Defending champs from Chicago and Miami, USA race away with final round of Rolex/IGFA Offshore Championship Tournament


Anglers catch-and-release a record 10 marlin in final round of world offshore fishing championship over 32 other nations on 64 teams


CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico – The defending 2005 Rolex/IGFA Offshore Tournament Champions are now the 2006 Rolex/IGFA Offshore Champions. The USA team with members from Miami, Fla, and the Chicago, Ill., suburbs, caught and released a single day record 10 marlin in the final round of the four day event, considered the world championship of offshore fishing   

              It was a bit disconcerting as their boat, among the 64 tournament teams from 33 countries, was the last into the port flying only one blue pennant bearing a marlin in white along with a red release flag. But the smiles on the team members’ faces plus the white hand towel flying below with the number10 written in black marker said it all.

“We ran out of the blue pennants so we had to improvise,” said Tom Schramm of Roselle, Ill,. 

With fellow Chicago-land teammate Scott Segal, Libertyville and Ray and Charmain Rosher, Miami, it brought their point total to 7228.2 points on the 24 marlin releases, a new team total record for the seven year annual tournament.  Each marlin release counted 300 points.

The scores were officially posted Friday noon MT at the Cabo San Lucas, Mexico tournament headquarters.  

The Bermuda Anglers Club ILTT team moved into second place with four marlin in the final round. Despite zeroing out the first day, the Bermuda team of Leslie E.M. Spanswick, David Ross DeSilva, Ron Boys and Richard King fished steady to finish with 4500 points on 15 marlin releases.

Finishing third was a team of California (USA) men, representing its qualifying win at the TAA Eastcape, Mexico Billfish Tournament, with 4267.6 points. The four men, Keith Leimbach, San Carlos; Dale Miles, Elk Grove; Bill Evans, Hillsborough and John Jacobi of Dinuba, Calif.,  .  

led the tournament through the first two days on 10 releases but in the second half caught only four marlin, two each day. Two weight fish provided the margin over the fourth place team.  

In fourth was the Rolex/IGFA Champions for 2004 representing Port Aransas, Texas.  They finished with 14 marlin after blanking with billfish the first day.

Finishing fifth with12 marlin for 3600 points was a team representing the Venezuelan International Super Slam.  Dropping to sixth was the Luanda, Angola team also with 3600 points based on the time of the last fish caught first. 

Rounding out the top 10 were the Bahamas Rotary Tuna Classic team from Nassau in seventh, the Dusk to Dawn Swordfish Tournament team from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., in eighth; the 33rd Bluewater Invitational from St. Augustine for ninth and the 33rd Annual Hudson (NY) Anglers Shark Tournament team in 10th place. 

The defending champs led by two marlin into the final round and maintained their well orchestrated approach to team fishing.

“We met every morning and for one hour went over everyone’s duties for the day,” said Rosher.  “We also kept it light and fun and found that if we sang, we’d get a bite,” laughed Schramm. They credited Charmain who constantly checked the tackle rigging with “singing the fish from the sea.” 

“If we missed a fish, no worries,” Segal added. “A lot of credit also goes to our captains and mates over the four days especially Carlos Rodriguez on the Hook Up who was confident of an area north of Cabo on the Pacific coast that was far away from where the rest of the teams were fishing.  We were constantly into fish from 9 a.m. till the end of the day going 10 for 14.”

Roser said they used all live or dead baits and no lures for the week.

“We also liked having an IGFA Certified Observer on the boat each of the final three days, which was something new to the tournament and highly appreciated by the teams,” he said.

“This was also the most memorable championship we’ve ever won. As we were leaving the dock on the first morning someone on another boat was playing the bagpipes and I realized this event will be the most international setting we’ll ever fish in.”

 IGFA President Rob Kramer said, “The primary purpose of the event, in addition to building international camaraderie, is supporting the conservation efforts of the International Game Fish Association. The funds from this event will be put towards conservation and educational efforts to show anglers that an all-release billfish tournament using circle hooks can be done on a level playing field.”   

Over the four days 473 marlin were caught and safely released at the boats.

In the boat standings the Minerva III with Capt. Gilberto Kakogui was first with 6000 points in skippering four different teams. Capt. Antonio Romero on the Picante Pride was second with 5100 points and Capt. Carlos Rodriguez on the Hook Up moved into third with 4500 points.  

The top female angler was Heather Rinfoul, West Palm Beach, Fla., from the 22nd Annual Treasure Cay Billfish Tournament in the Bahamas with 1800 points. Nora Schofield of Miami and Lorraine Francis, Stuart, Fla. on the IWSFA Annual Fishing Tournament were second and third.

Among the men Marco Roberto Da Silva Couto of the Angolan team was top rod with 3600 points with Schramm second at 2700 points beating out Edgar Artecona of the Rolex/IGFA 2004 championship team also with 2700 points on time.

The prestigious four day Rolex/IGFA OCT hosted what is believed to be the single largest contingent of international teams ever to compete in a fishing competition.

It attracted many of the world’s best angling teams who had won at least one of 110 IGFA sanctioned qualifying offshore events held in 40 countries across the globe during 2005. The number of IGFA qualifying tournaments continues to climb each year.

Teams represented tournaments in the countries and territories of Angola, Australia, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, the Canary Islands, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Galapagos, Guatemala, Italy, Jamaica, Kenya, Kingdom of Tonga, Mauritius, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Senegal, Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks and Caicos, the United States, Vanuatu and Venezuela.

Other countries represented with anglers were France, England, Ireland, Slovenia and South Africa.  The United States was represented by 22 teams of anglers from 23 states. 

It was the fifth straight year Cabo San Lucas was chosen as the location for the international event. The teams drew for different boats each day from the local guided Cabo fleet. They fished for three species of marlin (blue, black and striped) and swordfish for 300 points each along with sailfish and spearfish for 100 point values each. The catches were scored and released alive at the boat in accordance with the IGFA tournament rules. IGFA Certified Observers rotated on the top 15 boats.

The teams also received “weight” points (per pound) for tuna, wahoo and dorado up to two fish of each species per day above the minimum size limit of 25 lbs. Local charities receive the donations of all fish weighed at the Cabo docks.  All anglers used 30 lb. Momoi fishing line.

The Roser’s, Schramm and Segal received engraved Rolex timepieces and Bodo Muche trophies.  Eighteen other prizes were presented including ones to the three top male and female anglers, top three captains and top three places for the heaviest tuna, wahoo and dorado.

Besides title sponsor Rolex other major sponsors included Baptist Health South Florida,  IWS Scales, King Sailfish Mounts, Aftco Bluewater Sportswear, Bodo Muche Studio-Foundry, Mold Craft Products, Inc., Momoi Hi-Catch, Costa Del Mar Sunglasses, Murray Products Fighting Chairs, Daiichi, Hotel Finisterra, Nautical Jewelry Originals, Outdoor Channel, Guy Harvey, Hook & Tackle, Penn Rods & Reels, Stidd Captain’s Chairs, Picante, Minerva’s Baja Tackle, Pisces Sportfishing, API Dock, Grupo Ultrafemme and Transcabo.

The offshore championship is one of two world-class series fishing events that include the sixth annual Rolex/IGFA Inshore Championship Tournament to be held July 9 -12, in the Florida Keys.  In that tournament some 40 anglers representing 55 qualifying tournaments on four continents will be competing in light-tackle and fly-fishing competition for bonefish, tarpon, permit, redfish and snook in Islamorada, located in the middle of the Florida Keys.

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, Florida.