PCCA Guatemala Winners 2014
Puerto San Jose, Guatemala: For nearly 20 years the Presidential Challenge Conservation Series has wrapped up its season-long competition in the fish-rich waters off Guatemala, offering anglers an opportunity to experience some truly spectacular light-tackle billfishing. However, the 2014 rendition of the tournament went above and beyond those expectations, delivering angling excitement in spades for the fleet of 12 participating teams.
By the time the salt spray had cleared, a tournament-record 849 billfish had been released (845 sailfish and four blue marlin). The previous record of 676, set in 2010, was shattered. The average was almost 71 billfish releases per team for the tournament, or 23.6 per day. Simply incredible numbers. Most of the action occurred close to shore too.
Team Picaflor, hailing from Texas and Panama, led the tournament wire to wire from Day One through Day Three, fishing with Capt. Brad Phillips aboard the Decisive. John Richardson, Monte Richardson and Travis Russell finished the event with 10,400 points and were the top boat from each day of competition. Chasing them for second place was a Guatemalan team representing their national sportfishing association. Juan Manuel Cobar, Alvaro de la Hoz, Fernando Merck and Juan Pira were on the Piragua for the tournament, where they scored 9,200 points. Team USA, fishing on the Capt. Hook, landed in third place with 8,500 points. Bill Evans and J Godwin remained steady throughout the event as always. In the Top Angler standings, Juan Cobar on the Piragua was first with 3,800 points. He was followed by Travis Russell with 3,600 points and Monte Richardson with 3,400 points, both representing Team Picaflor on the Decisive.
The tournament also wrapped up the annual competition for the Costa Grand Champion Team and Eagle Claw Grand Champion Angler for the Presidential Challenge Series. Teams and anglers must fish in a minimum of two PCCA events per season to be eligible for these awards. For the second year in a row, the Tranquilo was the Costa Grand Champion Team. The husband and wife team of Ken and Amanda Cofer tallied 9,950 points fishing PCCA events this year, and will have their team name engraved on the beautiful perpetual trophy that resides in the IGFA Hall of Fame in Dania, FL. In second was the Dragin Fly team with 9,800 points, followed by Team USA in third with 9,800 points.
In the Eagle Claw Grand Champion Angler standings, J Godwin from Team USA emerged victorious. Godwin scored 3,200 points for the season. He was followed by Nasry Arguedas from the Monique in second place with 3,100 points and Tranquilo’s Ken Cofer in third with 3,000 points. The standings were incredibly close all year.
Congratulations to everyone who fished the Presidential Challenge Conservation Series this season. As with all PCCA events, the proceeds were donated to support billfish research and conservation through The Billfish Foundation and other resources to ensure a strong fishery for future generations to enjoy.