The marlin were biting and the anglers were fighting at the International Cap Cana Billfish Shootout, held June 9th to 14th, out of Marina Cap Cana, in the Dominican Republic. The tussle came in getting lines fouled through the thick blanket of brown algae, or sargassum, which covered the waters off the southeast coast of the island. For Brooks Smith, who won Grand Champion Angler this year and in 2013, it came down to being at the right place at the right time as well as a few other lucky factors for the Atlanta, Georgia-based angler to catch more fish than seaweed.
“The seaweed was ridiculous; worse that I’ve seen in 25 years. So, it was all about how and where you fished. For us, that was a place known as between the number two and three rocks,” explains Tommy Lynskey, captain aboard Smith’s brand new 62ft Viking, Uno Mas.
The well-oiled Uno Mas team of Smith, fellow anglers Don Gallagher, Erik Rojas and Jeremy Cobullo as well as mate Sander Quiros and Capt. Lynskey, released one blue and two white marlin on the first day of fishing. They followed with three white marlin on the second day, and four whites on day three.
“Brooks led the anglers going into the last day of fishing having released one blue and four of our white marlin,” says Lynskey. “He was able to stretch that lead over Christian Mansur aboard Alina by releasing a white marlin while Mansur went fishless.”
Alina, a 58ft Paul Mann, captained by Erick Mansur of Aruba, earned Top Boat.
In total, the 20 boat tournament fleet released 22 blue marlin, 101 white marlin and two sailfish in four days of fishing.
“Fishing was good overall, although it was affected by the sargassum weed phenomenon that is plaguing the Caribbean,” says tournament director, Rick Alvarez, of International Billfish Tournaments. “In general, action was very selective with one or two boats each day releasing multiple fish and most others no fish or only one or two.”
The International Cap Cana Billfish Shootout is the second of the first-ever Dominican Billfish Triple-Header tournament series. The series started with the Casa de Campo International Blue Marlin Classic in March and concludes with the Cap Cana Classic September 10th to 13th. Teams vie for both tournament and series points and prizes. For more information, visit: www.intlbillfishtourns.com
Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.