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It’s become a rite of passage for many anglers—and a dream opportunity for others—to fish in the prestigious Los Sueños Signature Triple Crown tournament series, hosted by Los Sueños Resort and Marina in Costa Rica. With three events from January to March each year, this has become the world’s most competitive dead-bait tournament series. It’s not at all unusual to find the winners determined by just one release, or even by the time of the last release in the case of a tie, and it also attracts some of the sport’s top talent, both at the helm and in the cockpit. If you want to do well here, you’d best bring your A game.
Each of the three tournament legs begins with a one-day ladies-only tournament. This year, 37 anglers on 12 boats kicked off the 2023 series with some great fishing, releasing 158 billfish prior to the start of Leg One. Outage won the day with 25 sailfish and one marlin, good for 3,000 points and the early lead. They were followed by Uno Mas in second with five sails and four marlin (2,500 points), and Max Bet in third with seven sailfish and three marlin (2,200 points).
Prior to the start of Leg Two, the ladies event showcased the angling talent aboard DA Sea, whose team emerged victorious with 2,000 points from four marlin. Vaquero was second with 1,600 points, and Uno Mas third on time, also with 1,600 points. The final-day shootout prior to Leg Three would come down to the wire to determine the winners.
And that last day did not disappoint in any way, with a back-and-forth battle between the teams on Outage and Uno Mas nearly all day for the title of Series Champion. However, in the end, it was Outage in first with 2,000 points, followed by Max Bet in second with 1,200 points, and Billfisher in third with 1,100; for the 2023 Ladies Only series, Uno Mas was first with 5,100 points, Outage second on time with 5,100 points, and Vaquero third with 4,200 points. Uno Mas is a 60-foot Bayliss captained by owner Brooks Smith, with anglers Maria Smith and Yendry Zúñiga Jiménez in the cockpit; the ladies released 11 sails and eight marlin in the three days of competition. Maria Smith was the top angler for the ladies-only series with 2,600 individual points.
If you want to have a chance to do well in the Signature Triple Crown, it’s best to get off to a fast start in Leg One, which is just what the team on Max Bet did. With six marlin releases and the daily win on the first day of the tournament, they went on to win the first leg with a three-day total of 10 marlin and 21 sailfish for 7,100 points. Austin Robins captains the 66-foot Spencer, which is owned by Matthew and Kelly Weber.
Never one to be discounted, the 64-foot Viking Team Galati, captained by Tony Carrizosa, pulled off a quad sailfish release in the closing minutes of Leg One to jump into second place.
Anglers Pat Healey, Carmine Galati, Drew and Eric McDowell, and Thomas Garmany released 34 sails and six marlin to score 6,400 points over three days, getting them off to a fast start as well.
Capt. Luke Hickey put the 68-foot Viking Ohana in third place for Leg One. Anglers Ed Burr, Austin Burr, Denny Doyle, Nick Galati, and Jake Graves won the daily on the third day, and released a total of 33 sailfish and six marlin for 6,300 points. This also marked their first podium finish in the Triple Crown.
Leg Two in February saw a decrease in the number of sailfish releases, leaving most everyone scratching their heads and wondering where the sails had gone. Fortunately, the marlin action remained consistent, and for this three-day slugfest, it was Eight Eights, a 72-foot Viking captained by Sean Gallagher, emerging victorious. They started off hot with a daily on the first day, and finished their run with 18 sailfish and four marlin for anglers Scott and Jill Yates, Zac Yarbrough, Jaclyn Tenuto, Susan McCart, and Ronnie Fields, also winning the daily on Day Three. The team aboard DA Sea was steady over the three days, finishing in second with 2,800 points (18 sails and two marlin), followed by Grand Slam in third place on time with 2,500 points (10 sails and three marlin) over Teuseas and Billfisher, who both also achieved 2,500 points for the leg.
Wetter weather and cooler water temperatures had the sailfish returning to the waters off Los Sueños in time for the third and final leg in mid-March, with 43 teams releasing 681 billfish, including 553 sails and 128 marlin. On Day One alone, the fleet released 262 billfish, including 206 sails and 56 marlin—a foreshadowing of the competition to follow.
Read Next: Get to know Carmine Galati in our exclusive interview.
With Brooks Smith back at the helm, Uno Mas streaked out to an early lead with five sailfish and five marlin releases on the first day of fishing, good for 3,000 points. With 13 sails and three marlin, Team Galati was in the hunt in second, and the team on Mama Seata was third with 2,400 points from 14 sailfish and two marlin. On Day Two, it was Miss AC’s time in the sun, winning the daily with five sails and five marlin. By the time the call for lines out echoed over the VHF on the third and final day, Team Galati had moved into first place with 6,500 points from 25 sailfish and eight marlin, while Uno Mas was second with 5,900 points (14 sails and nine marlin), and Miss AC third with 5,000 points (25 sailfish and five marlin).
For the overall series championship, Team Galati won for the third time since 2014, tallying 15,200 points and a total of 77 sailfish and 15 marlin over the nine days of competitive fishing. This is their 14th podium finish over the course of the Signature Triple Crown, including seven first-place wins, three second-place wins, one third-place win, and their three Series Championship titles. Uno Mas earned 13,400 points over the same period to finish in second place; Maria Smith was not only the top angler for the third leg, but also the top overall angler for the series with 6,000 individual points.