8th Annual Guatemala Invitational

December 7-11, 2023
Story by: Evan A. Hipsley, Jr.

8th Annual Guatemala Billfish Invitational roll up departing from and returning to Marina Pez Vela, Puerto Quetzal Guatemala December 8-10, 2023.  There were 27 total teams (18 Pro and 9 Amateur).  16 IGFTO Observers rotated amongst the Pro boats each fishing day; the tournament totals included 764 Sailfish and 5 Marlin releases.

Friday, December 8, 2023 Day 1:

I observed on Allure II, a 42’ Custom and we headed southeast approx 20 miles putting lines in at 0800 per Tournament Rules. 

Captain: Julio


Justin Hodge 
Steve Hargett
Matt George
Tony Semann
Mates: Enio

0808 drive by

0828 Julio lands Dorado

0837 drive by

0843 drive by

0852 drive by

0855 Sailfish release by Justin

0923 Tony loses Dorado 

0927 Tony loses Dorado

0931 Tony lands Dorado 

0946 Dorado bite off

0956 Justin loses dorado - bad gaff shot

0957 Steve loses Dorado - line break

1028 Matt releases Sailfish 

1051 boated a Dorado 

1132 Sailfish in Spread (right teaser)

1216 Mystery bite

1333 Marlin zooming on right teaser-doesn’t come tight

1333 Matt Sailfish hooked 

1335 Matt releases Sailfish

1403 Dorado bite off

1432 Bonita bite off

1523 Julio Sailfish hooked up 

1525 Julio releases Sailfish 

1530 Lines out. 

Saturday December 9, 2023 Day 2: Army vs. Navy Day

Underway on Ecsta Sea. Unfortunately mechanical problems brought us back to port & we hot-swapped to the Aupa, one of the tournament standby boats. 

Captain: Fernando

Mates; Alvaro, Lupe’, & Jose’. 


Jay Rodriguez 
Michael Gangiuln
Greg Valentine
David Griner

0837 Mike lands Dorado

0858 Repositioned more South

0923 lines in

0928 Mike lands Dorado

0938 Jay releases Dorado

0954 David lands Dorado

1111 mystery bite

1310 Dorado bite off

1322 Sailfish jumps beside boat

1329 Sailfish in spread both left & right teaser

1341 Jay hooked up to Sailfish 

1343 Jay releases Sailfish

1429 Mike releases Sailfish 

1443 bite off

1530-1800 Lines out. Mechanical issues also plagued Aupa today and we arrived back to the marina very late. Thanks to Black Jack (Julio & Mario Castaneda) for turning around and coming back to assist us.

Sunday December 10, 2023 Day 3:

I had the pleasure to observe on Uno Mas, a 36’ Luhrs. 

Captain: Justin 

Mates: Edwin and Weecho 


Steve Summers  
Christine Summers
Tim Wills
Stacey Wills

0811 Steve releases Dorado

0824 Steve lands a floating stick w/crab 

Picked up & Relocated

0955 mystery bite off

1019 left flat line knock down 

1029 Chrissy lands Dorado

Picked up & Relocated

1128 Tim hooks sailfish

1130 Tim RELEASED Sailfish 

1138 Chrissy hooks up Sailfish 

1140 Chrissy RELEASED Sailfish 

1227 Tim hooks Sailfish 

1231 Tim RELEASED Sailfish 

1309 fish in spread. 

1321 mystery bite

1326 quad hook up on sailfish 

1330 Tim RELEASED Sailfish

1331 Chrissy RELEASED Sailfish

1343 Tim Sailfish bite off & free jumper

1414 Tim hooked up Sailfish 

1419 Tim RELEASED Sailfish

1428 Tim lands Dorado

1138 Tim lands small Shark (looked like baby Mako) 

1454 Shark released 

1454 Tim hooks up Sailfish

1458 Tim RELEASED Sailfish 

1517 Tim hooks Sailfish 

1523 Tim RELEASED Sailfish

1530 Lines out.