Capt. Charles Gregory led the Natural team to a single-day catch of 29 sailfish releases, setting a new record for billfish releases at Marina Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic. December 17, 2017, proved to be a blue-ribbon day for Gregory and his team of anglers and mates aboard the 53-foot Monterey owned by Anthony Rizzo.
As any experienced captain will say, it’s important to work with the weather and make the best of the situation. With a strong northeast wind and a passing cold front in the forecast, Gregory knew the sailfish would be stacked up off Isla Saona, just off the southeastern coast of the Dominican Republic and about 28 miles from their slip in Cap Cana. He also knew it would be a brutal uphill run back to Cap Cana against the wind and seas, so Gregory planned to head for Marina Casa de Campo instead, approximately 25 miles away but on a much better heading for the weather.
“It was pretty squally and rainy,” he says. “But the fish were definitely there. It was solid action all day long, with multiple doubles, triples and quads. At one point, there were more sails than I could count behind the boat and we ran out of rods.”
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By the end of the hectic day of fishing, the anglers, including Anthony and his father, Capt. Tony Rizzo, had released 29 sailfish from 45 bites.
The action continued the following day as well, when they caught nine out of 15 bites and quit fishing by 10:30 a.m.
“Capt. Neil Orange turned us on to this sailfish fishery off the Dominican Republic about five years ago,” Gregory says. “He held the previous record out of Marina Casa de Campo, with 23.”