The full moon shined over Quepos, Costa Rica—a small town perched at the edge of Manuel Antonio National Park—as 67 teams comprised of 350 anglers from all corners of the world competed in the fourth-annual Pelagic Rockstar Offshore Tournament for a purse that claimed to be the largest in Costa Rica tournament fishing.
With general divisions in most billfish releases and the heaviest tuna and dorado, the fleet departed for the fish-rich waters to have a go at catching not only the most billfish, but also to bring in two of their heaviest gamefish for a chunk of the overall prize of $700,000 in cash. Both large boats—over 35 feet—and smaller craft vied for prizes in their individual category and a crack at the overall title.
The event kicked off with a display like none other, which included a raffle where lucky ticket holders could go home with various Pelagic products, including sunglasses, dry bags, and limited-edition bottles of rum by Flor de Caña. The party continued over the next two days, with send-offs each morning by a live heavy-metal band and nightly celebrations, making this venue a true rock-star event.
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On Day One, a total of 348 billfish were released and the weigh station was a busy one, with La Otra Vida weighing a 128-pound yellowfin and the Australian team fishing on Big Eye 2 topping that fish by boating a 164.8-pounder, which ultimately won the team first place in the small-boat tuna division.
Rum Runner scored the most billfish points for the day—2,200—for releasing 19 sailfish and one blue marlin, getting them to the stage with a second-place finish overall in billfish releases and taking home $132,000 for their efforts. Kelly Dawn won the daily billfish jackpot for the small boats, with six sails and one blue marlin released.
Top Fly earned 1,900 release points on the first day, and ended up in the first-place-overall position in billfish-release points—scoring 3,600 points for 30 sails and two marlin—earning $86,880.
Day Two netted a total of 394 billfish releases, with Team Nigerian Navigator, fishing aboard Vaquero, sweeping the daily billfish categories with 2,100 points for releasing 18 sails and one blue.
Team Mermaid Magic Fishing weighed in the tournament’s largest dorado—a 46.2-pounder—for the small-boat division, and when combined with their second eligible fish of 27.6 pounds, made them the dorado winner.
The Grand Champion award—a limited-edition Fender Telecaster electric guitar complete with custom Rockstar tournament graphics—which goes to the team who earns the most money, went to Team Nigerian Navigator, along with a check in the amount of $158,400 for sweeping all five billfish jackpot levels on Day Two.
Team Desert Plastering, fishing aboard Amy’s Dream, took home the Top Overall Team in the small-boat division for the second year in a row, and was awarded the Small Boat Billfish Division trophy for amassing 2,100 release points.
Top Fly’s Kurt Forsberg was named Top Overall Angler for catching 14 sails and one blue marlin for his team; Southern Pride’s Joni Smith won Top Female Angler honors for her 14 sailfish releases, and Tranquilo’s Chloe Cofer was named the Top Junior Angler for releasing four sailfish and weighing in a 31-pound dorado for her team.
The Rockstar fleet released a total of 742 billfish—704 sailfish, 37 blue marlin and one black marlin—for an unbelievable average of 11.2 billfish per team. Tournament director, Colin Sarfeh, thanked his sponsors for their support, Marina Pez Vela for hosting the event, and is looking forward to next year. With numbers like that, who could blame him.