The 15th annual Offshore World Championship was held in Quepos earlier this month, marking the second year in a row the tournament has been held in Costa Rica. The largest sport fishing tournament of the year showcased 64 teams from 24 different countries around the world, including countries as far away as Angola, Brazil, and Australia. The prestigious tournament is invite only, which means each of the teams participating won a qualifying event in order to be invited to the championship.
The four day tournament was held at the new Marina Pez Vela in Quepos, Costa Rica from April 6-10, 2014. What makes the international championship even more unique is the way it’s run – instead of fishing on your own boat the top public charter boats from all over Costa Rica are used. To even the playing field, each team fishes on a new boat every day of the tournament. Points were awarded as such: 500 points for any marlin, 200 points for any sailfish, and weight points for any game fish (dorado, wahoo, tuna) over 25 pounds. As always, the conservation efforts prevail in Costa Rica as the tournament is strictly catch and release on billfish and only non-offset circle hooks were used.
From the very start the championship got off to a roaring start. The 64 boats steamed out of Marina Pez Vela looking for their hot spot inside the 45-mile fishing boundary, and fortunately it wasn’t too hard to find one. The finally tally on Day 1 was three blue marlin, 773 sailfish, and 27 dorados. As if that wasn’t enough to blow these international anglers away, Costa Rica upped the ante on Day 2 as three more marlin, 18 dorados, and a whopping 827 sailfish were released. The fish stayed hungry through Day 3 as one more marlin, 18 dorados, and another 707 sailfish were released. Day four saw the game fish tire, or maybe it was the anglers and their thumbs, as “only” two marlin, 16 dorados, and 417 sailfish were released.
The winning team, Luanda Sailfish Classic, hails from Angola and finished with 15,263.6 points. In addition to bragging rights and an invite to the 2015 championship they also brought home championship rings, trophies, Shimano Reels, Garmin Elite Virb Cameras, Guy Harvey limited edition prints, AFTCO Championship Apparel, Flor De Cana Premium Rum and a Yeti Cooler. The real winner was once again Costa Rica as they showed the world why it is arguably the top offshore sport fishing destination in the world with an incredible fish count of 9 marlin, 79 dorados over 25 lbs, and 2,735 sailfish in just four days. Keep in mind that’s just the number of fish successfully released, but as many of these anglers aren’t used to fishing with circle hooks and some teams being tarpon fishermen the fish count incredibly could have been even higher!