The International Cap Cana Shootout attracts some of the best sports fishermen in the world. In turn, this elite group is proving just how fantastic the billfish fishery is off the Dominican Republic’s eastern shores, especially in early June. To underscore this fact, eighteen boats from the southern U.S. and Caribbean released an astounding total of 132 billfish – 14 blue marlin, 116 white marlin and two sailfish – in three days of tournament fishing or an impressive average of 7.33 billfish releases per boat. What’s more, it was Brooks Smith’s Florida-based 60ft Bayliss, Uno Mas, which released two blues and 15 whites to win Best Boat and earn Smith the Top Angler title.
On the first day of fishing, says Uno Mas’ Captain Tom Lynskey “we headed to an area out east called the ‘hot dog’ and caught two white marlin. Then, around 11am we heard on the radio that Black Gold was catching fish over by Two Rocks. We headed over there and ended up releasing five whites for the day which put us in fourth place.”
The next day, Lynskey received a report from a friend of good fishing by Three Rocks, further east of where they had been the day before. Bingo! Uno Mas jumped to the top of the leaderboard by releasing two blue marlin and six white marlin for the day.
A comfortable 1000 point lead over closest competitor, Black Gold, didn’t dampen the Uno Mas’ team’s determination to keep catching fish.
“We didn’t really need to catch any more to win, but doing so took the pressure away,” Lynskey says. “The additional four white marlin releases increased our lead by over 200 points.”
The winning team aboard Uno Mas were Smith and Lynskey, plus mates/anglers Sean Gallagher, Eric Rojas, Sander Cerdas and Jeremy Cubillo.
The team’s secret to success, says Lynskey, “is having the hardest working crew in the business. My job is easy. I just have to find the fish. When I do, I know that we’ll catch what we see. Anytime you can fish at a catch rate of 70 percent or higher, like we do, you will be in the money.”
The battle for second place was hard fought and won by Harry Sargeant’s Florida-based 65ft American Custom Yacht, Black Gold.
“We caught six whites and one blue the first day, two whites day two and three whites day three,” says Black Gold’s Captain Keith Brokenhagen. “We tied Doña Lucy on points but caught our last fish seven minutes before them, so it was close.”
In angler standings, Uno Mas’ Smith in first was followed by Puerto Rico’s Manuel Batlle fishing aboard Bandolera in second place with the Dominican Republic’s Elias Cruz finishing third aboard Doña Lucy.
Shoreside festivities included daily parties, a golf scramble and the always favorite crew cook-off.
“The tournament was a complete success both offshore and onshore,” says tournament director, Rick Alvarez, of International Billfish Tournaments. “The only negative was bad weather on day one so we called off fishing that day and fished three days straight without the usual lay day.”
The International Billfish Shootout will celebrate its 20th anniversary June 5 to 11 2014. Plans are underway for four days of fantastic fishing and more. For information, visit www.intlbillfishtourns.com