Waterman's Journal

Jan 28, 2022

Blue Marlin Steal the Show During 6th Annual Pelagic Rockstar Offshore Tournament


January 14 – 16, 2022Marina Pez Vela, Quepos Costa Rica – Excitement and anticipation was in the air as 83 of the world’s top sport fishing teams assembled in Quepos, Costa Rica for the 6th annual Pelagic Rock Star Offshore Tournament. Located on the Pacific coast of central Costa Rica, Marina Pez Vela and the surrounding area of Manuel Antonio National Park is known as one of the most biologically diverse places anywhere in the world, and the fishing is second to none.  Open to the public, Marina Pez Vela is a super clean, modern, world-class yacht harbor with a wide variety of restaurants, bars, and shops - including a PELAGIC brand store - which makes it the perfect back drop for the sportfishing history that was about to be made.

Tournament Summary

Check out these incredible tournament stats:

Tournament Payout


Tournament Overview

Competing over two days of fishing, for most Billfish release points, (Blue Marlin & Black Marlin 300 Pts., Striped Marlin 200 Pts., Sailfish 100 Pts.) and heaviest weight for Dorado and Tuna in both Big Boat and Small Boat divisions, angling teams from across the globe gathered for what is now officially known as Central America’s largest and richest sportfishing tournament in history. When day two of registration was complete, a staggering 83 teams were entered to go  head-to-head, against each other and competing for over $1.29 million in total prize money.

Saturday, first day of fishing, brought beautiful weather and perfect conditions for a billfish tournament. The 7:00 AM shotgun start did not disappoint as 83 of the world’s finest sportfishing machines roared off into the mighty Pacific Ocean. It didn’t take long before it was apparent that this competition would be something special. The scorekeeper’s radio was almost immediately filled with Captains calling in billfish releases. That in and of itself was nothing out of the ordinary, but what was extraordinary were the number of Blue Marlin being caught. Over the two-day event, the Blue Marlin bite would be like none other in anyone in the fleet’s memory.

Team Vaquero with Captain Lance Hightower at the helm got off to a quick start, calling in a double header blue marlin release early in the day and continuing to be hot from there with a number of sailfish and marlin release throughout day one. Team Game Plan with Capt. John Brennan was not far behind and Team Cabana with Capt. Eddie Wheeler, Team Outage with Capt. Hans Kraaz, and Team Southern Pride with Capt. Chris Garner all finishing within striking distance of each other after day one.

Meanwhile in the small boat division (Boats under 35 feet in length) The teams on Go Fish2 and Go Fish 3 were in an all-out billfish battle with Team Marina Mighty Mites. After two days in close contact, The MPV sponsored Mighty Mites would ultimately take first place billfish release honors in the division with Go Fish 3 and Go Fish 2 finishing second and third respectfully.

For information on the Inaugural Pelagic Pura Vida Blue Marlin Classic coming this March, and upcoming dates for all events in the Pelagic International Tournament Series, please visit www.PelagicTournaments.com.

Day two would bring much of the same with teams calling in releases consistently and with the marlin bite remaining strong throughout. Team Vaquero started out strong again, but Cabana and Game Plan always had an answer. Top Fly with Angler Kurt Forsberg made a go of it and a late flurry paid off with Top overall Angler honors going to Forsberg. Back and forth they went until the finale hail had sounded with lines out of the water at 4:00 o’clock.

In the end and despite a tremendous effort from Team Cabana and Team Game Plan, it was Capt. Lance Hightower and his Team on Vaquero that took home First Place Billfish Release and the grand champions trophy with a whopping first place plus optional jackpots check worth $634,610.00.

New to the Rock Star this year, is the “Rock Star Grand Champion Perpetual Trophy”. This magnificent trophy provided by Marine Trophies by Torogoz, Will remain in Quepos at the Pelagic Store located at MPV and will boast the name of each year’s “Grand Champion” team for all to see and admire. With this years victory, Team Vaquero becomes the first repeat champion to have their names inscribed twice on the Perpetual Trophy.

In Second overall was Team Cabana, with Capt. Eddie Wheeler from Light House Point Florida with the Second Place Billfish Release Trophy and a check including optional jackpots worth $314,050.00. In Third overall, Team Game Plan and Capt. John Brennan with the Third Place Billfish Release Trophy and $9,940.00.

When it was all said and done after two days of fishing, the 83-boat fleet had set yet another Costa Rican Sportfishing tournament record, releasing a total of 259 Blue Marlin. This number represents the most Blue Marlin ever caught and released in the history of tournament fishing in Cost Rica. All total the entire Pelagic Rock Star, 2022, Offshore tournament released a total of 259 Blue Marlin, 631 Sailfish, 13 Striped Marlin and 1 Black Marlin for a grand total of 904 billfish. In the Gamefish divisions the fleet brought to the scales 31 Tuna and 82 Dorado for a total number of 113 weighed game fish for the participants and winners of those categories.

In the Game Fish Categories, it was Team Carolina Reel Men and Capt. Ronnie Riebe that made the most noise. They rallied with a 43.54 pound Dorado, day one winner and a 75.80 pound tuna winner on day two, combined with their two day totals to take home 1st place tuna trophy, 2nd place Dorado trophy with optional jackpot’s, making a nice check for $136,330.00. 

The remainder of the divisions and winners went like this.

First Place Overall Angler with 2100 points – Kurt Forsberg on Top Fly, Manerick 36

First Place Female Angler with 1900 points – Nikki Nate’s on Outage with Capt. Kraaz Hans

First Place Jr. Angler with 1200 points – Jonah Smith on Southern Pride with Capt. Chris Garner. Jonah made it a point to grab the microphone at the awards ceremony to give a special salute and shout out to our friend Zac Yarbrough and his epic and continuing battle with male breast cancer. Zac has inspired many, including young Jonah who raised his Jr. Angler Trophy in the air and shouted loud and clear, “This is for you Zac, Never give up”!!

Third Place Dorado Trophy to Team Seafix and Capt. John Thomas with a check for $4,970.00

Third place tuna division Trophy plus optional jackpots to Team Fire Fly and Capt. Franklin Jimanez worth a well earned check for $19,770.00

Second Place Tuna Division Trophy plus optional jackpot’s for Team Wine Time and Capt. Juan Gonzalez for a $33,225.00 payday.

First Place Dorado Division Trophy plus jackpot’s to Team Showtime and Capt. Jesus Gonzalez with winnings of $40,505.00.

And last but certainly not least in the payout for Jackpot’s only in the Big Boat Gamefish divisions, Team Los Gatos with Capt. Ramiro Ortiz taking home a very respectable check for $64,200. This team had engine trouble on day one and failed to make it to the scales on time. But they rallied on day two and took home 1st place in three different optional jackpot’s with a 44.42 pound Dorado.

For full scoring details, visit https://pelagic.catchstat.com/For information on the Inaugural Pelagic Pura Vida Blue Marlin Classic coming this March, and upcoming dates for all events in the Pelagic International Tournament Series, please visit www.PelagicTournaments.com.