Fifty-one teams of elite saltwater anglers released 78 billfish on Monday, the first day of the 2018 Lucas Oil Offshore World Championship. Just three of the billfish were blue marlin. Usually plentiful, billfish were thin in the waters off of Quepos, Costa Rica, a globally recognized hot spot for Pacific sailfish and blue marlin.
Two blue marlin releases, worth a hefty 500 points each, allowed Team Bermuda Billfish Blast to tie for second place after Day One. A total of 75 sailfish, each worth 200 points, one additional blue marlin, two dorado and one yellowfin tuna rounded out the day’s catch count. The top dorado, a 46.8-pounder, was caught by Juan Manuel Cobar de La Hoz, of Team Sailfish Tournament (Costa Rica).
Team Torneio de Pesca de Santo Andre (Brazil) completed the day in first place with 1,200 points from six sailfish, edging out three other teams with 1,000 points each. Team Torneio de Pesca de Santo Andre (Brazil) fished aboard Epic, captained by Michael Alligood. Epic leads the top boat category. Teams Torneio Marlin do Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Bermuda Billfish Blast and Torneio De Peixes De Bico (Brazil) all scored 1,000 points on Day One of the Offshore World Championship. Both Brazilian teams each landed five Pacific sailfish to earn their points. Angler Juan Cabrera Pena, of Team XXV Torneo De Pesca De Aturo Puerto Calero (Spain), landed the only other blue marlin on Day One, aboard the 45-foot Viking, Top Notch.
At the end of the day, the event’s 240 anglers—representing 51 international tournaments and more than 30 countries—were in good spirits during the dockside social on the gorgeous waterfront lawn at Marina Pez Vela.
The second day of tournament starts Tuesday morning, with lines in at 7:30 a.m. Two more days of competition follow on Wednesday and Thursday. Final awards for top teams, anglers and boat captains—plus prizes for heaviest fish—will be presented during the awards gala on April 20 at Marina Pez Vela.