TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – A global fraternity of anglers competed this week in the world’s largest offshore tournament series finale in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and the Critter Control Fishing Team captured the 12th annual IGFA Offshore World Championship billfish tournament crown. Critter Control CEO Kevin Clark teamed up with Sam Worden, Hunter Barron, Glen Miller and Frank Juliano of Islamorada, Fla., to release 15 striped marlin and 2 sailfish over the four day event, edging out the team representing the Harbourside Marine Bahamas Rotary Tuna Classic by one fish. The Bahamian team also finished second in the 2010 main event, which is considered the Olympics of sportfishing. Third place went to the defending champions, a local Cabo San Lucas team that had won the 2009 and 2010 world championships.
To get to Cabo the Critter Control Fishing Team won the prestigious Islamorada Fishing Club’s Captain’s Cup sailfish tournament back in December. That tournament was one of 130 worldwide qualifying events, which sent 60 teams from 30 countries to the fertile fishing grounds found off the Baja California Sur, and flags from competing team’s countries hung from the balconies at the host Finisterra Hotel.
While many billfish tournaments have six figure payouts, this International Game Fish Association (IGFA) event offered no prize money. “The tournament is meant to test the angler’s skills on a level playing field. You compete for the pride of your country and bragging rights, not cash,” said Mike Myatt, COO of the IGFA. “All teams in the tournament have to use 30 pound Hi-Catch Momoi line. No other line is allowed, except for up to 30 feet of leader. Teams draw for random boats and fish on a different charter boat each day, with different captains and mates, and each team was given ten live baits,” noted Myatt. Dead baits and artificial lures were also allowed.
While there was not a cash purse for this event, the winners did receive championship rings by Vanmark Jewelry, Geoffrey Smith sculpture trophies, Guy Harvey artwork, championship apparel by Hook & Tackle, Costa Del Mar sunglasses, Fin-Nor rod and reel combos, Momoi line and a Reactor Championship Diamond watch. The team also won a lifetime invitation to fish in the IGFA Offshore World Championships.