The Dragin Fly angling team of Dwight Wolf, Mike Rankey, Tim DonLevy and Pat Renfro took home the third annual Presidential Papagayo Cup, scoring 1,200 points from two blue marlin and six sailfish releases on day three alone, for a total of 3,200 points and the win. They also swept the daily and overall optional jackpots along the way to victory to rack up nearly $25,000 in prize money. After releasing a blue marlin and seven sailfish on day one, the team never let up, remaining in the lead at nearly every turn until the final call for lines out was made at 3 p.m. on day three.
This comes as their third win of the year, following a first place finish in the Los Sueños Signature Series event in January. They also won the title of Top Overall Team in the Los Sueños series. The Dragin Fly is a 42-foot custom Maverick charter vessel captained by James Smith.
The Xta-Sea, with anglers Alexis and Julio Chamorro and Hugo Holmann in the cockpit and Capt. John LaGrone at the helm, released two blue marlin along with a handful of sails on day three for a strong finish at 2,000 points and second place. The Chamorros are among the toughest competitors fishing in Central America and are a very well-respected team in any tournament they choose to enter. The Xta-Sea edged out the Pelese, who also scored 2,000 points but fell just short based on the time of their last release. Marc Stanley, Parker Bankston and Johnny Bankston, along with Capt. Max Morris, marched their way to third by pounding away at the sailfish, eventually tallying 17 releases along with a beautiful black marlin release for Pelese owner Marc Stanley from Day One.
In the Angler Division standings, Dragin Fly’s Mike Rankey took top honors with 1,400 points. He was followed by Julio Chamorro, whose two marlin releases on day three aboard the Xta-Sea helped boost him to second in the angler standings with 1,200 points. Finishing third was Dwight Wolf, the leader from the first two days from the Dragin Fly.
Thanks to their strong finish, the Xta-Sea team also won the Papagayo Cup Perpetual Trophy, and their names will be inscribed upon this perpetual award that’s on permanent display in the ship’s store at Marina Papagayo. The Papagayo Cup is presented each year to the team with the highest point total between the PCCA Costa Rica tournament in March and the Presidential Papagayo Cup event in June. This year, the Xta-Sea team tallied 2,600 points between the two tournaments and was named the winners of this year’s award, one of the most prestigious in Costa Rican sportfishing circles.
In the standings for the new Billfish Tournament Series of Central America series, the Pelese team has moved into the lead with 4,550 points. They were followed by the Tranquilo with 4,100 points and in third the Dragin Fly at 3,250 points. At stake is a beautiful perpetual trophy that will be presented to the top team to display at their home marina for one year. In 2013, the remaining tournaments are the Flor de Cana Invitational in Nicaragua, the El Salvador International and the Presidential Challenge of Guatemala. For more information, visit www.billfishcentralamerica.com.
The staff of the Presidential Challenge would like to thank the Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT ) as the presenting sponsor of this year’s Papagayo Cup, along with our host marina, Marina Papagayo. Costa Sunglasses sponsored the Costa ‘Rica’ Dock Party and Flor de Cana Rum was proudly served throughout the tournament; Flor de Cana is the official rum of the Papagayo Cup Series.
For more information on the Presidential Challenge Conservation Series, visit www.preschallenge.com.