The Dragin Fly fishing team of Dwight Wolf, Mike Rankey, Tim DonLevy and Pat Renfro led wire to wire in the third annual Presidential Papagayo Cup in Costa Rica. They scored 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, racking 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 on Day Three. This comes as their third win of the year, following a first place finish in the Los Suenos Signature Series event in January as well as winning the title of Top Overall Team in the Los Suenos series. The Dragin Fly is a 42-foot custom Maverick charter vessel captained by James Smith.
The Xta-Sea, with anglers Alexis Chamorro, 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, who’s 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 on the Dragin Fly.
Thanks to their strong finish, the Xta-Sea team also wins the Papagayo Cup Perpetual Trophy—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, 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.