El Salvador 27th Annual International Billfish Tournament

November 9-12, 2021
Story by: Ron Teke

In its 27th year, this tournament is a real sleeper among the Central American tournament circuit. Held November 9-12, 2021, it was mostly-attended by local boats, and a few boats traveling from Guatemala.  It has proven to be outstanding in the catch quality, hospitality, and friendliness of the organizers and hotel staff.  No, it is not a five-star resort, but it is well-managed and the cold showers were actually refreshing.

27 boats were registered and 15 Observers were placed on the top-performing boats in the tournament each day.  A shotgun start was held on the opening day. There is a serious inlet with hazardous conditions, so the tournament is scheduled each year to coincide with high slack tides.  488 Sailfish, nine Blue Marlin and two Striped Marlin were the billfish catch during the three days of fishing.  As usual, Sailfish scored 100 points each and Marlin 500 points.  How about daily Sailfish catches of 36, 47, 51, and 44 on SPINDRIFT, THE KING AND I, and MONIQUE.  Boats either went deep (50 miles) for the Marlin, trolling lures and teasers, or stayed a little closer for the Sailfish running rigged ballyhoo and dredges.  It was a tight tournament to the end.  THE KING AND I won the Marlin event and SPINDRIFT won the Sailfish event.  With both marlin catches and many sailfish, THE KING AND I won high overall.

An unusual amount of large, slammer Dorado were found everywhere by most crews.  Some caught as many as 20 per day.  There was a “fun fish” category and most crews weighed Dorado in the 30-35# range.  A few nice Yellowfin Tuna and a couple of Wahoo were also caught.

Famed, Marine Artist Carey Chen was in attendance and completed two original paintings while at the event.  He still managed to fish each day with different crews.  What a talented, super guy Carey is.  I got to spend Day 1 with him on Paco Saca’s boat; Paco is the event organizer.

The opening night party was great and as usual the Friday night Awards Banquet was spectacular even with fireworks at the end.

The 2022 tournament is scheduled to be held November 11-14.