QUEPOS, Puntarenas – A fleet of 64 international teams from 24 countries paraded out of Marina Pez Vela and into the sailfish-rich Costa Rican waters this week for the start of the 15th annual Offshore World Championship sport fishing tournament. By the end of the first day, anglers had released an impressive 761 sailfish, three blue marlin and 27 dorado by the time the “lines in” call was made.
The historic bite was on all day, with many teams scoring multiple releases. Team Royal Pahang Billfish International Challenge, which represents Malaysia, caught-and-released 27 sailfish and two dorado to take the lead on day one, with 5459.20 points. The Championship Anglers are mainly targeting sailfish worth 200 points per release, but should they encounter and best a blue, black or striped marlin, they will earn 500 points per release. Game fish, which include tuna, wahoo and dorado, also score points and count for individual prizes.
Following each day of fishing, the anglers enjoy themselves at the daily Dockside Socials at Marina Pez Vela with complimentary Flor de Caña rum, local Costa Rican beer, food provided by Runaway Bay Restaurant and live entertainment while the competitors check-in their release videos.
The tournament’s primary sponsors are the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) and Marina Pez Vela. The Parador Resort and Spa, the host hotel for the championship anglers, sits high on the Pacific coastline within minutes from Manuel Antonio National Park. The tournament has grown within itself, but also within the local Quepos community.
“The main impact is not only for the hotel, but also the local community,” says Jorge Rodriguez, resident manager of Parador Resort and Spa. “The tournament drives business to restaurants, attractions and transportation services. The community is 100 percent focused on this tournament.”
The tournament fishing will continue throughout the week, ending on Thursday. The Awards Gala at Marina Pez Vela will honor the top teams, boats and anglers this Friday.
Follow all the action live on the official online scorekeeper site: www.owc14.catchstat.com.