Fifty teams of elite saltwater anglers released more blue marlin during day one of the 2017 Lucas Oil Offshore World Championship on Monday than all four days of the 2016 event combined. The species is especially active this year in the waters off of Quepos, Costa Rica, where the world’s premier saltwater fishing championship has been held since 2013.
A total of 21 blue marlin releases, worth a whopping 500 points apiece, came as a welcome surprise during an otherwise light day of fishing, with 37 sailfish (200 points) and one dorado rounding out the day’s catch count.
Team Oregon Tuna Classic completed the day in first place, narrowly edging out last year’s champions from Trinidad and Tobago with an earlier release time. The team released two blue marlin and one sailfish for 1,200 points on Amy’s Dream, a Proline Express, which led the top boat category.The Tobago International Game Fishing Tournament team ranked third place overall with 1,000 points.
At the end of the day, the event’s 255 anglers—representing 50 international tournaments and 29 home countries—were in good spirits during the dockside social on the gorgeous waterfront lawn at Marina Pez Vela.
The second day of tournament fishing commenced Tuesday morning, with lines in at 7:30 a.m. Two more days of competition will follow. Final awards for top teams, anglers and boat captains—plus prizes for heaviest fish—will be presented during the awards gala on April 28.