Punta Cana 2012

May 2012
Story by: J Godwin

The 47th edition of the Club Nautico de Santo Domingo White Marlin Tournament was held May 30 May through June 3 in marina Cabeza de Toro in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. The tournament is held on the western coast of the island of Hispaniola which DR shares with the nation of Haiti.
The island is between Puerto Rica to the east and Cuba to the west. Off this coast of DR is the Mona Passage, the cobalt blue body of water well documented to be a significant white marlin fishery in this season. Blue marlin also are caught in this region but usually deeper waters than those the anglers of this tournament fish.
There were 23 boats in the tournament. Those of you that have participated in the past will recognize a paradigm shift in the rules for the tournament. IGFA rules are the foundation. 16 # test line and 2004ELF Eagle Claw circle hooks, both supplied by the tournament, are required. All fish ID and releases are videoed, each angler wore a number on his back and individual lines had a different color Dacron sleeve at the leader/main line connection. This sleeve must be reeled on to the rod tip prior to the mate touching the 15' leader. There is no maximum fighting time, no limit on teasers, one rod per angler, boats may leave the dock at 0730 with lines in at 0800. Lines out at 5 PM--4 PM on the last day.
In the past all boats were anchored out in marina Cabeza de Toro, but this time due to a dangerous build up of coral in the marina and channel most boats were docked in Cap Cana. Gasoline is $3.60/gal, diesel $5.50/gal.

Tournament results:

1st place BLUE BIRD

2nd place BARBIE

3rd place MALCRIA

35 marlin released the first day, 27 the second day, and approximately 20 the third day - for a total of 82 Marlin. All were white marlin except for 3-4 blue marlin.

As an exception to past tournaments here and in Cap Cana 8 miles to the south, there was no rain any day during our stay. Most boats use the same rigs and techniques. The circle hook rigs were very similar, two dredges--some double and some split tail mullet but most large ballyhoo. Squid chains on either side of the boat were universal and all were followed by baited chuggers of various descriptions/sizes. Each angler brought their own rods/reels so there was a variety of gear on each boat. Most boats fished within sight of land and usually 3-10 miles offshore.

Day 1--ARABITA A 43' Viking convertible from Puerto Rica. We left the mooring at 0800 and were fishing at 0810. The seas were 1'-2' during the day and we fished in 260'-500' most of the day. Water temp averaged 85 degrees. The team was 3 for 6 on white marlin.

Day 2 & 3 MALCRIA 48' Riveria crewed by DR residents. This boat was docked in Cap Cana. Day 2 was a comfortable 3'-4' swell, day 3 kicked our butts on the way out and for half of the day--lets see how is the best way to describe this--snotty, 5'-6' sometimes 7'-8'. Even with the high seas on day 3 we were fishing within 35 minutes each day. 2 for 5 on day 2, 1 for 3 on day 3, all whites. Top boat day 1 & 2, ended third.

Buena suerte,