Twenty-four ladies from the International Women’s Fishing Association met at the world-famous Casa Vieja Lodge, the host for the 2017 IWFA Guatemala Billfish Tournament. The format of the event included one day of pre-fishing where the women had a chance to fine tune their techniques and for the novices to learn new skills. Four of the anglers released their first sailfish and two ladies released their first blue marlin. The two-day tournament resulted in 228 sailfish releases and three blue marlin releases.
As always, Casa Vieja Lodge rolled out the red carpet for the female anglers. Upon the return from the 50-mile run to the fishing grounds, the anglers were greeted with signature cocktails each day, and a mariachi band was also on hand to greet the ladies on their final day. The awards banquet, which featured a festive pig roast, concluded with a surprise fireworks show sponsored by the lodge.
Serena Wilson, who was sponsored into the organization by legendary IWFA founder Kay Rybovich, earned the first-place award by releasing 19 sailfish. Fran McKelvey released 14 sailfish and one blue marlin for a second-place finish. Connie O’Day from Pearland, Texas took third place with a total of 15 sailfish releases.
First place team honors went to Jill Gaddis, Suzie Villere, Serena Wilson and Donna Krehling. The second-place team consisted of Diane Locke, Aledia Tush, Linda Nolasco and Jing Torn, while Ellen Mathews, Fran McKelvey, Mary Peachin and Kathy Gillen won third-place team honors.
High point boat on Day One was Intensity, captained by Mike Sheeder, with anglers Susan Coleman, Kim Clement, Fran McKelvey and Jing Torn with a total of 20 sailfish and one blue marlin release. High point boat on Day Two was Release with Capt. Chico Alvarenga at the helm and anglers Serena Wilson, Jing Torn, Joanne Kolius and Brenda Moore, who released 36 sailfish.
The IWFA was founded in 1955 by women who had the desire to fish and compete amongst themselves. The IWFA promotes female angling through competition, camaraderie and conservation.