The catch and release of 10 blue marlin earned Dhara the Top Boat prize in the 3rd annual Dominican Republic International Big Five Fishing Open & Expo, hosted August 18 to 20 out of Marina Cap Cana. What’s more, the team aboard this custom-built Cabo 43 with Capt. Darin Chafin at the helm also scored prizes for Top Angler by Juan José Pérez, Top Female Angler by Maritza Rodriguez and Top Junior Angler and Second Top Angler by Ian Yitzhak.
“The first day was slow until 1pm when we had our first bite to the right teaser,” explains Rodriguez. “Our junior angler Ian pitched the bait, hooked up and quickly released the fish. Then at 4pm there was a bite on the left long rigger and Ian got it hooked up. He had just set the drag when the captain started turning the boat and up came a bite on the left teaser. JJ (Juan José) pitched a bait and there we were hooked up to a double header blue marlin. Each fish weighed at least 450lb. We got both releases and finished the day in the lead.”
The second day, the Dhara team enjoyed an early bite. Rafael Aguayo, who ultimately finished third overall in the angler standings, quickly released the first fish. Then, Perez hooked up with another blue followed by a fast catch and release. The team’s anglers pulled the hook and missed the next two bites, respectively, followed by another double header by late afternoon that were successfully released by Perez and Aguayo. This action kept Dhara in the lead with a score of seven marlin going into the last day.
“We had a slow morning again and it wasn’t until 12:30pm when I caught my first marlin. Thirty minutes later, JJ (Perez) released a blue, then hooked another one right after that and caught that too. That’s how we scored 10 blue marlin in three days to win,” explains Rodriguez.
The rest of the champion Dhara team included mates Humberto Jimenez and Rafael Merentes.
Dhara beat out 14 other boats for the top boat title, which earned them US $5000. Tournament entries hailed from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and USA.
The Dominican Republic International Big Five Fishing Open & Expo was fished under International Game Fishing Association rules. Additional rules called for conservation-friendly use of circle hooks and 50lb line test.
On land, this Ministry of Tourism supported tournament hosted a nautical expo which saw several companies’ exhibit products, boats, services and food tastings. Nightly parties included a Dominican Republic Night, live music and a cooking demonstration from the island’s celebrity chef, Luis ‘Chilin’ Guzman.
The 2017 tournament will be held over the August Full Moon, August 7 to 9.