Club Nautico de Santo Domingo Wins ILTTA

Team’s nine releases wins Puerto Rico billfish event

light-tackle fishing tournament
From left, Club Nautico de Santo Domingo angler Wally Heinsen, ILTTA chairman Luis Infanzon, angler Carolina Mederos and angler Raul Rizek, part of the winning team of the 76th anniversary ILTTA.Courtesy International Light Tackle Tournament Association

The Club Nautico de Santo Domingo team won the 2016 International Light Tackle Tournament in San Juan, Puerto Rico, with nine releases.

Puerto Rico Light Tackle Anglers #2 team finished second with nine releases. Club Nautico de Santo Domingo was the headquarters for the tournament, which was hosted by the Puerto Rico Light Tackle Anglers Club, and wrapped up fishing on November 21, 2016.

They were two of the 17 teams in the tournament, which tallied 88 billfish releases. The 51 anglers, representing six countries, used 20-pound tackle and had 30 minutes to fight and release the fish. Wally Heinsen and Carolina Mederos each released four billfish for Club Nautico de Santo Domingo, and Raúl Rizek released one to round out the nine releases in the tournament’s 76th edition.

offshore light-tackle fishing tournament
Carolina Mederos, part of the Club Nautico de Santo Domingo team, released four billfish in the four-day tournament.Courtesy International Light Tackle Tournament Association

“Captains and crews here in Puerto Rico are exceptional and they help you attain the release,” Heinsen said. “Here everyone is happy when someone else hooks a fish.”

The Keep Fishing Venezuela team finished third with eight releases. Jesús Montano's Blue Bird was named best boat, followed by Manuel Suárez's M&M and Luis Córdova's Arabita. Those three boats each released nine billfish.

Among the other highlights was Dave Martin, from the South Africa Deep Sea Anglers Association. Martin accumulated four releases during the tournament's first three days — his biggest was a 500-pound blue marlin that he released within 25 minutes aboard Sweet Bite. Córdova was named Best Individual Angler with five releases. Rafael Martinez, a former president of the International Light Tackle Tournament Association, and Andrés Portela each released four to finish second and third, respectively.

offshore light-tackle fishing tournament
Carolina Mederos and the Club Nautico de Santo Domingo team released nine billfish total.Courtesy International Light Tackle Tournament Association
Big Belt trophy light-tackle offshore tournament
Carolina Mederos celebrates with the Big Belt trophy.Courtesy International Light Tackle Tournament Association
offshore light-tackle fishing tournament
From left, former ILTTA president José Martínez, ILTTA secretary Bonnie Powell and Luis Infanzon, chairman of the 76th edition of the tournament, held in San Juan, Puerto Rico.Courtesy International Light Tackle Tournament Association