Waterman's Journal

Jan 25, 2024



Quepos, Costa Rica: The 8th Annual Pelagic Rockstar Offshore Tournament delivers with a record setting purse and world class fishing once again! With 91 teams and 483 anglers catching and releasing 1,098 billfish, 58 Dorado and 16 Tuna for over $1.4 million in prize money, the Pelagic Rockstar continues to be the largest and richest fishing competition in all Central America.

In the closest contended finish in the tournaments 8th Annual edition, Team Fish Tank/Galati separates from pack on day 2 to become the first back to back Grand Champions in Rockstar Tournament History. A second plaque on the Costa Rica Rockstar Perpetual Trophy and a check for $303,940, was the teams take from a record $1.4 million purse, shared amongst 19 different winners.

Tournament Stats:

  • 91 Teams
  • 483 anglers representing 14 different countries
  • $1,401,200 in total prize money
  • 1,098 total billfish released
  • 1,081 sailfish, 14 blue marlin, 2 black marlin, 1striped marlin
  • 12 billfish releases per team average
  • 22 different winners received checks and/or trophies

    Top Team Stats:

    Sonar Billfish:

    • 1st Place Grand Champion Billfish: Team Fish Tank/Galati with 40 sailfish for 4000 Pts and $321,610.00, Champions Trophy and team name on perpetual trophy
    • 2nd Place Billfish: Team Uno Mas with 28 sailfish, 1 blue marlin for 3100 Pts and $31,850.00, 2nd place trophy
    • 3rd Place billfish: Team Mama Seata with 24 sailfish, 2 blue marlin for 3000 Pts and $12,740.00, 3rd place trophy

    Non-Sonar Billfish:

    • 1st Place Non-Sonar Division: Team Sea Fly with 21 sailfish,1 blue marlin for 2400 Pts and $96,000.00, 1st place trophy
    • 2nd Place Non-Sonar Division: Team Mainline with 20 sailfish for 2000 Pts and 2nd place trophy
    • 3rd Place Non-Sonar Division: Team Kelly Dawn with 14 sailfish, 1 blue marlin for 1700 Pts and $116,400.00, 3rd place trophy

    Game Fish Winners:

    • 1st Place Tuna: Team La Otra Vida 133.80 Lbs one fish total for $76,805.00, 1st place trophy
    • 2nd Place Tuna: Team Pura Vida Pirates 2 fish aggregate 65.6 Lbs and 33.6 Lbs totaling 99,20 Lbs and $35,125.00, 2nd place trophy
    • 3rd Place Tuna: Team Wine Time 2 fish aggregate 64.5 Lbs and 19.9 Lbs totaling 84.4 Lbs and 3rd place trophy
    • 1st Place Dorado: Team Salty Canucks/Good Day 2 fish aggregate 26.1 Lbs and 20.3 Lbs totaling 46.4 Lbs and $41,405.00, 1st place trophy
    • 2nd Place Dorado: Team Tenacious 2 fish aggregate 21.6 Lbs and 21.3 Lbs totaling 42.9 Lbs and $15,925.00, 2nd place trophy
    • 3rd Place Dorado: Team Munequita 2 day aggregate 23.1 Lbs and 18.3 Lbs totaling 41.4 Lbs and $6,370.00

      Top Angler Stats:

      • Top Overall Champion Angler:  Jonah Smith, Team Southern Pride with Capt. Chris Garner, 17 sailfish, 1 blue marlin, 1 black marlin released for 2300 Pts. First Jr. Angler in tournament history to win Top Overall Angler
      • Top Female Angler:  Kristina Warshauer, Team Vaquero with Capt. Lance Hightower, 15 sailfish released for 1500 Pts
      • Top Jr. Angler:  Carson Moser, Team A-Team with Capt. Robert Smith, 12 sailfish released for 1200 Pts and a 31.7 Lb Dorado


      Jackpot Only Winners Of Note:

      • Team Game Plan swept the Day 1 Sonar $1k - $10k Billfish Release Daily Jackpots for a check totaling $238,800.00
      • Team Dragin Fly/Maverick 42 won the Day 1, $1k, $3k and $5k Marlin Only Daily Jackpots for a check totaling $104,400.00
      • Team Cabana won the Day 2, $1k, $3k and $5k Marlin Only Daily Jackpots for a check totaling $104,400.00
      • Team Miss Judy with a Day 1, Marlin Only $3k Daily jackpot for a check totaling $20,400.00
      • Team A-Team won the Day 1, $500, $1k and $2k Daily Dorado Jackpots for a check worth $78,200.00
      • Team Anticipation 2024 won the Day 2, $500, $1k and $2k Daily Dorado Jackpots for a check worth $78,200.00


      Tournament Team Payout: 

      Fish Tank/Galati $321,610
      Game Plan $238,800
      Kelly Dawn $116,400
      Dragin Fly/Maverick 45 $104,400
      Cabana $104,400
      Sea Fly/Maverick $96,999
      A-Team/Garlington 61 $78,200
      Anticipation 2024 $78,200
      La Otra Vida $76,805
      Salty Canucks/Good Day $41,405
      Pura Vida Pirates $35125
      Uno Mas $31,850
      Miss Judy $20,400
      Tenacious $15,925
      Munequita $15,970
      Mama Seata $12,740
      Mile High Gang $6,600
      Wine Time $6,370


      TOTAL PAYOUT: $1,401,200

      *Note: Billfish Optional daily jackpots were divided into two categories, Sonar equipped and non-Sonar equipped vessels

      January 11-15, 2024 – Marina Pez Vela, Quepos, Costa Rica –

      Perfect weather and world-class fishing set the tone for 91 teams and 483 anglers, representing 14 different nations from around the globe, for the 8th annual Pelagic Rockstar Offshore Tournament. A record purse totaling over $1.4 million, the largest in Central American tournament fishing history two years running, was up for grabs as teams gathered at the world-renowned Marina Pez Vela, located in the magnificent Pacific Coast town of Quepos, Costa Rica.

      Live rock-n-roll, Flor de Cana Rum, and delicious bites from F.A.D.S Food and Double Hook Sports Bar greeted this year’s participants for the kickoff party and team registration.  As a special surprise this year, each team received a personally signed Steve Goione, limited edition print, especially created for the 2024 event. Steve also created a one-of-a-kind original piece for our silent auction, with proceeds going to Jr. Achievements Costa Rica and their Aqua Inspiration Program.

      Known as the classiest fleet in sportfishing, this year saw many familiar faces and quite a few new ones, ready to claim their piece of sportfishing history. A flawless shotgun start got things going on day one and the teams were off and running to the fishing grounds for the 8:30 am “lines in the water” call.

      This year’s competition would prove to be the most closely contested in the event’s eight-year history. An aggressive sailfish bite took center stage as release calls started to flood the radio control room. As the day wore on, it was apparent nobody would be running away with an easy victory. By the end of Day 1, only 300 points separated the top eight teams. With the teams headed for the weigh scales and video review, in the billfish overall, it was Game Plan in 1st with 1,600 pts, Anticipation in 2nd with 1,600 pts, and Fish Tank/Galati in 3rd with 1,500 pts.

      At the scales, the crowd went wild for some Pelagic giveaways and beautiful signed 8 x 10 prints provided by Steve Goione. Teams could weigh two fish per species per day, consisting of dorado and tuna, with only the largest single fish from each team counting for the daily jackpots. The aggregate weight of a team’s two largest fish from Day 1 and Day 2 determines the top three gamefish trophies in each division.

      Highlights from day 1 included a 31.7-lb. dorado for the A-Team and angler Carson Moser, that took three of the Day 1 Dorado jackpots worth $78,200. Team Salty Canucks on local charter boat Good Day weighed a 26.1-lb. dorado that would make all the difference for them on Day 2, when they paired a second dorado weighing 20.3 lbs. for an aggregate weight of 46.4 lbs., good for 1st place overall in the Dorado Division and a check for $41,405. Team Tenacious would hold on for 2nd overall dorado with a combined weight of 42.9 lbs. worth $15,925. Finishing in 3rd was Team Munequita with an aggregate weight of 41.4 lbs., good for $6,370.

      Day 1 Tuna winners were Team Pura Vida Pirates at 65.6 lbs. and when paired with a second tuna on Day 2 weighing 33.6 lbs., it was good for 2nd place overall worth a total of $35,125. Team Wine Time weighed a 64.5-lb. tuna and combined with their Day 2 fish of 19.9 lbs., secured 3rd place overall in the tuna division and $6,370. Teams Munequita and Team Mile High Gang would both score daily jackpots for their tuna, worth $9,600 and $6,600.

      Day 2 at the scales saw Team La Otra Vida sweep the daily jackpots and win the tuna division outright with a beast of a fish tipping the scales at 133.8 lbs. This fish was worth $76,805 and was the biggest fish weighed of the entire tournament. Team Anticipation while contending at the top of the billfish division on Day 1, weighed a 32.2-lb. dorado on Day 2 to take home daily jackpots worth $78,200. A nice consolation prize after falling back in the billfish standings after Day 2.

      Day 2 brought more fantastic weather and red-hot fishing. The top 15 billfish teams were packed tight at the top of the leaderboard, and all were poised to make a move to claim the title of Grand Champion and see their teams name affixed to the beautiful Pelagic Rockstar perpetual trophy from Marine Trophies by Torogoz. As the tournament wound down, Team Mama Seata and Capt. Ronnie Fields ended up in 3rd place overall, with 24 sailfish and two blue marlin released for 3,000 pts. In 2nd place, Team Uno Mas, with Capt. Brooks Smith, came all the way from 11th place on Day 1 to secure a spot in the top three with 28 sailfish and 1 blue marlin for 3,100 points. But the big story was Capt. Ben Horning and Team Fish Tank/Galati, with a 25 sailfish performance on Day 2, added to the 15 they released on Day 1 for a total of 4,000 pts. Team Fish Tank/Galati become the tournaments 1st back-to-back Grand Champions, securing their place as one of the best billfish teams in the world.

      Special Mentions and Highlights:

      • Our Top Overall Angler this year went to a remarkable young man named Jonah Smith. Fishing on Team Southern Pride with Capt. Chris Garner, at just 12 years old, Jonah became the youngest angler to earn Top Overall Angler honors in tournament history. Jonah has been fishing almost from the day he was born and is a two-time, defending Top Jr. Angler in this event. His grandmother Joni Smith is a past Top Overall Female Angler and in 2021 earned Top Overall Angler status, when she became the tournament’s first ever woman to be crowned Champion Angler. Jonah ended up catching and releasing 17 sailfish, 1 blue marlin, and 1 black marlin for 2,300 pts. He baited, hooked, and caught most every fish himself and cemented his place in Rockstar history with an epic pitch, hook, and catch of his first ever black marlin on Day 2. In addition to being a great angler, Jonah plays short stop, second base, and pitcher on his travel league baseball team and recently earned straight A’s and honor roll status in school. You will not meet a more polite and solid young man and we are proud of Jonah and all his accomplishments. Congratulations Jonah and thank you for your leadership, kindness, and humbleness as your family continues to make sportfishing history.
      • In our non-Sonar division this year, we added trophies in addition to the jackpot checks, to honor our top three teams in the division. In 3rd place non-Sonar was Team Kelly Dawn with Capt. Will Ochse with 14 sailfish and 1 blue marlin for 1,700 pts and a check for $116,400 worth of Day 2 Jackpots in both the overall billfish and marlin only optional jackpots. In 2nd place non-Sonar was team Mainline and Capt. Adolpho Degaldo, with 20 sailfish released for 2,000 pts. Winning the non-Sonar division this year was Team Sea Fly/Maverick and Capt. Carlos Espinoza, with 21 sailfish and 1 blue marlin for 2,400 pts. With optional Jackpots, they took home a first-place trophy and a check for $96,000. Congratulations to all our non-Sonar teams. We have some upgrades and surprises for you in 2025.
      • Our Top Female Angler was Kristina Warshauer from Team Vaquero with Capt. Lance Hightower. Kristina is a regular on the tournament circuit and Vaquero is a multiple tournament winning team. Kristina did herself and her team proud by releasing 15 sailfish for 1,500 pts. When we called her to give her the official news, she said it was one of the best phone calls of her life. Congratulations Kristina and keep up the great work.
      • Angler honors this year go to Carson Moser from Team A-Team with Capt. Robert Smith. Carson’s 12 sailfish for 1,200 pts, secured his victory. Carson also added a 31.7-lb. dorado to his tally, which earned his team Day 1 dorado jackpots worth $78,200. Way to go Carson!
      • This year we had the great honor of hosting renowned marine and fish artist Steve Goione as our official tournament artist. Steve brought a lot to the table and was a big part of our success this year. All 91 teams met Steve and were able to request a personal inscription on a special print Steve produced commemorating the 2024 Rockstar. In addition, Steve created an original piece of artwork that we auctioned off during the week, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Aqua Inspiration program in Quepos. Thank you, Steve, for everything you have done for us and the sportfishing industry.
      • We were proud to support Jr. Achievements Costa Rica and their Aqua Inspiration Program with a silent auction and fundraiser this year. Founded by the International Game Fish Tournament Observers organization, this program introduces local students to all career opportunities in the marine industry in and around Quepos. The program is designed to expose students to all the possibilities that exist in and around the coastal communities of Costa Rica. Through education and experiences, this program fosters a unique understanding of preservation and conservation, related to environmental issues. We were proud to host program director Maria Jimenez and her family for the weekend and we look forward to continued support of this fantastic charity and program. We know full well how important sportfishing is to Costa Rica’s economy and we encourage these young men and women to reach for the stars with a career in our great industry. A special thank you to Jr. Achievements Costa Rica Executive Director Randall Pacheco, for all he is doing for the youth of Costa Rica.

      This concludes another history making and record-breaking year for the Pelagic Rockstar Offshore Tournament. Thank you all for your continued support in what has become one of the most iconic tournaments in the sportfishing world. We are excited to see you all back again next year in Quepos at MPV for the 9th annual Pelagic Rockstar Offshore Tournament, January 9-12th, 2025.