With 83 teams participating this year, the sixth anniversary of the Pelagic Rockstar Offshore Tournament was sure to be a good one. Held out of Marina Pez Vela in Quepos, Costa Rica, the event has become a favorite for its participants, who are assured of not just great fishing, but a fun, partylike atmosphere throughout the tournament as well. It’s also the largest event of its kind in Central America, with a cash prize purse of $1.29 million.
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After a 7:00 a.m. shotgun start, the VHF was soon alive with reports of billfish—more specifically, blue marlin. The bite was in full swing, the best in recent memory. Vaquero’s Capt. Lance Hightower got his team off to a quick start, with Game Plan, Cabana, Outage and Southern Pride all within striking distance of one another after the first day.
On Day Two, the Vaquero team started out strong again, but Cabana and Game Plan always had an answer as they battled back and forth throughout the day. Top Fly’s Kurt Forsberg made a go of it, and a late flurry paid off with top overall angler honors. By the 4 p.m. call for lines out, despite a tremendous effort from Cabana and Game Plan, it was Hightower and the Vaquero team who took home first place and a check for $634,610.
New to the Rockstar this year is the grand champion’s perpetual trophy, which is on display at the Pelagic retail location in Marina Pez Vela throughout the year, inscribed with each year’s tournament champion. Vaquero becomes the first repeat champion to have their names inscribed twice on the trophy.
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Ohana finished in second place to win $314,050, and Capt. John Brennan put the Game Plan team in third to take home $9,940. In the two days of tournament competition, the 83 participating boats had released an incredible 259 blue marlin, 631 sailfish, 13 striped marlin and one black marlin, for a total of 904 billfish. Outage’s Nikki Nates was the top lady angler with 1,900 points, and Southern Pride’s Jonah Smith was the top junior angler with 1,200 points. Capt. Ronnie Riebe and Carolina Reel Men received $136,330 for a 43.54-pound dorado on Day One and a 75.8-pound yellowfin tuna on Day Two to win the gamefish division.