Female Anglers Set Precedence at Marina Pez Vela

The first ladies-only billfish tournament in Quepos, Costa Rica, makes history

March 21, 2019
pescadora billfish champsionship sea angels
Female Anglers Set Precedence at Marina Pez Vela Courtesy Pescadora Billfish Championship

Whenever you have an event coordinated by ladies for ladies, you know it’s not only going to wow, but be classy, fun and most of all, awe-inspiring: Some women fear the fire, others simply become it.

The elegant captains meeting began at nightfall, complete with twinkling lights and a photo booth where teams had the opportunity to show off not only their alter-egos, but also their love and support of one another.

trophies and awards at the pescadora billfish championship trophies
Eighty-one ladies on 22 teams gathered in Quepos to not only make history, but to be crowned one of the world’s top lady anglers. Courtesy Pescadora Billfish Championship

Amid a sea of pink, tournament director Sam Mumford laid down the law in regard to the competition’s rules, but gave her words of encouragement that rivaled all others:


“So many people from across the globe will be cheering for you — from near and far — watching you; seeing how this takes off. These three days we created are for you. To focus, get away from your crazy life distractions, connect with the outdoors and your friends. This is the most adventurous, talented, bold[est] group of women that I believe, have ever been in one location, in one place, in the world.”

group of people partying in a photo booth
The photo booth set up during the captain’s meeting and after-party was a chance for teams to blow off steam prior to the first day of competition. Courtesy Pescadora Billfish Championship

The fleet was greeted on Day One with Mumford personally delivering good luck mimosas to prepare them for the almost 50-mile run to the bite. As watchers from 18 different countries followed the leaderboard, Kelly Nutt, fishing aboard Kelly Dawn, started the almost non-stop action at 8:13 a.m., with the rest of the fleet releasing — and tagging — billfish after billfish. After 241 sailfish and two marlin releases, Day One closed out with the ladies on Uno Mas taking the daily for an astonishing 28 releases.

Day Two was poised to be even better when 42 billfish were released in the first hour of competition. At 8:07 a.m., Game Plan was on the rise as Shari Burrows released the first fish of the day. Team Thunder, fishing aboard Marina Pez Pela’s own Caribsea released a grand slam, adding to the 274 billfish released on Day Two.

group of girls holding a bag of champagne on a boat deck
Bags full of mimosas and fresh-cut flowers were hand-delivered to the teams each morning by Mumford as a good luck gesture. Courtesy Pescadora Billfish Championship

After receiving an ice-cold, lavender-scented towel on their return, the ladies retired to prepare for a beautiful, all-white pool-side awards dinner held rooftop, overlooking Marina Pez Vela, complete with — you guessed it… hand massages and more champagne!

sunset over the costa rican bay at the pescadora billfish championship
The setting Costa Rican sun couldn’t be a more beautiful drop back to the roof-top white party and awards dinner. Courtesy Pescadora Billfish Championship

The white party anxiously gathered to see history made, as the committee prepared to crown the world’s top lady anglers: The first-place team, Uno Mas with a total of 49 billfish released; second-place Big Oh, with a total 44 releases; and third overall, Game Plan — whose team consisted of three members who had never fished before — with 40. The smallest boat of the fleet, Good Day, took home the largest tuna honor, and The King and I captured the largest dorado with a 52.9-pound bruiser.

team uno mas at the pescadora billfish tournament
First-place winners: Uno Mas Courtesy Pescadora Billfish Championship

Uno Mas‘ Maria Magalhaes was name top IGFA female angler of the tournament, releasing 14 of her 25 fish by IGFA-stated rules, and Lacey Ivancevic, fishing aboard Pelagic Magic was the top female releasing the most billfish by hook and hand. Each of the ladies received an oh-so-appropriate Gray Taxidermy pink Pescadora trophy for their efforts.

team big oh at the pescadora billfish championship
Second-place team: Big Oh Courtesy Pescadora Billfish Championship

Kristina Fahmie was presented with a full-size sailfish mount — presented by GFT’s program director, Bill Dobbelaer — for releasing the most tagged billfish of the tournament for Team Shoe. The tournament tagged the most billfish ever in two days using the green, international multi-species fish-tagging model by Gray FishTag. GFR is a non-profit organization which uses the largest network of fishing professionals, consisting of approximately 10,000 charter captains and mates.

team game plan at the pescadora billfish championship
Third-place team: Game Plan Courtesy Pescadora Billfish Championship

As the evening’s formal events came to a close, an emotional Mumford could not leave the stage without thanking her marketing partners for their support and thanking what she called, “the Pescadora tournament dream team.”

group of women holding a trophy at the pescadora billfish tournament
The ladies fishing on the fleet’s smallest boat, Good Day wrangled the biggest tuna honors for a combined weight of 80 pounds. Courtesy Pescadora Billfish Championship

“I am so grateful to all the women for taking a chance on this first, one-of-a-kind tournament. The hard work and dedication that each angler showed was inspiring — not only to me, but to women around the world,” she said.


The Pescadora Billfish Championship released a total of 512 billfish in two days and tagged close to 200 of them in the name of research.

fishing team holding up a dorado trophy at pescadora billfish tournament
Team Tipsea, fishing aboard The King and I won the dorado division with a massive 52.9-pound fish. Courtesy Pescadora Billfish Championship
samantha mumford presenting female angler with award at pescadora billfish championship
Samantha Mumford presents the tournament’s top IGFA angler — Uno Mas‘ Maria Magalhaes — with her pink Pescadora sailfish trophy by Gray Taxidermy. Courtesy Pescadora Billfish Championship
two women standing at awards at pescadora billfish championship
Lacey Ivancevic was crowned Top Lady Angler in the hook-and-hand division while fishing aboard Pelagic Magic. Courtesy Pescadora Billfish Championship
samantha mumford speaking at the pescadora billfish championship
Tournament Director, Samantha Mumford gives her final emotional sentiments to the crowd of white, thanking her sponsors and marketing partners, saying she couldn’t have done it without her “Pescadora dream team.” Courtesy Pescadora Billfish Championship
group of female anglers at the pescadora billfish championship awards ceremony
The Tuna Trappe‘s Team Trappe Queens pause for a photo at the awards ceremony — complete with release flag-inspired clutches made by Clutch and Release. Courtesy Pescadora Billfish Championship

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