Xta-Sea Tops Fleet in Los Sueños

The 2017 Signature Triple Crown is now underway in Costa Rica

2017 Los Suenos Signature Triple Crown Leg 1 Costa Rica
Alexis Chamorro (right, in blue) and the Xta-Sea team celebrate their win at the first leg of the 2017 Los Sueños Signature Triple Crown in Costa Rica.© Los Sueños Resort and Marina / Pepper Ailor

Right from the start, the organizers of the 2017 Los Sueños Signature Triple Crown knew the fishing would be special for the kickoff of the event’s first leg, held January 18 to 21, 2017, in Los Sueños, Costa Rica. Most of the boats that had been on the water had returned with reports of terrific marlin bites, on both blues and striped marlin. At 500 points per release, the marlin would prove to be a game-changer in a tournament series usually dominated by sailfish.

Alexis Chamorro's Xta-Sea team kept themselves in contention throughout the event, then made their move on Day Three. The experienced team, based in Nicaragua but fishing extensively throughout Central America, released five marlin on the final day alone. This gave them a total of just six sailfish but a whopping 12 marlin releases for the three-day tournament, good for 6,600 points and the win.

Agitator, last year's top overall team, returned with the goal of picking up right where they left off, and by the call for lines out they stood in second place. Capt. Jon Duffie led the family team to a runner-up finish, where they released 30 sails and seven marlin in the event for 6,500 points.

Capt. Andy Helms and the En Joy team catapulted themselves from near-obscurity to a third-place finish with a huge last day. They released seven marlin on Day Three to not only win the daily prize but also third, tallying 13 sails and 10 marlin releases and 6,300 points for the tournament. Gray Ingram's Big Oh team finished fourth at 6,300 points and Alpha Bravo was fifth with 6,200 points.

For the three-day event, there were 997 billfish released: 785 sailfish and an incredible 212 blue and striped marlin by the 50-boat participating fleet. See below for photos from the event.

2017 Los Suenos Signature Triple Crown Leg 1 Costa Rica
The Agitator team held steady to finish in second place.© Los Sueños Resort and Marina / Pepper Ailor
2017 Los Suenos Signature Triple Crown Leg 1 Costa Rica
With an incredible Day Three, En Joy leapt into third place overall.© Los Sueños Resort and Marina / Pepper Ailor
2017 Los Suenos Signature Triple Crown Leg 1 Costa Rica
Always a threat, Tranquilo won the top daily boat cash for Day One.© Los Sueños Resort and Marina / Pepper Ailor
2017 Los Suenos Signature Triple Crown Leg 1 Costa Rica
Off Duty heads out. They were the top daily team for Day Two.© Los Sueños Resort and Marina / Pepper Ailor
2017 Los Suenos Signature Triple Crown Leg 1 Costa Rica
Thanks to their seven marlin on Day Three, the daily went to En Joy.© Los Sueños Resort and Marina / Pepper Ailor
2017 Los Suenos Signature Triple Crown Leg 1 Costa Rica
A sailfish takes to the air off Los Sueños during the Signature Triple Crown.© Los Sueños Resort and Marina / Pepper Ailor
2017 Los Suenos Signature Triple Crown Leg 1 Costa Rica
Alexis Chamorro celebrates his win with Los Sueños visionary and founder Bill Royster.© Los Sueños Resort and Marina / Pepper Ailor
2017 Los Suenos Signature Triple Crown Leg 1 Costa Rica
Among the awards were plenty of Flor de Caña rum.© Los Sueños Resort and Marina / Pepper Ailor
2017 Los Suenos Signature Triple Crown Leg 1 Costa Rica
Larry Drivon and Will Drost, having fun at the awards.© Los Sueños Resort and Marina / Pepper Ailor
2017 Los Suenos Signature Triple Crown Leg 1 Costa Rica
Just a few of the tournament's certified observers in a group photo.© Los Sueños Resort and Marina / Pepper Ailor
2017 Los Suenos Signature Triple Crown Leg 1 Costa Rica
The quiet returns to the marina in Los Sueños after the conclusion of the tournament.© Los Sueños Resort and Marina / Pepper Ailor