The most exclusive title in international tournament fishing brought together 45 teams for four days of all-star competition in Quepos, Costa Rica. Because 216 anglers from 24 countries released close to 300 more billfish than last year’s event, Team Oregon Tuna Classic, which failed to release a single billfish on Day Four, relied on its commanding lead to get to the awards stage.
Team Oregon Tuna Classic anglers—Matti Olsen, Matt Rowland, Stan Brogdon, Dan Sullivan and Erik Jutlia—are northwest U.S. tuna wranglers for the most part, but even with limited billfish experience, their hardcore prefishing and dedicated drive kept them in the big show as they held their rods for all 32 hours of contention for 6,100 points.
Quepos billfish action is hot year-round.
The second-place team, the 2008 Offshore World Champions—which includes anglers Brandon Hopper, John Domanic, Matt McLean, Ken Longaker and Robert Collins—hooked up to a doubleheader of sailfish in the last 10 minutes of the tournament, putting it ahead of the event’s eventual third-place winner, Team Mauritius International Billfish Release Tournament.
The 2019 OWC Top Angler award was presented to 2008 OWC team member Brandon Hopper for releasing one blue marlin, one striped marlin and eight sailfish for a total of 2,600 of his team’s 5,732.2 points.