Marina Papagayo, Costa Rica: Despite fielding a relatively new crew and boat, Marc Stanley is a veteran in the world of competitive sportfishing. This season he decided to field his own team in the Presidential Papagayo Cup, with Todd Flanders sharing angling duties with him in the cockpit and Matt Douglas at the helm of his new Spencer Yacht, Pelese (pronounced PEL-ess-ay). They took to the water with a vengeance on the first day of the Presidential Papagayo Cup and by the call for lines out three days later they had emerged with their first win of the season, releasing 24 sailfish and one striped marlin along the way.
The Presidential Papagayo Cup was conceived over two years ago as a way to highlight not only the outstanding sportfishing on Costa Rica’s northern Pacific coast during the summer, but also to showcase Marina Papagayo as a world-class destination for traveling anglers. Once again this year, both held true: the billfishing was terrific, with 130 sailfish and two striped marlin released in the three days of the tournament, with many of the sailfish bites coming in the form of double- and triple-headers, proof of the excellent summertime fishing off northern Costa Rica. And each participating team had nothing but rave reviews for both the marina facility and the friendly, helpful staff there at every turn. Whether it was marina manager Dan Eaffaldano delivering hot coffee and breakfast breads every morning to each boat or the dockhands waiting to assist in tying up the tournament vessels when they returned each afternoon, the marina and the staff really made an impression on the participants once again this year.
And while Marc Stanley’s Pelese team was in the spotlight during the awards, it’s also safe to say that this is one of the most competitive tournaments found anywhere in Central America. The scores were very close throughout the event, often with the time of release determining the daily ranking (the team scoring first breaks any ties in point totals).
In the Angler Division standings, Marc Stanley also emerged victorious on a personal level: he earned 2,000 points and won a custom David Wirth “Hawaiian Hook” trophy as the event’s Top Angler. He was followed by another familiar name in Central America’s angling circles, the Sea Angel’s Austin Angel in second, with Xta-Sea’s Alexis Chamorro finishing in third place.
In the Team Division, the Pelese was trailed closely by Chamorro’s Xta-Sea team of himself, Julio Chamorro and Hugo Holmann as anglers with Capt. John LaGrone on the bridge. They had 2400 points with 24 sailfish releases in three days. In third place was last year’s defending champions on the Sea Angel, scoring 2100 points from 21 sailfish releases. The team of Greg and “Mamalu” Angel, their sons Capt. BC and Austin and cousin Seth Angel as well as family friend Ben White are as competitive a team as any found in the world of sportfishing. As proof of that, the Sea Angel won the Papagayo Cup trophy, a perpetual award on permanent display at Marina Papagayo that’s presented to the team with the highest combined point total from the Presidential Challenge of Costa Rica tournament and the Presidential Papagayo Cup. This year, the Sea Angel scored a total of 3400 points combined from the two events, and will have a second engraved plaque attached to the perpetual award.
The Papagayo Cup also featured some great entertainment, from the rousing kickoff party sponsored by IGY Marinas to the rockin’ Costa party following the first day of fishing to the boisterous awards celebration, the tournament participants enjoyed some terrific events during the week and weekend thanks in large part to the always-popular open Flor de Cana rum bar. The weather was also postcard-perfect, with calm winds and nearly tabletop flat seas throughout this year’s event. Proceeds from the optional jackpot were contributed to The Billfish Foundation, who also conducted a short live auction during the awards presentation, raising additional funds for billfish conservation worldwide.
The dates for the 2013 Presidential Papagayo Cup will be announced in the coming weeks on the tournament’s website at www.papagayocup.com so check in for updates, and for more information on Marina Papagayo please visit www.marinapapagayo.com.