The all-ladies team fishing with Capt. Nicho Melendrez on Finest Kind fought their way to the top of the leaderboard in the No Sancocho Sailfish Shootout, Guatemala’s premier charity event. Anglers are rewarded for converting their bites to successful releases and are penalized for misses—the dreaded sancocho.
Led by Jane Thomas, who released an estimated 400-pound blue marlin on 30-pound-test for an additional bonus, the Finest Kind team moved ahead of the second-place boat by just 30 points in the closing minutes of the event. Thomas and the team also qualify for the 2023 Offshore World Championship, which will be held this spring in Quepos, Costa Rica.
In second was the team representing the International Women’s Fishing Association, fishing on Makaira with Capt. Jefry Garcia. Team Contender finished in third place this year aboard The Hooker with Capt. David Salazar based on the time of their last release. Angler Billy Flynn was the top sancocho angler with just five in three days, proof of the high skill levels of this year’s anglers. Jen McQuilkin was the top lady angler with 12 sailfish and a striped marlin, fishing for Team Cummins. With a total of 60 sailfish and five marlin sancochos plus matching donations, the tournament raised $3,450 for the local school to purchase student and teacher desks, chalkboards, and other key items.
“This tournament has a pure, simple feel to it,” says Casa Vieja Lodge owner Capt. David Salazar. “It’s a downright good time where everyone relaxes and gets back to the basics, and that’s how tournaments used to be. It emphasizes the fun and camaraderie while also raising money for a very worthwhile charity.”