The final tournament results will be announced on Friday, May 25th by noon MST.
Each catch-and-release of a marlin (blue, black and striped) or a swordfish equals 300 points. The catches are scored and released alive at the boat in accordance with the IGFA tournament rules with all anglers using 30 lb. Momoi fishing line.
Teams also receive “weight” points for tuna, wahoo or dorado caught per pound over 25 lbs. Local charities receive the donations of all fish weighed at the Cabo docks.
The prestigious four-day tournament is believed to host the single largest contingent of international anglers and teams (30 countries represented) to compete in a fishing competition.
In the top boat standings for the captains is Picante with Capt. David Lieras of the Picante Fleet releasing four marlin each day for a point total of 3600 points. In second place is the Rebecca, captained by Roberto Sandez of Pisces Fleet with 2745.6 points and with a two way tie for third place at 2700 points are Capt. Manuel Romero on the Bad Market and Capt. Ricardo on the YaHoo.
The United States is represented with 19 teams competing. There are over 40 teams representing tournaments in the countries and territories of Angola, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, England, Italy, Jamaica, Kenya, Kingdom of Tonga, Mexico, New Zealand, Panama, Portugal, St. Lucia, Senegal, Spain, Sultanate of Oman, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks and Caicos, Vanuatu and Venezuela. Anglers on several of the teams are from the countries of Holland, Singapore, the Canary Islands and Ireland.
The IGFA OWC has attracted many of the world’s best angling teams who won one of 132 IGFA sanctioned qualifying offshore events held in 40 countries across the globe during 2006.
The team with the most points at the end of the four days of competition will receive engraved watches and trophies. Eighteen other prizes will be presented to the three top male and female anglers, top three captains and top three places for the heaviest tuna, wahoo and dorado.
Sponsors and partners for the IGFA Offshore World Championship are Secretaria de Turismo de Baja California Sur, Costa Del Mar, Hotel Finisterra, Momoi, Guy Harvey, Inc., Mold Craft Products, Picante Sport Fishing and Yacht Sales, Cabo Yachts, Outdoor Channel, K D & G Sea Life Masterpieces, Shimano, Hook & Tackle, Murray Products, AFTCO Bluewater, Bodo Muche, IWS Scales, King Sailfish Mounts, Stidd Systems, Corona and Modelo S.A. de C.V. Mexico, Trans Cabo Group, API Dock, Daiichi, Minerva’s Baja Tackle, Pisces Fleet Sportfishing and UltraJewels.
Founded in 1939 the IGFA is a not-for-profit organization committed to the conservation of game fish and promotion of responsible, ethical angling practices through science, education, rule making and record keeping. IGFA members are located in over 125 countries and territories. The IGFA welcomes visitors to its 60,000-square-foot interactive Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum in Dania Beach, Florida.
For more information on the total daily scoring of the 63 teams please go to the IGFA web site at www.igfa.org.