2020 Los SueƱos Signature Triple Crown Leg 1

January 15-18, 2020
Story by: Evan A. Hipsley, Jr.

19 January 2020

Location: Los Sueños Resort and Marina

Playa Herradura | Costa Rica

GeoLoc: 9.6569° N | 84.6610° W 

This was my second trip to Costa Rica in two years; expectations were very high given the first time last year.  Departing Pensacola, FL outbound for Juan Santamaría {Costa Rica} International Airport was relatively easy and very similar to my trip of February 2019 for Leg 2, and my installation onto the IGFTO Board of Directors (BOD).  

For this Observer, a short hop of roughly 50 minutes and about an hour layover to connect in Atlanta, GA was followed by wheels up transitioning to feet wet encompassing just over three and a half hours flight time to wheels down and feet dry at what is commonly referred to as "San Jose." Immigration and Customs lines can be long here as several other airlines also land around the same time, so be patient because once you leave the baggage claim area and find your transportation, Paraíso (Spanish for paradise) is “full-on!”

The transit from the airport to Los Sueños is generally just shy of two hours; all traffic and weather contingent of course. Two quick stops along-the-way for some quick groceries to stock the condo pantry and refrigerator and most importantly, the keys to the condominium for the week-long stay in Veranda.  Bookending each trip by a few days pre and post tournament to catch the sights etc., and particularly in Los Sueños for the IGFTO BOD Annual Meeting is a must in my opinion. This year, all five sitting Directors, and our Director Emeritus were present for the BOD Meeting.

January 15-18th encompassed Leg 1 of the Los Sueños Signature Triple Crown – an All Release Trolling Tournament using a maximum of 50# test line, tournament-legal non-offset circle hooks, for both dead baits and lures, and a maximum of five anglers per boat. 38 teams and 39 IGFTO Observers participated for three fast-action days in this Pacific Paraíso.   

The Rules, Observer, Captain/Team Meetings and Kickoff party were held on Wednesday evening to set the stage for the fishing that was on tap for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

The Observers rallied each morning before 0500 at the Hook Up Bar and Restaurant for breakfast, paperwork, boat assignments, and any day admin that needed to be disseminated.  Observers reported to their assigned boat for the day following breakfast and team boats departed the marina once the radio announcement was made that all Observers had checked in.

Underway to the grounds! The “commute”, as I like to call it, is on average and hour and a half with a maximum range of 50 nautical miles from Herradura Bay.  Lines in was called each day at 0800, and lines out at 1600.

Scoring this year was consistent with that in the past. As such, all Marlins, including Spearfish, were awarded 500 points, and the numerous Pacific Sailfish were awarded 100 points each.

This year, I had the pleasure of observing aboard FISH TANK on Thursday who released five Sailfish, WAR PARTY on Friday who released three Sailfish, and GAME PLAN on Saturday who also released five Sailfish. 

Following three days on the water the top team standings were: SCANDALOUS 5200 points; GAME CHANGER 4000 points; and OUTAGE 3600 points.

The Fleet released a total of 593 Billfish broken down as: 523 Sailfish and 70 Marlins.

Up next: Our first Observer Training Course to be held at Marina Pez Vela, Quepos, C.R. in conjunction with the Quepos Pescadora Ladies Tournament, and Legs 2 and 3 of the Triple Crown in Los Sueños.  Until then: “Fish on….right long….Sailfish | Release, release, release! Confirmation number 123, Time 1530.”

Best, Evan.