The Flor de Caña International Billfish Tournament is one of the top tournaments in Central America, thanks to its winning combination of outstanding fishing, luxurious accommodations and the warm, inviting host nation of Nicaragua. For the 16th annual tournament, held in Puesta del Sol, a fleet of 33 boats participated in the tournament’s two categories: Centenario for large sport-fishers and Gran Reserva for smaller boats.
Chris and Laura Jessen and the Fish Tank team were off to a hot start, releasing 26 sailfish on the first day of the tournament to take a commanding lead at 2,600 points. Ken and Amanda Cofer’s Tranquilo team was second with 17 sails and 1,700 points, and several other teams remained in top contention, including Marc Stanley’s Pelese, Tijereta, Rum Runner and others.
Going into Day Three, Tranquilo got hot and released a pair of blue marlin and then started piling up the sailfish releases (including one quintuple release); it looked as if they would walk away with yet another win in Central America. However, the Jessens and Fish Tank battled back from the brink, releasing an incredible 41 sails on the final day alone to emerge victorious. Their final tally: 82 sailfish in three days.
Tranquilo landed in second but it’s hard to complain when your last day of fishing yields 38 sailfish and two marlin releases. Pelese held on to place third; guest angler Greg Angel was named the top angler of the tournament with 3,100 points. Rum Runner and No Agenda rounded out fourth and fifth places, respectively.
In the hotly contested small-boat division, Conga placed first with 2,700 points. Dolce Vita was second with 2,500 points and Soles third with 1,900 points. For the tournament, there were 805 billfish released in three days: 793 sailfish and 12 marlin.