Tranquilo Wins Flor de Caña International Tournament in Nicaragua

Amanda Cofer is the tournament’s top angler

Puesta del Sol, Nicaragua hosted the 15th annual Flor de Caña international Tournament, and the expectations were off the chart for another great season of fishing. The event hosted 25 boats in two categories: Centenario for the larger yachts and Gran Reserva for the smaller craft. The tournament was scheduled for mid-August, during the height of the Nicaraguan billfish season from May to October.

With 147 sailfish released in the first hour of fishing, the organizers knew it would be a special event. By the end of fishing three days later, the fleet had released a whopping 1,371 billfish, including five blue marlin. During the tournament, there were 170 doubles, 83 triples, 18 quadruples, three quintuplets (Tranquilo, Fish Tank and Rum Runner) and one sextuple on Rum Runner. While I was taking pictures, I counted 11 boats in reverse with multiples fish on and, at the same time, sailfish eating sardines on the surface.

The Tranquilo team won first place, with Amanda Cofer being honored as the tournament's top angler with 35 sailfish. The team released 127 sails in three days. Fish Tank was second with 123 sailfish and Sea Angel third with 113 sails released. In the Gran Reserva category, Showtime and Hugo Holmann were first with 54 releases and La Carreta was second with 42. The event used certified observers and on the last day, IGFA president Rob Kramer joined the tournament and the closing ceremony. The numbers clearly confirmed Nicaragua as one of the new hot spots for billfishing in the Pacific Ocean.

2016 Flor de Caña International Tournament Tranquilo first place team
Tranquilo won first place with an incredible performance.Courtesy Antonio Varcasia
2016 Flor de Caña International Tournament Fish Tank second place team
Fish Tank placed second in this year's event.Courtesy Antonio Varcasia
2016 Flor de Caña International Tournament Sea Angel third place team Greg Angel
The always-dangerous Sea Angel placed third.Courtesy Antonio Varcasia
2016 Flor de Caña International Tournament Amanda Cofer top angler Tranquilo
Amanda Cofer from Tranquilo was the tournament's top angler.Courtesy Antonio Varcasia
2016 Flor de Caña International Tournament La Carreta
Hugo Holmann's Showtime won the tournament's Gran Reserva class for smaller boats.Courtesy Antonio Varcasia
2016 Flor de Caña International Tournament Hugo Holmann Showtime
La Carreta took home second place in the Gran Reserva class.Courtesy Antonio Varcasia
2016 Flor de Caña International Tournament trophies
The event's beautiful trophies on display at registration.Courtesy Antonio Varcasia
2016 Flor de Caña International Tournament Flor de Cana girls
The lovely ladies from Flor de Caña rum were on hand throughout the tournament.Courtesy Antonio Varcasia
2016 Flor de Caña International Tournament organizers
The event's organizers and representatives from Flor de Caña rum, the title sponsor.Courtesy Antonio Varcasia
2016 Flor de Caña International Tournament San Cristobal
The sun rises over the majestic San Cristobal volcano that overlooks Puesta del Sol.Courtesy Antonio Varcasia
2016 Flor de Caña International Tournament Puesta del Sol marina
Puesta del Sol is a lovely tournament host, with a small marina, restaurant and townhomes on site.Courtesy Antonio Varcasia
2016 Flor de Caña International Tournament Pelese
Pelese charges offshore.Courtesy Antonio Varcasia
2016 Flor de Caña International Tournament ballyhoo
How many ballyhoo have these hands handled in a lifetime?Courtesy Antonio Varcasia
2016 Flor de Caña International Tournament sailfish jumping
A Pacific sailfish goes airborne in a dance that gets every angler's heart racing.Courtesy Antonio Varcasia
2016 Flor de Caña International Tournament sailfish release
This jump was a little too close for comfort!Courtesy Antonio Varcasia
2016 Flor de Caña International Tournament stay cool
When the fishing's this hot you have to find a way to stay cool.Courtesy Antonio Varcasia
2016 Flor de Caña International Tournament Amanda Cofer fishing
Amanda Cofer gets ready for a bite.Courtesy Antonio Varcasia
2016 Flor de Caña International Tournament No Agenda
No Agenda maneuvers on a triple.Courtesy Antonio Varcasia
2016 Flor de Caña International Tournament sailfish jumping
There were over 1,300 sailfish like this one released in three days of fishing.Courtesy Antonio Varcasia
2016 Flor de Caña International Tournament Amanda Cofer
Amanda Cofer puts the brakes on a greyhounding sail.Courtesy Antonio Varcasia
2016 Flor de Caña International Tournament Puesta del Sol at night
Peace and quiet returns to the marina at the conclusion of the tournament.Courtesy Antonio Varcasia