Roosterfish flags flying high in the afternoons, laughter, cheers and high-fives. There was a lot of that each afternoon at our annual Roosterfish Tournament. The fishing was incredible and the anglers absolutely smashed the old record of 102 Roosterfish in three days of tournament fishing. 12 anglers managed to catch and release 131 Roosterfish in the three-day tournament. Two of the teams released 18 Roosterfish in a single day and there were more than a few fish caught over 50lb with the largest of the Tournament coming in at 58 inches which is an estimated 60lb.
We kicked off the Tournament with some fun and games to get the teams better acquainted. We are firm believers that fishing is all about having fun. Of course, there is that competitive angle in tournament fishing, especially when the top team wins an invite to the OWC. Our goal, however, was to make this tournament as fun as possible. Since a boat draw dictates the boats teams will fish with each day of the tournament, we held the Tropic Star Roosterfish Olympics to determine the order anglers would draw their boats. Each team had to choose a person for each activity, with the points from the day being tallied to determine the order for the boat draw.
We started the Olympics with a drawing competition. The challenge? The anglers’ rendition of a Roosterfish. Some of the artwork turned out amazing, and this activity is one that always ends in everyone talking and laughing over the various renditions. The second activity was a casting competition – which everyone always assumes is pretty straight forward, but often takes anglers by surprise. The anglers competing in the event had to cast from behind the start line, with each angler having three casts. Distance is what gets you your points in this challenge. The ocean is out of bounds on one side, and the palm trees and grass on the other. We had two people cast their lures way out of bounds, with one going right into the Marlin Bar and the other straight over it. Both anglers received 0 points for those efforts. The final activity is the one that draws the biggest crowd and the most laughs – the Cayuco Race. Cayucos are dugout canoes that the locals use for fishing. It takes extreme balance to paddle in a Cayuco, and this race left all of us in hysterics.
Each day, the boats were able to leave fully stocked with live bait before they left, and just as well, as the fishing was phenomenal with no wasted time on bait fishing. Roosterfish are a highly sought-after trophy fish and the number of flags that we saw coming back to the dock was awesome. The stories of Roosterfish giving run after run as they got closer to the boat were common at our Papa’s Pilar Rum happy hour each afternoon. Each day, the angler with the biggest fish of the day was rewarded with a bottle of 24 year old Papa’s Pilar Rum.
Day 1 the fleet released 47 Roosterfish with the biggest one going to Mike Kennedy of team Loco Lechugas, with a 58 inch monster of a Roosterfish, which is around 60lb. The top boat for the day was Team Dilly Dilly with 18 Roosterfish. They went for an incredible 18 for 30 shots.
Day 2 saw fewer fish but a bunch of them were on the larger side. The fleet released 24 Roosterfish. It was a team Dark Horse day, with the top score of 650 points and the biggest fish of the day going to Bob Stewart with a fish of 54 inches, estimated around 55lb.
Day 3 the bite picked right on up with boats smashing fish. The fleet released 60 Roosterfish. People on the dock were going nuts seeing so many boats coming in flying so many flags. Team Tough Cat took the highest score of the day this time, with another 18 Roosterfish. Angler Bob Wright caught the fish of the day with a 57 inch beast, weighing around 60lb.
During the tournament, anglers put 39 spaghetti tags on Roosterfish, which serves as a significant contribution to the ocean conservation research being conducted. Not much is known about Roosterfish as they have 0 commercial value. They are only found from Mexico to Peru and are a very sought after game fish and so we are doing as much as possible to learn about these incredible wraiths of the rocks to ensure they will be here for many generations to come. A big thank you to the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and NOVA South Eastern University for their hard work in protecting our oceans. We’re extremely honored to be participating in their studies.
The tournament was a great success! All of us at Tropic Star Lodge would like to thank the participants and our sponsors, for without all of you, none of this would have been possible.
A special congratulations to our winners:
1st place: 3000 points, Team Dilly Dilly: Michael Peterson and Pete Ballew
2nd Place: 2950 points Team Tough Cat: Mitch and Debra Bademan
3rd Place: 1950 Points Team P Max Poppers: Pat Riley and Brian Hill
Top angler: Michael Peterson