The sixth annual world championship of blue water angling hosted 70 teams from 31 countries, the single largest contingent of international teams ever to compete in a fishing tournament. Teams had previously qualified by winning one of 110 International Game Fish Association (IGFA) qualifying events held in 35 countries worldwide during 2004. The teams fished on a different boat each of the four days, all guided by local Cabo San Lucas captains.
The four-day event ended on Thursday but final scores were declared official at noon Friday PST.
Ray Rosher and his wife Charmain, Miami, teamed with Scott Segal, Libertyville, Ill., and Tom Schramm, Roselle, Ill., had fished consistently releasing nine striped marlin and two sailfish spread out over the first three rounds. Representing the Miami Beach Mayor’s Cup the team was in seventh place behind the first place 2003 Rolex/IGFA OCT champions of Bermuda after day three.
“As we began fishing the final day, and with each catch, we really thought we had a chance to possibly get to second or third at best,” said Rosher, who captains a charter boat in Miami. “But first?”
The 2003 champions from Bermuda had held the lead since day two with 12 billfish releases, 10 coming the second day replacing first day leaders from Trinidad & Tobago which had nine billfish releases at the midway point. Bobby Rego and Danny Fox, both of Hamilton, Bermuda, along with Buddy Sowers, Richmond, Va., and John Domanic, Los Cabos, Mexico, were only able to score two more marlin in the final round of fishing in the waters of the Baja Peninsula along Mexico’s Pacific coast.
The former champions released 18 billfish collecting 300 points for their 17 marlin and 100 points for their single sailfish to total 5200 points.
The major leap of eight billfish for the Miami/Chicago contingent gave that team a total of 19 billfish (16 marlin/three sailfish) for the week. They were also awarded 100 extra points as the team catching the most billfish in the tournament. The 42 lbs. from their only weight fish was the deciding factor as they finished with 5242.10 points. The tuna was the first catch of the day for them as they added billfish through the final hours.
Charmain, who is pregnant with a boy, said they were amazed with the number of teams from around the world. “Despite language barriers between the anglers and the all local Mexican fleet of boat captains, many teams did well over one or more of the days of fishing.
Ray Rosher added it was the first time in his 25 years in the sport he had ever fished for striped marlin. The team used both live and dead baits along with lures.
Each member of the Miami/Chicago team won engraved Rolex timepieces along with a number of other trophies and prizes in the prestigious non-cash international event.
The other contenders
The Islamorada, Fla., Presidential Sailfish Tournament team held onto its third place position adding four marlin for a four day total of 4832.80 points. That team was made up of Daytona Beach/Deland, Fla., USA area residents, Edward Talton, brothers Robert and Ken Whitmarsh, Tyler Ford and brother and sister Rhett and Linnea Hagstrom. Fourth place went to a team representing the Presidential Challenge of CA-Guatemala with 4350.5 points. Anglers from central Fla., included Mike Wnek, Auburndale; Nick Ferraro, St. Petersburg; and Jim Turner, Vero Beach releasing five marlin in the final round.
Finishing fifth was the team representing the Light Line & Fly Championship, in Los Cabos, Mexico at 4229.40. Anglers included Louis C., Louis J. and Jimmy C. Bevilacqua all of Manhasset, N.Y., and Grant Hartman, Cabo San Lucas also with five final day releases of marlin.
The second place contenders faulted and blanked in the final day of action. The Greenville, N.C., USA trio of Bill Blount and his two sons Hunter and Gray, representing their win at the 64th ILTTA Tournament in Istapa, Guatemala, they finished eighth with 3700 total points.
First day leaders, representing the West Indies islands of Trinidad & Tobago and the Tobago Gamefishing Tournament, spiraled over the final three days to finish tied for 16th with 2800 points. They had eight billfish on Monday, but only one marlin on each of the next two days and zeroed out in the final round. The team was represented by David Wong, John Ming Hon and Peter “Panic” DeSilva, all of Trinidad and Tobago, along with Edgar Dapremont, Austin, Texas, USA.
Anglers and Captain’s standings
In separate category standings the teams, anglers and boat captains were awarded 300 points for a qualified marlin release, 100 points for sailfish and weight fish.
Twelve-year-old Martini Arostegui, Coral Gables, Fla., USA, teamed with his father Martin, won the anglers race with 3300 points on 11 marlin releases. They represented the Miami Beach Rod and Reel Club Tournament and finished tied for 10th place.
Capt. Eric Orozco on the Reel Busy was first in the boat captains’ standings with 4239.5 points. Finishing second was Capt. Jesus Romero on the Out Cast (4532.80) and third was Capt. Jobe Villavicencio of the Ni Modo. All three captains are from the Los Cabos area.
Daily record counts totaling 517 billfish (503 striped marlin and 14 sailfish) were tagged and released, said Sue Vermillion the tournament director.
Weight fish (wahoo, dorado and tuna) were awarded points over 25 lbs. The meat from those fish were then donated to local Los Cabos area charities.
“This is an exciting and healthy fishery,” said Rob Kramer, president of the IGFA. “This year we nearly doubled the number of releases of the billfish. We also received tremendous support from the Los Cabos area community in our fourth year fishing here.”
Teams represented tournaments in the countries and territories of Angola, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, the Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, Indonesia, Italy, Jamaica, Kingdom of Tonga, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, New Zealand, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Senegal, Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, the United States, Venezuela and the Virgin Islands. Anglers also represented many other countries as well. The United States had 22 teams of anglers from more than 22 states including Washington D.C.
Besides title sponsor Rolex other sponsors in the offshore championship include Chevrolet, Aero Mexico, Aftco Bluewater, Bodo Muche Studio-Foundry, Costa Del Mar Sunglasses, Eagle Claw, Guy Harvey Inc., Hook & Tackle Outfitters, Hotel Finisterra, IWS Scales, King Sailfish Mounts, Mexico Tourism Board, Mold Craft Products, Momoi Hi-Catch Fishing Line, Murray Products Fighting Chairs, Nautical Jewelry Originals, The Outdoor Channel, Pacifico/Corona, Penn Tackle and Viking Yachts.
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-sq.ft .interactive Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum at its headquarter in Dania Beach, Fla.
The IGFA web site can be found at www.igfa.org.