With 10 releases on final day, Spanish team wins IFGA title

A team makes the safe release of a marlin at the stern of their boat. Danny Matthews/IGFA

CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico With just five marlin released in the first two rounds and a zero on day three, the team representing Spain's Marina Rubicon Marlin Cup 2006 seemed to be mired in the middle of the 62 boat field of the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) Offshore World Championship.

But their luck changed even with a boat called the Bad Market as the team bolted to the top with 10 releases on the fourth and final day to win the eighth annual world class competition in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The amazing day of "being in the bite" equaled the 10-release record set by last year's champions, which was also set on the final day.

Jose Gomez set the pace for the team from Lanzarote, Spain, with six of the marlin releases for 1,800 points. With his teammates Jeronimo Valasquez, Federico Acevedo, Joaquin Bachiller, and Martin Pastor Navas, they produced a total of 4,500 points, one release better than the second-place team.

Copa del Gobernador San Jose del Cabo, which had led the first day with eight marlin releases for 2,400 points, had a turnaround as well after lackluster middle two rounds, with five marlins releases on the final day to finish second.

The team made up of Oscar Daccarett, Modesto Mirando, Daniel Fisher and Jobe Villavencio ended the tournament with 14 marlin for 4,200 points.

In third place was the Caicos (Turks and Caicos) Classic Release Tournament team, with 3,600 points. The team comprised of Bruno Ramos, Erick Soderbon, Frank Mallorca, Nelson Fonseca and Mike Moskowitz beat out Brazil's Cabo Frio Marlin Invitational team which also had 3,600 points but finished fourth based on "last fish caught first" scoring. Both teams had 12 marlin releases.

Despite not catching any marlin in the final round, Portugal's 2nd Int'l Big Game Fishing Championship of Portimao team was fifth, and Rome, Italy's YCSS-IMD Fishing Tournament team finished in sixth place.

Both teams had 10 releases as did Jamaica's 43rd Annual Port Antonio Int'l Marlin Tournament which zeroed in the two middle rounds but released six billfish in the final round.

Finishing eighth was Bermuda Anglers ILTT and ninth was Mexico's Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo Total Tag & Release tournament team. Each had nine releases for 2,700 points.

Finishing 10th was the Blake Bunk Memorial team from South Padre Island, Texas, with eight marlin for 2,400 points. .
"With an amazing 10 fish finale for the winners, this tournament was everything we hoped it would be," said IGFA tournament director Mike Myatt. "The cream rose to the top and we are proud of the new champions."

The Marina Rubicon Marlin Cup 2006 team won engraved watches and trophies. Eighteen other prizes were presented to the three top male and female anglers, top three captains and top three places for the heaviest tuna, wahoo and dorado.
The top male angler honors went to Marcolind Mestre of Portugal's 2nd Int'l Big Game Fishing Championship of Portimao for seven releases for 2,100 points, and Betsy Bullard on the IWFA Annual Billfish Tournament with 600 points was the top female angler.

In the top boat standings for the captains, Manuel Romero on the Bad Market from the Pocoho Charter Fleet scored an amazing 5700 points for the four daily teams he guided.

David Lieras on the Picante from the Picante fleet was second with 3,900 points and Benito Agundez on the Valerie from the Pisces Fleet was third with 3,000.

Each catch-and-release of a marlin (blue, black and striped) or a swordfish equaled 300 points. The catches are scored and released alive at the boat in accordance with the IGFA tournament rules with all anglers using 30-pound Momoi fishing line.

Teams also received "weight" points for tuna, wahoo or dorado caught per pound over 25 pounds. Local charities received the donations of all fish weighed at the Cabo docks.

The prestigious four-day tournament hosted what is believed to be the single largest contingent of international anglers and teams (30 countries represented) in a fishing competition. The United States was represented with 19 teams competing.

There were over 40 teams representing tournaments in the countries and territories of Angola, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, England, Italy, Jamaica, Kenya, Kingdom of Tonga, Mexico, New Zealand, Panama, Portugal, St. Lucia, Senegal, Spain, Sultanate of Oman, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks and Caicos, Vanuatu and Venezuela. Several of the teams had anglers from the countries of Holland, Singapore, the Canary Islands and Ireland.

The IGFA OWC attracted many of the world's best angling teams who won one of 132 IGFA sanctioned qualifying offshore events held in 40 countries across the globe during 2006.

Sponsors and partners for the IGFA Offshore World Championship are Secretaria de Turismo de Baja California Sur, Costa Del Mar, Hotel Finisterra, Momoi, Guy Harvey, Inc., Mold Craft Products, Picante Sport Fishing and Yacht Sales, Cabo Yachts, Outdoor Channel, K D & G Sea Life Masterpieces, Shimano, Hook & Tackle, Murray Products, AFTCO Bluewater, Bodo Muche, IWS Scales, King Sailfish Mounts, Stidd Systems, Corona and Modelo S.A. de C.V. Mexico, Trans Cabo Group, API Dock, Daiichi, Minerva's Baja Tackle, Pisces Fleet Sportfishing and UltraJewels.

Founded in 1939 the IGFA is a not-for-profit organization committed to the conservation of game fish and promotion of responsible, ethical angling practices through science, education, rule making and record keeping. IGFA members are located in over 125 countries and territories. The IGFA welcomes visitors to its 60,000-square-foot interactive Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum in Dania Beach, Florida.

For more information on the total daily scoring of the 62 teams please go to the IGFA web site at www.igfa.org.