Ninth annual IGFA Offshore World Championship attracts 63 teams


CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico  Sixty-three boats with teams of anglers are set to blast away from the mouth of the Cabo San Lucas harbor early Monday morning signifying the start of the four-day IGFA Offshore World Championship, throughout the week of May 1116.

"We have representation of teams from 27 countries on six continents," said tournament director Mike Myatt as he and Alberto Trevino the Secretaria de Turismo de Baja California Sur, welcomed the international anglers to the premier fishing location. Considered the most prestigious catch-and-release billfishing tournament in the world, the event also draws the single largest contingent of international teams ever to compete in a fishing competition.

Countries and territories represented include teams from Angola, Australia, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Croatia, Grenada, Guatemala, Italy, Jamaica, Kenya, Mexico, New Zealand, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Portugal, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, Spain, Sultanate of Oman, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks and Caicos, the United States, Vanuatu and Venezuela. Many of the teams in the ninth annual tournament will be represented by anglers from a number of additional countries.

The U.S. has 14 teams signed on. Both Mexico and Brazil are represented by five teams each; Italy and Angola each have four.

The teams previously qualified by winning one of 130 IGFA-sanctioned tournaments held in 38 countries worldwide during 2007. It's the seventh straight year Cabo San Lucas has been chosen as the championship location.

They'll fish for marlin, sailfish and other billfish species with the top team winning engraved watches along with trophies and merchandise. Awards are presented through to the third place finishing team. The final results will be made on Friday at noon PDT.

At the IGFA OWC last year, a team representing its win in Spain's Marina Rubicon Marlin Cup 2006 tournament leaped from the middle of the 62-boat field to a dramatic win by one release fish over a team from Cabo San Lucas. It was the second straight year that a team, on the final day of the four-day competition, had an amazing 10 releases of striped marlin to win the championship. Using circle hooks, a total of 335 marlin were caught and safely released alongside the teams' boats.

At a kickoff party Sunday at the Hotel Finisterra, each team participated in a drawing for their four different boats  ones they hope will guide them daily to multiple bill fish releases. All of the boats are captained by local Cabo guides.

Partners and sponsors for the IGFA Offshore World Championship are Secretaria de Turismo de Baja California Sur, Costa Del Mar, Hotel Finisterra, Guy Harvey Inc., Shimano, Picante Sport Fishing and Yacht Sales, Cabo Yachts, K D & G Sea Life Masterpieces, Hook & Tackle, Momoi Hi-Catch, Murray Products, AFTCO BlueWater, Bodo Muche, Minerva's Baja Tackle, Seņor Greenberg's, IWS Scales, King Sailfish Mounts, Pompanette, Pisces Sportfishing, Corona and Modelo S.A DE C.V. Mexico, Don Tyson, Trans Cabo, Eagle Claw, MoldCraft Products, Inc. and API Dock.

Each morning the daily results along with photos of the previous day's round will be posted on the IGFA's home page at www.igfa.org. A list of registered teams can also be found on the web site under the fishing tab on the home page by clicking "tournaments."

Next year, to begin the event's 10th anniversary, the tournament welcomes the Bonnier Marine Group which will join the IGFA to manage the world championship which began in 2000.

Founded in 1939 the IGFA is a not-for-profit organization committed to the conservation of game fish and promotion of responsible, ethical angling practices through science, education, rule making and record keeping. IGFA members are located in over 125 countries and territories. The IGFA welcomes visitors to its 60,000-square-foot interactive Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum in Dania Beach, Fla.