Rum Runner Wins 2022 Signature Triple Crown

The bite heats up in Costa Rica

A sport-fishing boat on the water in the sunset.
Sunrise brings another day of competition in Costa Rica. ©Los Sueños Resort and Marina / Ronald Rojas

Sea Angel and Rum Runner are two of the most familiar teams that have been fishing the Los Sueños Signature ­Triple Crown in Costa Rica nearly every year since its inception, and while both teams have visited the awards stage, ­neither has won the overall series title. This year, they combined forces and emerged ­victorious by the narrowest of margins.

Team Sea Angel on Rum Runner, a 72-foot Viking owned by Carlos Pellas and captained by Joe Crawford, featured a blended team of anglers ­representing the Pellas and Angel families and close friends, including Greg Angel, ­Carlos ­Pellas Sr., Carlos Pellas Jr., Austin Angel, Greg Voell, Emilio Munkel, Julio ­Chamorro, and Felipe Mantica. This year, 35 teams participated in all three legs of the Triple Crown and were therefore eligible for the title of series champion, plus the bonus check of $100,000. Rum Runner tallied 14,100 points over the course of the three-tournament series to land in first place; the team on Max Bet scored enough points on Day Three of the final leg to tie on points for the coveted overall title but had to settle for second based on time. Imagine fishing in three separate tournaments, three days each, a total of 72 highly competitive hours on the water, and then tying with your closest competitor at the end—incredible. Vaquero rounded out the top three teams in the series standings with 13,500 points.

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After winning the daily for the first day of fishing with 2,800 points, Capt. Jon Duffie and the Billfisher team were in the groove in first place. Max Bet made a late-day run on Day Two though, releasing three sails and a marlin in the last two hours to catapult themselves into second place on time for the third leg, and also giving them the Day Two daily with 1,900 points. They had now tied Billfisher at 3,400 points going into the final day. Team Galati rounded out the leaderboard at the end of the second day with 2,900 points, well within striking distance of the frontrunners. The fleet had released a two-day combined total of 404 sails and 46 marlin at that point in the tournament.

After an extremely competitive first two days, everyone knew that not only the overall series title, but also the top spots in Leg III were wide open. All it took was a combination of luck and skill; a few 500-point marlin didn’t hurt a team’s chances either. Miss AC, Rum Runner, Team Galati, Billfisher and Max Bet all battled for the top spots throughout the event, then the fishing picked up and produced a good afternoon bite—more than 60 marlin and sailfish were released by the fleet in the last two hours of fishing on the final day.

Team Rum Runner celebrating at the helm of a sport-fishing boat.
Team Rum Runner ©Los Sueños Resort and Marina / pepper ailor

By the call for lines out, Max Bet stood alone atop the leaderboard with 27 sails and six marlin for 5,700 points, narrowly missing the series championship. They were followed by Team Galati in second for Leg III on time with 33 sailfish and two marlin releases for 4,300 points. The tournament had produced a total of 693 billfish releases: 614 sailfish and 79 marlin.

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Laura Jessen capped an ­amazing run in this year’s Signature Triple Crown, placing third in Leg III with her Fish Tank team with 4,300 points from 28 sailfish and three marlin. She was the top angler for Leg III and was also the winner of the Ladies Only series with 7,400 points—2,000 points ahead of the closest runner-up, Eight Eights. Even more impressive, Jessen was the solo angler for each of the three days of the Ladies Only.

And winning her second ­consecutive top overall angler and top female angler for the Triple Crown series was Maria Magalhaes from Uno Mas. She tallied a total of 12 sailfish and nine marlin releases for 5,700 points.

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