It’s a great feeling to announce that the Explorer finished in first place at the 2017 Ship of Fools Tournament.
The fish were scarce and soft biting on the first day of the tournament. Craig scored the first and only Sailfish of the day on the Explorer around 8:30am, and the rest of the day was spent listening to the reports coming in over the radio.
At the end of the first day one boat had scored a Sailfish and a Striped Marlin (400 points total), another boat had two Sailfish (200 points total), and five boats all reported a single Sailfish (100 points)
On the second day Captain Fico hatched a brilliant scheme to propel the Explorer to the top of the leader board.
The whole tournament was fishing a blue water break 16 miles offshore, but Captain Fico felt that the fish were closer in.
The Explorer was the last boat out of the bay and as the 300hp boats disappeared over the horizon, Fico pulled back the throttle on his 75hp at the 12 mile mark.
The spread was out for less than an hour when the first Sailfish came calling, and Craig put the heat on him during a quick 10 minute fight.
After the lead boat reported a Sailfish release bringing them to 500 points, Harris ‘El Matador’ Savin put the Super panga in a first place tie with a feisty Striped Marlin release around 915am.
An hour later, the biggest fish of the tournament challenged Craig to a fight.
This Blue Marlin is easily 450lbs. and put every ounce of his strength into a fight that lasted over an hour.
With the lead in hand Harris added another Sailfish at 1pm and Matt put another 100 points on the board with a release at 2pm.
The ascension of the Explorer on the final day is indicative of the crew’s rise to greatness. Last year Captain Fico took the helm of the Super Panga after proving himself on the 23-foot Adventurer.
Captain Fico – 2014
During that same time Mate Elias was security guard / panga boat driver / substitute mate serving the other FishingNosara boats.
Mate Elias – 2015
It is a great feeling to see this dynamic duo sitting on the top of the hill in Garza’s most prestigious tournament.
The flagship welcomed back Bob Pease and his crew of hard-fighting Georgia anglers with the hope of duplicating their success from the Dreamstater Tournament last December.
His team scored a nice Sailfish during their prefishing day, however the ocean was not as cooperative on the tournaments days with three total Sailfish releases.
Captain William got a MASSIVE Marlin on the line late in the first day of fishing, but it put up a worthy fight and managed to shake the hook and escape.
Captain Alex welcomed multiple-time FishingNosara Hall of Famer Hubble Keller to make a run at the hardware and they also caught lots of great fish, just on the wrong day.
They nabbed TWO Double Sailfish releases on their pre-fishing day plus a nice Dorado for the dinner table.
The Harvester scored a Sailfish on the first day of the tournament, putting her in a 5-way tie for 3rd place.
Hopeful for a big run on Day 2, Captain Alex got a Sailfish in the early morning and another around noon.
The late bite yielded a third Sailfish for the day, leaving the Harvester just off the medal stand with a 4th place finish.
The Discoverer had trouble finding the billfish, however clients Pat and Don Vincent did win the Day 1 Calcutta with this monstrous Dorado:
Even better was that Pat chose to donate the winnings to the Garza School and also gave the filets to our team dinner on Friday night…class act!
In the end this is really what tournament fishing is all about: Great folks from all over the map coming together and making new friends.
Captain Fico and Mate Elias deserve all the credit for the catches, which were posted by anglers Craig Sutton, Matt Jorn, and Harris ‘El Matador’ Savin.
This is the culmination of years of effort and setbacks; our first time participating in this event was 2012 and despite many attempts our best finish was third place.
The growth of FishingNosara from a single boat in 2009 to where we are today (5 boats, 100 trips a month) has been a blessed effort costing much blood, sweat, and tears.
Next month we will begin issuing invitations for the Dreamstarter Tournament scheduled for December, and of course we will be back in force for the 2018 Ship of Fools Tournament next April.
The FishingNosara team competed in the 2016 Ship of Fools Tournament on April 9-10 and we are stoked to announce that once again Captain William and Bob Pease put the Wanderer in the money:
More importantly, all four FishingNosara boats were in the running for a top spot throughout the weekend.
The tournament began early in the morning on April 8 as Garza Bay was buzzing with excitement.
Captain Fico on the upstart Explorer was leading the team after the first day with seven Sailfish releases report by Roger Bowgen and his group.
Captain William and the mighty Wanderer snagged six Sailfish plus a last-minute Dorado; meat fish serve up a potentially tie-breaking 25 points and would this one would turn out to be essential.
Captain Alex and Hubble Keller on the mega panga Harvester were slotted right behind with six Sailfish released and caught a nice Dorado:
They actually released three more Sails, however the camera with those pictures got accidentally sent to Davy Jones’ Locker.
Matt, Craig, and Paula from the US Office rounded out the team’s results with four Sailfish released on the Discoverer.
On the second day was a big decision: head North to try to catch the tail end of the swarm of fish that was yielding double-digit releases a week prior, or cut South and try to anticipate the next school.
The Discoverer and Explorer went North, and that decision proved to not be the right one as only four fish were caught between the two boats.
We took advantage of every bite, but there just weren’t enough fish to stay at the top of the scoreboard.
The Harvester and Wanderer went South and they hit paydirt with multiple Sailfish and Marlin releases…Marlin are worth triple the points of a Sailfish in this tournament.
Captain Alex kept his momentum up from a productive first day and captured several more Sailfish releases.
Captain William scored the big fish of the day with Bob Pease’s epic 2 hour fight ending in a MASSIVE Blue Marlin release.
The Wanderer made up for the time lost fighting the big fish by closing the day with a Double Sailfish release.
This flurry of billfish action late on the second day propelled the Wanderer into the money for the third time in four years.
On Sunday was the legendary Ship of Fool’s Fiesta at Pacifico Azul in Garza:
Great food, great music, and great times were had by all the teams and all of the Garza community came out to celebrate.
On top of the scoreboard this year was the Old Squaw:
Followed up by the High Roller:
The Largest Tuna prize went to Siempre Algo:
As always the events were run masterfully by the Tournament Staff including Marlin Bill, Angie, and the Judges.
We look forward to competing in the 2017 Ship of Fools Tournament and once again seeing FishingNosara boats challenging for the top spot.
The FishingNosara Tournament Series continues this December as we are entering all four boats into the Dreamstarter Tournament:
If you have what it takes, get your best anglers together and reserve your spot in this event.