Cabo San Lucas, Mexico - The team representing the World Championship Billfish Release Tournament found themselves in the right place at the right time on the final day of the 10th annual IGFA Offshore World Championship. The team scored an epic eight marlin releases on the last day of fishing and vaulted into the top spot overall.
"We were 12 to 14 miles away from Cabo on the Pacific side, but just one mile offshore when we spotted marlin feeding on bait on the surface," says team member Oscar Daccarett. "We caught two on ballyhoo and six on live baits."
Daccarett, a Cabo San Lucas local, is no stranger to tournament fishing and took home a second-place finish in the 2007 IGFA Offshore World Championship. For him, being a part of the Offshore World Championship team represents his largest accomplishment in offshore fishing, he says. "Winning the event is a dream come true. In my mind this is the most important tournament in the world. It's not about money; it's about fishing for the honor of being number one in the world."
Daccarett and his fellow teammates, including team captain Drew Andrews of Georgia and Hernando Gonzalez, Jobe Villanicencio and Javier Villanicencio, all of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, won the World Championship Billfish Release Tournament on Andrews' boat Get Over It to qualify for the IGFA Offshore World Championship. Their local knowledge helped as they finished the event with 14 releases worth 4,200 points. Gonzalez caught 13 of the team's billfish to secure him the high-point angler award as well. For their first-place finish, the team won an armful of prizes, including the coveted trophies sculpted by Australian artist Bodo Muche, championship rings crafted by Mark Lloyd of Vanmark Jewelry, Reactor diamond championship watches, Guy Harvey giclee prints of the painting Cabo Blue, a full set of embroidered championship Hook & Tackle apparel, Fin-Nor rod-and-reel combos, Costa Del Mar sunglasses, Momoi fishing line and a Tormenter lure kit.
In second place, the team representing the Presidential Challenge of Guatemala released a total of eight striped marlin and three sails to score 3,000 points. The team of Ebby Hall, Michael Huling and Gary Tarpley of Virginia and Michael Viveiros of North Carolina got off to a great start in the event, catching three sails and two marlin on Day One. They went scoreless on Day Two and caught two marlin on Day Three, but it was their Day Four performance that helped them move into second place overall. With four marlin releases on the final day, the Presidential Challenge of Guatemala team jumped up the leaderboard and secured the runner-up spot. The second-place team didn't go home empty-handed. For their impressive performance, the team won Bodo Muche sculptures, giclee prints of the Guy Harvey piece Who's Next, Fin-Nor rod-and-reel combos, Reactor watches, Costa Del Mar sunglasses and Momoi fishing line.
The XLVI Torneio Annual de Peixes de Bico ICRJ-Brazil team caught four marlin on Day Two and kept on scoring fish for the final two days. The team of Vicente Arruda, Gustavo Lima, Marco Antonio Oliveira Ribas, Chris Badsey and Jose Espinoza was in a tie for first place after Day Three, but their two billfish on the final day were not enough to keep them in the lead. They finished with 2,700 points and third place overall, just edging out the team from Trinidad and Tobago by one marlin release. Finishing in third, the team won Bodo Muche sculptures, giclee prints of Guy Harvey's Blue Tango, Fin-Nor rod-and-reel combos and Momoi fishing line.
Because of their great competitive spirit and sportsmanship, the IGFA Offshore World Championship decided to extend an invitation for the first and second runners-up to attend and fish in the 2010 event. The Presidential Challenge of Guatemala team and the XLVI Torneio Annual de Peixes de Bico ICRJ-Brazil are both being invited back to compete next year. The winning team, however, is extended a lifetime invitation to fish in the Offshore World Championship, perhaps the most coveted prize of all.
The team of Sean Mendonca, Derrick Tardieu, Mark Vilain and Clint Quong Sing of the International Marlin Madness Game Fish Tournament in Trinidad and Tobago did well on each day of the event, scoring three marlin on Day One, two on Day Two and two more on Day Three. But the team only released one marlin on the final day and slipped to fourth place overall.
Rounding out the top five spots was the International Governor's Cup Team. Anglers Jose Albanjo, Horace Barge, Alex Edwards, Steve Hewitt, Richard Mott and Mick Thompson didn't see a fish on the first two days of the tournament, but they made up for it on the final two days. The team caught three striped marlin and a 32-pound dorado on Day Three and released four more striped marlin on the final day to bring their total to 2,132 points. In doing so, the International Governor's Cup team edged out last year's champs by just three points. The 2008 IGFA Offshore World Championship team of Robert Collins, Kenny Longaker, Scott Salley, John Timura and Taylor Walsh finished with 2,129 points for seven marlin and a 29-pound dorado.
Hernando Gonzalez of the World Championship Billfish Release Tournament sailed away to a surmounting lead in the high-point-angler category with 3,900 points. The remaining individual angler spots, however, were extremely close. Jose Espinoza of the XLVI Torneio Annual de Peixes de Bico ICRJ-Brazil finished in second place with 1,800 points, followed by four anglers with 1,500 points each. Clint Quong Sing of the International Marlin Madness Game Fishing Tournament took third place. The top three anglers all took home handsome prize packages, including Bodo Muche sculptures, Reactor watches, Accurate reels, Guy Harvey artwork, Costa Del Mar sunglasses and Momoi fishing line. Rounding out the top six angler positions were Jay Dowdy of the Bermuda Anglers Club International Light Tackle Tournament, Jorge Nunez of Bisbee's Black and Blue and Alex Edwards of the International Governor's Cup. All six of the top anglers won Bodo Muche sculptures, Guy Harvey art and fishing line from Momoi.
Capt. Ivan Gomez, who runs the 45-foot Cabo express Chaos, won the coveted top spot in the captain's division, tallying 11 striped marlin releases for 3,100 points. Gomez proudly took the stage at the awards ceremony and accepted his bounty of prizes, including a Reactor watch, a King Sailfish Mounts trophy, Guy Harvey artwork and Costa Del Mar sunglasses. The second-place captain, Capt. Javier Bertini, released nine striped marlin on the 31 Bertram Rantin N Ravin to win a King Sailfish trophy, Guy Harvey artwork, Oakley sunglasses and Momoi fishing line. Capt. Ulises Cadena of Grey Light guided the winning team to eight releases on the final-day event, helping him win third place in the captain's standings with 2,400 points. Cadena also accepted a prize package including a King Sailfish trophy, Guy Harvey artwork, Oakley sunglasses and Momoi fishing line.
In the game-fish division, two 32-pound dorado sat neck and neck atop the leaderboard. Mick Thompson of the International Governor's Cup team caught his 32-pounder before Lucas Kilgore of the Cantina Cup International Gamefish Tournament caught his dorado. So Thompson walked off with first place in the division, winning a King Sailfish trophy, Guy Harvey artwork, a Tormenter lure kit, Momoi fishing line and a pair of Oakley sunglasses. Kilgore also took home a King Sailfish Mounts trophy and a Tormenter lure kit. Scott O'Reilly of the GFA of Papua New Guinea National Titles landed a 31-pound dorado to finish in third place. O'Reilly also caught a 38-pound wahoo to win first place in the wahoo category. O'Reilly went home with two King Sailfish trophies as well as Guy Harvey artwork, a Tormenter wahoo lure kit, Momoi fishing line and Oakley sunglasses. Robert Mayor of the Marlin Masters Tournament brought in a 25-pound wahoo to take second place, winning a King Sailfish trophy and Tormenter lure kit.
In all, it was an extremely successful event with teams from nearly 20 countries around the world fishing together in the incredible setting that is Baja California Sur. The 42 teams in the 10th annual IGFA Offshore World Championship released 53 marlin and one sail on the final day of fishing, bringing the four-day total to 199 billfish overall. Special events included a festive kickoff party, IGFA silent auction nights, a casting competition sponsored by Oakley, a roosterfish tournament, a snorkel cruise and awards party second to none. Anglers casted to targets during the kickoff party, with the winners walking away with great prizes including Oakley sunglasses and Accurate rod-and-reel combos. Angler Steve Levi from the Mobile Big Game Fishing Club took top honors. Oakley also sponsored the noonday report, with four lucky anglers winning a random draw for some great shades. In the roosterfish competition, the largest roosterfish went to Eddy Thompson of the Mobile Big Game Fishing Club who caught a 37-inch fish. Thompson went home with a beautiful King Sailfish Mounts roosterfish trophy and Oakley sunglasses. In the most roosterfish release category, Anne Horton of the Int. Roosterfish Tournament in Mexico won with 15 releases. Horton also received a King Sailfish Mounts roosterfish trophy and Oakley sunglasses.
The IGFA Offshore World Championship is all about sportsmanship, and with that in mind, one team also took home a newly added Sportsmanship Award. The Salmon Masters Team from Canada, including George and Lisa Cuthbert, Nadine and Christine Baere and Ted Otness, won King Sailfish marlin plaques, earrings from Vanmark Jewelry and Oakley sunglasses for their honesty and good sportsmanship. The tournament is a 30-pound-test event, but the Salmon Masters team accidentally caught a doubleheader of marlin on line over 30-pound-test. Rather than try to sneak it by the committee, the team disqualified their catch themselves. This act is a testament to the fine anglers who compete in this prestigious event.
The IGFA Offshore World Championship represents the largest international field of competitors in the world of offshore sport fishing. The 42 teams participating in the event represent 19 countries around the globe, including Australia, Tonga, Italy, Brazil, Mexico, the United States and more. With such a wide international field of competitors, the Offshore World Championship has earned the title of the "Olympics of Offshore Fishing."
For the first time in the history of the IGFA Offshore World Championship, the scoring is broadcasted live online. Follow all of the action by visiting www.igfaowc.com and clicking on "real-time tournament updates."