The Penn Challenge is an annual charity-driven tournament organized by The Fishing Dutchmen Foundation and held in Mindelo, Cape Verde. The 2017 edition drew 15 teams from Holland, Belgium, England and China. For each of the five fishing days in the tournament, the teams rotated each day among some of the most highly-regarded captains in the world, including Zak Conde, Marty Bates, Olaf Grimkowski, Randy Das, Bert Bouchard, Steve George and others. The Penn Challenge is also a qualifying event for the Offshore World Championship.
Highlighting the excellent blue marlin fishing Cape Verde is known for, by the end of the tournament 109 blue marlin were caught in the event. The largest was estimated at 900 pounds, with 35 more over the 500-pound mark. With the exception of two fish that died during the fight, all were released. The boated fish were prepared and donated to the tournament’s charity, ICCA Mindelo, a shelter for mistreated and abused children.
The Dutch team, Penn Force One, of Toine van Ierland and Wim Huijberts finished in first place with 11 blue marlin releases. In second place was another Dutch team, the Ray Marines: Patrick Lankhuizen, Mark Smulders, Harold van Asselt. The Chinese Ocean Sun team of Sun Linan, Xu Gongjian, Jiang Hua, Yue Liang finished in third. Klaas Hoogduin landed the largest game fish, a 43-pound wahoo, and Capt. Marty Bates was the event’s top captain on La Onda Mila.
Here’s a closer look at this year’s Penn Challenge.