Fish Guatemala 
ILTA Tournament Guatemala 1991

During this 1991 tournament I was getting to know "Paco" Maza as he was building his Marina and Restaurant and I gave him a hand putting lots of effort into the  International Light Tackle Tournament and I got to see some of the behind the scenes and was very impressed with everyone involved.  As I said before at this point I had never even had a sailfish bite but I left the dock and at 8 am. we had lines in with our mixed team ICTA format.  Under these rules the three anglers on each boat are actually fishing against each other and will fish either the starboard or port outriggers or the flat line.  My memory won't allow me to know which boat I was on, but I do remember I had a swimming mullet on the Port Outrigger  and got the first bite on the boat.  After the drop back I engaged the reel, but the line never came tight.  That was my first Guatemalan "Zancocho", that is the amazing way that a sailfish can actually strip the meat right of the bones of a bait and spit it out without hanging the hook. 

Miss Billfish Club Nautico 1991
I quickly re-rigged and  got another bait into the spread.  It was almost in disbelief that my line was snapped from the outrigger a second time.  This time I kept my cool and dropped back just like I would for a South Jersey Flounder. When I locked up  something much bigger was pulling on the other end of my line.  Over six feet of brilliant iridescent blue body sail and bill was launched into the air.  I had measured my drag exactly so I let it do the work and with some great boat handling I soon had the leader into the tip of the rod and had my first official sailfish release of my life.  As we reported the release on the radio It was confirmed that it was the first official release of the tournament which at least in a sense put me in the record books for Guatemala's International Sailfish Tournaments. 

I kept at it for the three days of the tournament and against a field of international anglers from South Africa, Puerto Rico, Mexico, the United States as well as the best Anglers that Guatemala had to offer, I have to say that I did well and finished in fourth place individual with ten releases.  This was a time that all the participating boats were outboards and the offshore waters had not been nearly explored as they would be in the future.  Still the total releases for this Mosquito Fleet was the most ever recorded by the International Light tackle Association up until this time.