Pangalisa Wins 2016 Los Cabos Billfish Tournament

Chupacabra earns largest payout with all-in entry and third-place finish

Pangalisa wins Los Cabos Billfish Classic Tournament
The team members of Pangalisa celebrate winning the 18th annual Los Cabos Billfish Tournament.Dave Ferrell

Fishing remained surprisingly steady for the three days of the 18th annual Los Cabos Billfish Tournament in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, where the competition concluded with anglers receiving a slight uptick in action on the final day. The 37-boat fleet released 95 video-verified billfish: 56 blue marlin, 36 striped marlin and three black marlin.

In the end, team Pangalisa reeled in first place from its 31-foot Edgewater, thanks to a 378-pound black marlin caught by John Domanic on the second day. Team members Alfredo Castillo, Phillip Davis, Domanic and Mike Hennessy joined Capt. Gonzalo Castillo in winning $84,650 and earning an invitation to the 2017 Offshore World Championship, which begins April 24 in Quepos, Costa Rica.

Last year's Los Cabos Billfish Tournament winner, Reel Energy, came in a close second with a 370-pound blue caught by Brian Walley on the first day. The team also lost a much bigger fish later that same day when they pulled the hook just 80-feet from the boat after a three-hour fight. Anglers Steve Hewitt, Brian and Tawny Walley, Luis Zumaeta and Capt. Horace Barge took home a $58,400 check.

Reel Energy in Los Cabos Billfish Tournament
Reel Energy celebrates winning second place in the Los Cabos Billfish Tournament.Dave Ferrell

In an exciting twist, Chupacabra combined a third-place overall finish with an "all-in" entry to take home the largest share of the winnings. While the other two teams landing qualifying marlin were only in the Level I and Level II daily categories, angler Blake Stampler's 321-pound blue marlin — caught during the last two hours of the final day — earned the rolled-over Level III and Level IV dailies from day one and day two, all four dailies for day three, and the Winner Takes All Jackpot for $226,050.

Fishing on Chupacabra were Jason Douglas, Bo Jenyns, Don Logue, Blake Stampler, Don Stamper and Capt. Clay Hensley.

With so many blues and striped marlin being released, the race for the top release boat prize was tight. Sea Angel took an early lead on day one, when the team released four blue marlin to clinch the Day One Daily prize of $8,700. Sea Angel's heartbreak occurred day three, when angler Austin Angel hooked a 500-plus pound marlin at 9:20 a.m. and fought the fish until 3:55 p.m. before pulling the hooks. Sea Angel wound up in fourth place in the Overall Release category. The Sea Angel team includes Capt., B.C. Angel, Austin, Chance and Greg Angel, Juan Carlos, Federico Ortega and Nolan Ruaunswinter.

Chupacabra in Los Cabos Billfish Tournament
Chupacabra combined a third-place overall finish with an "all-in" entry to take home the largest share of the winnings.Dave Ferrell

Sol Pursuit eventually emerged from the pack as the winner in the Overall Release category. The team released seven blues and one striped marlin, earing 3,600 points and a $17,500 check when adding in their $8,700 in winnings from taking the Day Two Release Daily prize. Sol Pursuit is made up of anglers Clay and Greg Denk, Eric Linthicum and Gary Linthicum, Chris and Mike Watts and Capt. Stephen Downsworth.

Expedition, with Capt. Wilks Hammock, had a fantastic tournament and cruised to a second-place finish in the Overall Release Category. The team scored 3,000 points from five blue and five striped marlin and beat third-place Reel Quest on time.

See the top finishers in each category below.

Sol Pursuit wins Release category
Sol Pursuit celebrates winning the Overall Release category.Courtesy Los Cabos Billfish Tournament

Overall Team

First Place: Pangalisa
Second Place: Reel Energy
Third Place: Chupacabra

Overall Release

First Place: Sol Pursuit
Second Place: Expedition
Third Place: Reel Quest
Fourth Place: Sea Angel

Billfish Daily Jackpot

Day One: Sea Angel
Day Two: Sol Pursuit
Day Three: Reel Quest

blue marlin caught in tournament
Sol Pursuit, which won the Overall Release division with eight marlin releases, brings one of them to the boat.Two boats heading out to Cabos' lush fishing grounds

Wahoo Daily Jackpot

Day One: Santi I
Day Two: Oh So Rojo
Day Three: Reel Gold

Tuna Daily Jackpot

Day One: Reel Quest
Day Two: Feeling Azul
Day Three: Rocky Mountain Hooker

Dorado Daily Jackpot

No qualifying dorado were weighed during the event. Prize money for this category was split among the six winners of the tuna and wahoo dailies.

Top Captain

Capt. Gonzalo Castillo, Pangalisa

El Arco in Los Cabos
The famous "El Arco" in Los Cabos, Mexico, provides a great backdrop to each day's shotgun start.Courtesy Los Cabos Billfish Tournament
blue marlin in Los Cabos Billfish Tournament
A feisty blue marlin jumps around at the boat before getting released.Courtesy Los Cabos Billfish Tournament
Los Cabos Billfish Tournament
Angler Keith Richardson, back, of Expedition gets hooked up in the chair.Courtesy Los Cabos Billfish Tournament
blue marlin brought to boat during Los Cabos Billfish Tournament
Tournament representatives said a record number of blue marlin — like this one — were caught at this year's tournament.Courtesy Los Cabos Billfish Tournament
blue marlin in Los Cabos Billfish Tournament
A boat brings a blue marlin up to the surface and captures the moment from the bridge.Courtesy Los Cabos Billfish Tournament
boats on water at Los Cabos Billfish Tournament
Two boats head out to Cabo's lush fishing grounds.Courtesy Los Cabos Billfish Tournament
blue marlin jumping in Los Cabos Billfish Tournament
A marlin puts on a show at leader as Sol Pursuit releases another one.Courtesy Los Cabos Billfish Tournament
Team Expedition in Los Cabos Billfish Tournament
The Expedition team makes sure to show their release number after the catch to get their points.Courtesy Los Cabos Billfish Tournament
Hatteras running in Los Cabos Billfish Tournament
The 60-foot Hatteras Go Deeper throttles up after the shotgun start.Courtesy Los Cabos Billfish Tournament
blue marlin release during tournament
A mate smiles before releasing this marlin — knowing the catch earned his team 500 points.Courtesy Los Cabos Billfish Tournament
blue marlin release during tournament
Pocket Aces shows its release number before setting this blue marlin free.Courtesy Los Cabos Billfish Tournament