THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE COSTA OFFSHORE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
At the Costa Offshore World Championship, from April 28 – May 3, some of the world’s best anglers gathered for four days of fishing to vie for the most exclusive title in international tournament fishing. In 2019, the atmosphere was particularly competitive, with returning winning teams and teams of all-star anglers striving for the Championship ring on the 20th anniversary of the event. But of the 45 elite teams in the tournament, only one could be crowned 2019 Offshore World Champions, and this year the title went to Team Oregon Tuna Classic (USA).
Headed into the final day of fishing, Team Oregon Tuna Classic had a commanding 1,400-point lead over second-place Team Mauritius International Billfish Release Tournament (Mauritius). But the Oregon Tuna Classic team blanked on day four, opening the door for other teams. Team Mauritius released one blue marlin and two sailfish aboard Three Brothers, captained by Didier Guzman Villaloos, to score 900 points. The solid day for the team still left them one blue marlin release short of winning the championship.
Team 2008 Offshore World Champions (USA) started off the final day in third place with 4,532.2 points. With less than 10 minutes of fishing left in the day, the team had released four Pacific sailfish for 800 points, positioning them in third place behind the Mauritius team. But a double hook up of sailfish in the final minutes allowed them to jump into second place, with angler Brandon Hopper’s fish pushing him to the top angler position of the tournament. After releasing both fish successfully, the team ended the tournament with 5732.2 points, less than 400 points away from first place.
The Championship victory was exciting and even a bit unexpected for anglers Matti Olson, Matt Rowland, Stan Brogdon, Dan Sullivan and Erik Jutila, who mostly fish for albacore tuna in the northwest United States. The anglers openly admitted they didn’t have as much billfishing experience as many other anglers in the tournament. One team member participated in the 2018 Offshore World Championship and knew they needed a good plan. The team pre-fished before the tournament with top Costa Rica crews and worked hard during the tournament. They literally had rods in hands for all 32 hours of fishing.
As 2019 champions, Team Oregon Tuna Classic received coveted OWC champion rings by VanMark Jewelry Designers and the opportunity to apply for the Costa Offshore World Championship for many years to come.
The 2008 Offshore World Champion team followed in second place. Anglers Brandon Hopper, John Domanic, Matt McLean, Ken Longaker, and Robert Collins each received a gold VanMark Jewelry Designers pendant. Team Mauritius International Billfish Release Tournament, composed of Raymond LeCourt, Evgeny Novozheev, Olivier Francois Couacaud, Vidas Morkunas, and Linas Solominas, finished in third place overall and received the VanMark Jewelry Designers pendant. Marina Pez Vela Open (Costa Rica, 5,200 points) and Mississippi Gulf Coast Big Game Spring Tournament (USA, 4,666 points) teams finished fourth and fifth place respectively.
The top angler award was presented to angler Brandon Hopper, of Team 2008 OWC Champions. Hopper released one blue marlin, one striped marlin and eight Pacific sailfish for a total of 2,600 points. Fernando Pessoa (Yacht Club Ilhabela Annual Billfish Tournament, Brazil, 2,500 points), Matti Olson (Oregon Tuna Classic, USA, 2,200 points), Paulo Cecchetti (Torneio de Pesca Royal Charlotte, Brazil, 2,200 points), Vlaho Vidak (IGLAN Big Game Fishing Jezera, Croatia, 2,100 points), and Sam Worden (2011 OWC Champions, USA, 1965.4 points) followed in second through sixth place, respectively.
The world-class boats and crews of Costa Rica led the Costa Offshore World Championship teams to success all week. Captain Jose Fabio Hernadez and his crew on Frenzy earned the top prize in their category for assisting with the release of 26 sailfish, and two dorado weighing 31.6 and 26 pounds, for 5257.6 points in three days. Only the top three days are scored for fishing captains and crews, because not all charter boats fish all four days. Five of the top nine charter boats were Maverick sportfish yachts, including Frenzy, Dragin Fly, Top Fly, Super Fly and Spanish Fly.
Throughout the tournament, 216 anglers from 24 countries released and video-verified 608 sailfish, 25 blue marlin, two striped marlin and one black marlin for a total of 636 billfish overall. The top seven fishing teams scored more points than the 2018 Offshore World Champions. This year’s billfish numbers are a boost compared to last year’s total of 352 billfish released.
Twenty dorado over the 25-pound minimum were brought to the scales during the week. The top four dorado all weighed more than 40 pounds. The heaviest dorado weighed 52.8 pounds, caught by angler Alexandre Guedes Neto, of Torneio de Pesca Royal Charlotte.
The tournament ended May 3 with food, drinks and live entertainment at an awards gala at Marina Pez Vela. Winners were presented with King Sailfish trophies, VanMark Jewelry Designers pieces and prizes from industry-leading companies and sponsors.
The Offshore World Championship is the world’s premier saltwater fishing championship and has been held in Costa Rica since 2013. In 2019, the Offshore World Championship celebrates its 20th anniversary.
For more information, visit offshoreworldchampionship.com. From the Offshore World Championship homepage, navigate to our CatchStat scorekeeper site to view complete results. Also, check out Offshore World Championship social media on Facebook and Instagram for regular updates.
1st Place: Oregon Tuna Classic (USA), 6,100 points
2nd Place: 2008 Offshore World Champions (USA), 5,732.2 points
3rd Place: Mauritius International Billfish Release Tournament (Mauritius), 5,600 points
4th Place: Marina Pez Vela Open (Costa Rica), 5,200 points
5th Place: Mississippi Gulf Coast Big Game Spring Tournament (USA), Spain, 4,666 points
Teams received prizes from Costa Offshore World Championship sponsors VanMark Jewelry, Costa Sunglasses, Lucas Oil, Soundview Millworks, Guy Harvey, AFTCO, YETI, Garmin Marine, Fish Shimano, Flor de Caña, Big T Lures, and Heineken.
1. Brandon Hopper, 2008 OWC Champions (USA), 2,600 points
2. Fernando Pessoa, Yacht Club Ilhabela Annual Billfish Tournament (Brazil), 2,500 points
3. Matti Olson, Oregon Tuna Classic (USA), 2,200 points
4. Paulo Cecchetti, Torneio de Pesca Royal Charlotte (Brazil), 2,200 points
5. Vlaho Vidak, IGLAN Big Game Fishing Jezera (Croatia), 2,100 points
6. Sam Worden, 2011 Offshore World Champions (USA), 1,965.4 points
Anglers received prizes from Costa Offshore World Championship sponsors King Sailfish Mounts, Soundview Millworks, Costa Sunglasses, YETI, Guy Harvey, AFTCO, Flor de Caña, and Big T Lures.
Top Boat / Captain
1. Captain Jose Fabio Hernadez, Mates Marcos Solano and Jason Falas, Frenzy, 5257.6 points
2. Captain James Smith, Mate Alberto Dorling, Dragin Fly, 5,100 points
3. Captain Mardonio Obando, Mate Ananias Marin Reyes, Raven, 4,700 points
3. Captain Cristian Calvo, Mate Randy Smith, Amy’s Dream, 4,700 points
Captains received prizes from Costa Offshore World Championship sponsors King Sailfish Mounts, YETI, Guy Harvey, Costa Sunglasses, Lucas Oil, AFTCO, Flor de Caña, Big T Lures, Heineken and Soundview Millworks.
1. Alexandre Guedes Neto, Torneio de Pesca Royal Charlotte (Brazil), 52.8 pounds
2. Steven (Rocky) Franich, International Roosterfish Tournament (Mexico), 49.8 pounds
3. Olivier Nouy, Antigua & Barbuda Sportfish Tournament (Antigua & Barbuda), 42.6 pounds
Anglers received prizes from Costa Offshore World Championship sponsors Guy Harvey, Garmin, King Sailfish Mounts, Soundview Millworks, AFTCO, YETI, Costa Sunglasses, Big T Lures and Flor de Caña.