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With calm seas, a world-class fleet and fast fishing for the 30 anglers participating in the 2023 Masters Angling Tournament, Costa Rica’s Los Sueños Resort once again proved to be an incomparable host. With five freshman anglers competing this year, the stage was set.
This event abides by nearly the same rules that John Rybovich and his dock partners first penned in 1963: Two anglers fish two rods each and never fish with the same partner twice, rotating boats each day of the event. Upon hookup, captains can offer one bump in reverse and are permitted to only spin the cockpit toward the fish at the angler’s direction—anglers fight from a dead boat while a stopwatch ticks away the seconds.
Scores are based on 30-second fractions; a fish released in under 30 seconds scores 100 points, and an overtime fish (more than 10 minutes) earns just five points. The addition of marlin as an eligible catch earns the angler the same score as sailfish if he fights with boat assistance (backing down), and doubles the score if they fight the marlin from a dead boat.
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Finishing the tournament with 12 releases and 815 points, the 2023 Master Angler John Rybovich Award was presented to Viking Yachts president and CEO Pat Healey, who also scored the most fish on time. This was his third win, having finished in first place in this tournament back-to-back in 2011 and 2012. Healey was presented with the traditional custom-designed bronze sculpture of Ernest Hemingway’s iconic character, Santiago, which epitomizes Rybovich’s vision for the Masters and the true heart of the fight, now more than 60 years in the making. Chris Lazzara was the second-place angler with 790 points, while Karen Comstock finished in third place with 730 points, a Masters first for a lady angler. Mike Ivancevic was the top freshman angler with 535 points.