By all accounts, standards, and points of view, 2014 was a banner year for sport fishing enthusiasts in Costa Rica. The release counts from the country’s various billfish tournaments were staggering, further solidifying the case that Costa Rica offers the world’s best billfishing. Besides the hard-to-believe fish counts, what is perhaps even more impressive is that these major tournaments were held from January to June further proving that you can catch plenty of marlin and sailfish any month of the year. As they say “the stats don’t lie“, so let’s take a look at Costa Rica Fishing Tournaments: 2014 Year in Review.
The famous Los Suenos Resort & Marina always hosts three annual billfish tournaments, but this year they changed the format slightly. Previously there was a Marlin Invitational in December and then the two-leg Los Suenos Signature Billfish Series held between January and March each year. This year they decided to do away with the Marlin Invitational and created a three-leg billfish tournament, aptly named the Los Suenos Signature Triple Crown.
Leg I – Jan 23-25, 2014
The three day total was 2,171 billfish released (2,160 sailfish, 11 marlin), which annihilated the previous record set in January 2013 of 1,412 billfish. That is an average of 17+ billfish per day/per boat for the 42 boats!
Leg II – Feb 27-March 1, 2014
The Leg II totals were down slightly from the records set last month, but still pretty amazing with 1,060 billfish released(1,055 sailfish, 5 marlin. Each of the 39 boats averaged 9+ releases per day.
Leg III – March 12-15, 2014
The third leg of the Los Suenos Triple Crown finished with a three three day total of 1,847 billifish – an average of nearly 16+ billfish per day for the 37 competing boats.
Slightly further south the Marina Pez Vela in Quepos held it’s third annual Quepos Billfish Cup from February 20-23. This is a much smaller and more local tournament than the international tournaments held at Los Suenos, but that doesn’t mean it is lacking for talent. In three days the eleven competing boats released a total of 399 sailfish and two marlin.
In June the Marina Papagayo, the newest and perhaps most luxurious marina in Costa Rica, hosted the Presiential Papagayo Cup from the 5th to the 8th. This was the 4th annual tournament at the new marina, which saw Tranquilo take home the trophy as top boat with 2,000 points, including 5 marlin on the last day!
Last but not least, the biggest international tournament of the year came back to Quepos, Costa Rica for the second year in a row. The Offshore World Championship is an invite-only tournament featuring the top teams from all over the world including teams from five different continents. The 64 teams from around the world released an astonishing 2,739 billfish and landed 79 dorados in the four day tournament. That’s an average of nearly 685 billfish released and 20 dorado caught each day. One thing to keep in mind is that Costa Rica mandates the use of circle hooks for billfish, which many anglers around the world are not used to. According to our captains, if you take the number of billfish actually released you could double or even triple the amount of bites they had and lost!