The second leg of the seventh-annual Signature Triple Crown series, presented jointly by Los Sueños Resort and Marina and Chantilly Air, was held February 26-29, 2020, and wrapped up just as the COVID-19 pandemic threat was emerging on the world stage. Forty-one teams and 202 anglers released a three-day total of 870 billfish in the event, including 703 sails and 67 marlin.
The team on Shoe kicked off the second leg with a sailfish release just eight minutes after lines in was called at 8:00 a.m. By noon, the fleet had released 164 sails and eight marlin; HT Hook was leading with 1,200 points, followed by the team on Tarheel with 1,200 points, and Team Galati with 1,100 points. War Party picked away at the sailfish, finishing Day One with 16 sails and securing their second-place daily finish with a marlin release late in the day. As the dust settled after the first day’s action, the official score put Off Duty in first place with 2,200 points (12 sailfish/two marlin), followed by War Party in second place with 2,100 points (16 sails/one marlin), and Team Galati in third with 2,000 points (15 sailfish/one marlin). As always, the critical marlin releases—each worth 500 points—made a big difference in the team’s scores.
Between 10 a.m. and noon on Day Two, War Party went on to release three more sails, taking over first place with 2,500 points as of the midday update. Reel Joy slid into the top spot with a pair of marlin releases at 12:30 p.m., until Team Galati got their second marlin release less than an hour later, taking them to the front of the pack. By lines out at 4 p.m., Team Galati was in the lead with 3,500 points, followed by Reel Joy with 3,000, and Tarheel in third, also with 3,000 points. Day Three would be a battle royale all the way to the finish.
The Outage team started off the day with a marlin hookup at 8:04 a.m., releasing their fish five minutes later. In under an hour, seven more marlin had been released by the fleet, and by 10 a.m., the leaderboard looked almost completely different, with Off Duty now in first place with 4,100 points, Team Galati in second at 4,000 points, and Outage in third with 3,300 points. The leaders traded shots as the clock kept ticking down.
At 2:21, Team Galati, Off Duty and Outage were all tied up. No sooner had this report been shared by tournament control to the fleet when Outage released a double and moved ahead. Team Galati then retook first place with a marlin release just before 3 p.m. and stayed there until the end, where they finished with a three-day combined total of 5,000 points for 25 sails and five marlin, and winning the second leg of the tournament series, just as they had in 2014, 2015 and 2019.
Outage finished second with 4,800 points (23 sailfish/five marlin), and Tarheel was third on time, also with 4,800 points from 33 sails and three marlin. Fish Tank’s Mike Ivancevic was the Top Angler for Leg Two, releasing eight sailfish and two marlin to score 1,800 points.
Due to the pandemic, the tournament organizers have decided to overlay the third and final leg of the 2020 Signature Triple Crown series on 2021’s third-leg event. In essence, Leg Three in 2021 will determine 2020’s Leg Three first-, second- and third-place winners as well as Top Angler—in addition to the 2020 overall series championship, overall Top Angler and overall Top Female Angler.