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.
“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.