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Flamingo, Costa Rica: Hosted by the new world-class Marina Flamingo, the eighth annual Presidential Flamingo Fishing Rodeo saw an action-packed two days of fishing amid perfect weather conditions in the seas off Flamingo, Costa Rica July 28-30, 2023.

This year, a record 33 teams and 160 anglers, many of whom were representing families, junior or lady anglers, participated in the fun event. Participants were welcomed at Marina Flamingo for final registration and the rules meeting; afterward, dancers from Villareal Public School put on a show for the gathered anglers, with cultural dancing in traditional attire and live music.

With the competitive rodeo format of the tournament, all fish were scored equally, with mandatory release for all billfish species and gamefish scored based on length rather than being weighed.

Day One saw plenty of action, especially for the offshore boats. The team fishing aboard Seacario took the early lead in the Flamingo Casino Offshore Division with 13 sailfish releases and 230 points, followed by Mainline with 180 points. Catch verification was done by cell phone video, and all billfish were released. Tiberon Azul II was the top inshore boat in the CR Marine Supply Inshore Division on Day One with 100 points followed by Yellowfin III with 25 points. Nathan Landers on Kelly Dawn scored a 44-inch tuna and Patron’s Dr. Hansel Larios had a 62-inch wahoo. Jose Gomez from Family and Friends had the largest dorado of 57 inches. The participants enjoyed a festive dock party at Marina Flamingo after fishing, and looked forward to the next day.

On Day Two the action slowed a bit, but that didn’t stop the team on Kelly Dawn, representing their home port of Marina Pez Vela in Quepos, from pulling out the win in the Flamingo Casino Offshore Division with a total of 581 points. They caught nine sailfish, six tuna and four dorado—two days of great fishing out of Flamingo. Pura Vida 55 from Los Sueños Resort and Marina was second with 18 sailfish and one dorado, while another Los Sueños boat, Family and Friends, placed third with 428 points from 11 sailfish, one blue marlin, one wahoo and one dorado. Rum Runner rounded out the top four with 426 points.

The CR Marine Supply Inshore Division winner was the team fishing on Rickdiculous from Marina Flamingo with 136 points, scored from catching three nice dorado. Second place was Tiberon Azul II with four roosterfish, and Mainline Flamingo, an all-lady team, placed third, also with four roosterfish.

The top billfish boat was Pura Vida 55, who caught and released a whopping 20 sails over two days. In second was Seacario from Marina Papagayo, also with 20 sailfish. Family and Friends rounded out the top three with 11 sails and a blue marlin. Nikita Timmerman from the Salochankita was named the tournament’s Top Lady Angler, while Jose Gomez from Family and Friends was the Top Male Angler. Kendall Valverde from Tiberon Azul II had the most roosterfish releases with two. The Top Junior Boy Angler was Bradley Dobbins and Catalina Suarez was the Top Junior Girl Angler.

In the gamefish standings, Dr. Larios’ 62-inch wahoo on Patron held up for the win for that species, while Alberto Gutierrez landed a 47-inch tuna on Reel Escape to win in that category. For the tournament there were 13 blue marlin and 191 sailfish released, along with 27 dorado, 19 tuna, 11 roosterfish and two wahoo.

The tournament’s presenting sponsor, Marina Flamingo, is the newest and one of the most upscale facilities of its kind in Central America. It can accommodate vessels of all lengths, with an array of premier services and amenities, including 184 slips with floating docks, a high-speed fuel dock, and full immigration and customs services onsite. The marina is an oceanfront wonderland of onsite restaurants, marina-view accommodations, a ship’s store, and VIP Club. Step outside the marina’s 6.2 acres of facilities and you’ll have access to many of the Pacific’s best white-sand beaches and many other world-class activities to enjoy.

The Presidential Flamingo Fishing Rodeo benefits not only marine conservation in Costa Rica but also a local charity called Abriendo Mentes, which is a nonprofit organization to help provide assistance to people in that part of Costa Rica to have access to enhanced education and employment opportunities. For more information on the event, please visit www.preschallenge.com or email tournament coordinator Joan Vernon, pezvelajv@aol.com.

Main photo: Top Inshore Boat

Top offshore Eagle Claw Grand Champion Team

Top Family

Top ANGLER

Top Junior Boy

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