THE BillfishFoundation PresidentialChallenge ofCosta Rica waswon by teamLonesome Gull,with anglers LisaArmstrong, ClintEverett and IkeBlakemore logging28 sailfish releasesearly last week outof Playa Carrillo,on the northern Pacific coast.Three fishermen tied for “most billfishreleases,” each with 11 sails during thethree-day competition. Blakemore wasnamed top rod in the competition becausehe hit the 11 total first.The event raised $4,000 for the CostaRica Conservation Fund, $1,000 for thenewly formed conservation association inCosta Rica and $500 for the Epic Project.See more on the project and tournamentresults at www.preschallenge.com.Congratulations to Costa Rican anglerBeto Machudo, who caught a 14.4-kilogram(32-pound) Pacific black snook(Centropomus nigrescens) in a one-hourand-15-minute battle while casting aRapala from shore at the mouth of the RíoBongo, on the northern Pacific coast (seephoto). It hasbeen submittedto the InternationalGameFishAssociation asa world recordfor six-poundtest line.Costa Ricaalready hasthree all-tacklerecords forPacific blackfin(C. medius),Pacific black(C. nigrescens)and the common (C. undecimalis) snook,the latter taken on the Caribbean coast,weighing in at 57 pounds, 12 ounces.No late reports on fishing as this iswritten last Sunday while getting ready tofly into Barra Colorado, on the northernCaribbean coast, early Monday to joinMinnesota outdoor writers Dan Gapin and“Bobber Annie” Orth, here for their annualvisit with a group of fishermen fromMinnesota, to go for grouper and bigcubera snapper.These goliaths run 100-300 pounds ormore, and make an appearance aroundthis time every year. It is theorized theymove into the Río Colorado River in May,then move up the Colorado and San Juanto spawn in Lake Nicaragua, and theyhaven’t missed for the past few years.I asked fisheries biologist Bill Bussingfrom the University of Costa Rica to joinus, but he is tied up in staff meetings. Billsaid he is not aware of the phenomenon,but allows it may be a spawning run.Grouper or not, prospects are good forsome tarpon action. Dan Wise, who hoststhe annual foray at the Río ColoradoLodge, reported that a lone flyfishermanflew into the lodge on Sunday and hadthree tarpon in the air before lunch.Fishing has been good in the regionfor the past week or more, he added,despite off-and-on rains some mornings.Wise also reported a public-relationsnightmare last week when the CoastGuard stopped two boats fishing out ofnearby Casamar Lodge at the Barra, andheld the anglers in custody for more thantwo hours because they weren’t satisfiedthe boats’ papers were in order.That was the good news.Bad news was that the fishermen theycaptured were camera crews and anglersdown here to film a television show.For more info on fishing or assistancein planning a trip to Costa Rica, contactJerry at email@example.com visit www.costaricaoutdoors.com.Skippers, operators and anglers areinvited to contact Jerry with fishingreports by Sunday of each week. Call orfax 282-6743 within Costa Rica or writeto the e-mail address above.