With nearly a half-million dollars on the line going into the third and final leg of the 2021 Los Sueños Signature Triple Crown, the pressure was on each team to bring their A game.
This year, 28 of the 39 participating teams were fishing two tournaments in one: Those teams participated in the 2020 Triple Crown and, since the third leg was canceled due to COVID-19, they were also fishing to determine the top three places for Leg Three as well as the 2020 Series Champion Team, in addition to the winner of Leg Three for 2021 and 2021 Series Champions. The stakes were incredibly high and the tension was palpable in the humid Costa Rican air. Outage had finished the second leg of the 2020 series in the lead with 8,400 points, just 400 points ahead of Tarheel for Series Champion. Team Galati was in third overall with 7,500 points. For the 2021 Series Championship, Fish Tank was in first after the second leg with 9,700 points, followed by Team Galati with 9,100 points and Grand Slam with 9,000 points. It was anyone’s game to win or lose at this point.
The event kicked off with the third round of the popular Ladies Only Tournament, a one-day shootout held prior to the start of each leg. D.A. Sea topped the leaderboard after the three individual tournaments with 5,400 points, followed by Uno Mas in second with 4,500 points, and in third with 4,400 points was Max Bet. Kelly Weber of Max Bet was the top angler, scoring 2,200 of her team’s total points, releasing 12 sailfish and two marlin over the three legs.
In a telling sign of things to come, Team Galati released two doubleheaders in the last seven minutes of Day One to earn the daily with 2,400 points, followed by Pura Vida with 2,100 points and Dealer’s Choice with 1,900 points. A total of 311 sails and 18 marlin were released on Day One—not a red-hot, wide-open bite but definitely enough to keep things competitive for the fleet.
Day Two started off with a flurry of marlin, with nine of the 500-point fish released in the first hour of fishing. By the call for lines out at 4 p.m., Team Galati once again found themselves at the top of the leaderboard with 4,500 points, followed by Tarheel with 3,700, besting Eight Eights on time. A total of 350 additional sails and 22 marlin were released on Day Two.
Going into the third and final day, Team Galati had already tallied 13,600 points over three legs and secured a 1,700-point lead over Fish Tank for the 2021 Series Championship. No surprise here: Team Galati finished in first place for Leg Three, with a final count of 54 sails and two marlin for 6,400 points, followed by Eight Eights with a three-day total of 25 sails and five marlin for 5,000 points, and Dragin Fly rounding out the top three with 38 sailfish and two marlin for 4,800 points.
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Each day, the tournament added the final scores for that day to the tally for the third leg of the 2020 Series, as well as the tally for the 2020 Series Championship. After Day One, Team Galati was in first for the leg with their 2,400 points and was already 100 points ahead of Outage in the Series Championship. After Day Two, they pulled ahead even further with a total of 12,000 points, over Tarheel in second with 11,700 points, followed by Outage in third with 10,700 points. At the end of the tournament on Day Three, Team Galati earned 6,400 points for the leg and finished first over Dragin Fly in second with 4,800 points, and Tarheel in third with 4,700 points. Team Galati amassed a total of 13,900 points for the 2020 Signature Triple Crown, outpacing Tarheel’s 12,700 points, and Outage’s 12,000 points. It was an incredible display of fishing performance by one of the sport’s most competitive teams, and a well-deserved victory.
But the drama doesn’t end there. Fishing with Brooks Smith aboard Uno Mas, Maria Magalhaes was named the top overall angler for the 2021 series, as well as the top lady angler. Magalhaes released 18 sailfish and five marlin during this year’s series, which marked the first time in the event’s history that a female has won the overall angler title.