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IBT Finishes with 103 Releases and LASIK in First Place

Marlin mania was in full swing for the 52nd International
Billfish Tournament (IBT), hosted by Club Náutico
de San Juan in Puerto Rico,
September 10 to 17.

"This year, sports fishermen released 103 blue
marlin out of the 165 reported hook ups on 85 boats. That’s 1.21 fish
per boat. All blue marlin!" said regatta chairman, Ricardo Lefranc.

The IBT,
which is the longest consecutively held big game fishing tournament in the
world, has been all-release event since 2003.

Top Boat,
Lasik,
tagged and released five blue marlin (2,500 points) to win
the tournament, beating out Lady Lou
(2,300 points) and Hy-Pot (1,500 points), and winning
a Murray Brothers fishing chair for the effort.

Jose Valdés, owner of Lady
Lou
, tagged and released three marlin to capture the Best
Angler award with 1,500 points. Anglers Gustavo Mercado (1,500 points),
Richard Spielman (1,400), Thomas Wilson (1,400) and
Angel Vélez Rodríguez
(1,000) followed on the scoreboard. Spielman also won
as Best International Angler, followed by Luis Bacardí (500 points), from
Florida in his yacht Rum Bum, and Mark Waldron (500 points).

Valdés’ three blues, along with another three
marlins from Wilson, earned their team,
Puerto Rico 16, the International Cup trophy with 2,900
points. The trio took home an entry ticket to participate in the Rolex/IGFA
Championship, which will be celebrated in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico,
in May 2006.

The
International Cup’s second place was won by United
States 09 with David Bishop from
Ft. Lauderdale,
Waldron and John Flynn, all with 500-point fish releases each and a total of
1,500 points for the team. Third place belonged to
Ecuador with Pepe
Antón, Humberto Donato and Luis Infanzón
(800 points).

The local
inter-club team winners were: Arecibo Yacht and Fishing Club in first place,
with Luisa León (1,000 points), Lorenzo González
(1,000 points) and Arturo Terrassa. Club Naútico de San Juan 13 scored second place with
1,500 points for Edgardo Rivera, Heli
Rivera and Rolando Rodríguez. San Juan Marina
finished third with 1,500 points total between Alejandro Grillasca,
Agustín Rexach Rodríguez and Giancarlo Rexach.
Mayaguez 04
came in fourth place with Emilio Pérez Soler, Damián Carrera and Raúl Rodríguez also scoring a total of 1,500 points.

Luisa
León once again conquered the tournament in the lady angler’s
competition with two releases (1,000 points), followed by Jennifer Bacardí (500) and Teresa Ledesma
(400). In 2002, the yacht Luisa won
the Best Boat award in this event, thanks mainly to the efforts of this young
lady competitor.

"In
this 52nd International Billfish Tournament at Club Náutico
de San Juan
fishing was as good, or better, than most other tournaments, and much better
for blue marlin fishing," said Lefranc.

He
continued, "I have never been so happy and so tired in my life. Anglers,
yacht owners, and all competition’s stages flowed as planned and we celebrated
an excellent sporting event. Good weather favored us and the fishing was great."

Anglers
who competed in this year’s tournament represented nine countries –
Argentina,
Bahamas, Dominican
Republic, Ecuador,
the United States,
Netherlands, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico
and Venezuela.

Anglers
and others interested in final results can log in to the IBT’s
webpage at www.sanjuaninternational.com.

The 2006
IBT will take place from August 27 to September 3.

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