Quepos Tournament Reels in Four Winners

April 2, 2004

FIRST place resulted in a fourway tie at the Second Annual Costa Rica Classic International Billfish Tournament out of Quepos from March 19 to March 21. The tie-breaker? The team that boated its last fish the earliest on the final day of the competition.

The special honors went to Florida fishermen Dominick Pagano, Bill Olsen and Steve Blount, with skipper Ezequiel Amaya on a boat out of Aguila de Osa.

The winning team scored 1,300 points with two marlin at 500 points each and three sailfish at 100 points each, according to Tico Travel president Rob Hodel, who helped organize the event.

The runner-up teams are: From Florida, Denny Derringer and Bobby Oden with eight sails and one marlin on the Bob Cat; from Lincoln, Neb., Tom Hansen, Tim Thunn, Larry Smith and Rob Wilsey with eight sails and one marlin; from Florida, Stephanie Lee, Joe Zeno, Mike O’Connor, Mike Amelunk and Fred Hamilton with 13 sailfish.

QUESTION of the week: How did a team from Nebraska enter a billfish tournament? I spent many summers in Beemer, Neb. and all we caught on cane poles were catfish on the ElkHornRiver.

The Quepos-based tournament was sponsored by the Boomer Esiason Foundation (BEF) to heighten awareness, education and funding efforts of cystic fibrosis research. Participants included National Football League players and college football stars Dave Rimington and Mark Cooper.

Public Relations Coordinator Pete Johnson, from Johnson Communications Inc., said he fished the Gandy Dancer with Rimington the week prior to the competition and released 12 sails in the same area.

TICO Times reader Joe Riley fished the Gamefisher, with skipper Bill Gannon out of Playa Carrillo and said he had eight releases for 10 sails up, nailed a blue marlin and on the last bite of the day had an estimated 230-pound yellowfin tuna almost within reach of the gaff when the leader parted.

The next major fishing tournament in Costa Rica is the Michigan Boys annual event out of Playa Flamingo April 29 through May 2. Wetass II skipper Sonny Kocsis is coordinating the long-running private event which has 160 participants scheduled, all from Michigan.

“El Gato Negro” struck again last week! I went to Barra Colorado for two days of fishing with retired U.S. Army Col. Dick Nidever, an old friend from our high school days who is staying with us for a few weeks. I wish I could have shown him some action. In two days on the water out of the Rio Colorado Lodge we caught one jack crevalle, but didn’t see a tarpon or snook. The bite reportedly turned back on once I left and reports from there say there are two to four tarpon daily per boat, fishing the same area.

WE stopped briefly at Casamar Lodge coming back from Banana Lagoon and were surprised to see the improvements made under the new ownership after the death of lodge founder Billy Barnes. The restaurant, lounge, bar and docks have been completely remodeled and they have added a few new boats, more than 20 feet.

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