Sevenstar International Division
Capt. Tony Carrizosa, Team Galati
Home Port: Los Suenos, Costa Rica
Boat/Power: 66-foot Viking/MTU M91s, 2000hp
Wins to Date: First Place, Los Suenos Triple Crown Leg 2, (500 points total)
Tackle: Biscayne rods, Shimano Tyrnos 30 2-speed reels, Sufix high-vis 30-pound test line
Capt. Tony Carrizosa has earned more first place finishes in the Los Suenos Signature Series than any other captain, winning aboard the Stephanie Lee (63-foot ACY), Game On (50-foot Viking), Team Galati (2009 50-foot Viking) and the new Team Galati boat, a 2014 Viking 66. He knows what it takes to be successful in what has become one of the most highly competitive tournament series found anywhere in the world.
In The Spread
“We build our spread around the dredges—a double mullet on one side and a double ballyhoo on the other—and then fish two flat lines and two squid chains: a pink spreader bar style chain on the left side [looking aft] and a Squidnation blue chain on the right with Ilander chase baits on both. We also fish two short riggers and two long riggers with our anglers holding the rods. For this tournament, there weren’t as many marlin around so we went with smaller hooks, leader and weights. We lightened up to 50-pound fluorocarbon with Eagle Claw 7/0 hooks and 3/8oz leads in the baits.”
“The main reason we were successful was that we had a very good percentage for the anglers: we had exactly 100 bites and caught 80 fish in three days. We also had them shorten up the dropback a little and that seemed to help too. And you have to be flexible; on the second day, we had planned to go to the west with everyone else but saw that only a few boats were going to the east. That’s where we went with only five other boats and ended up winning the daily. Our anglers [Pat Healey, Bob Hixson, Drew McDowell, Don Gemmell and Carmine Galati] have put in the time fishing together so that also pays off when you spend that much time together in the cockpit. This series has gotten incredibly competitive since the early days so having that experience is definitely a plus.”
Contender Florida Division
Capt. George McElveen, Swagger
Home Port: Islamorada, FL
Boat/Power: 64-foot Precision/C-32CATs, 1650hp.
Wins to Date: First Place, Islamorada Sailfish Club; Second Place, Sailfish Challenge (800 points total)
Tackle: Shimano conventional reels and Diawa spinning reels on Kevin Bogan custom rods.
The Swagger team of Capt. George McElveen, owner Daniel Hassan and mates Erik Elhers and Justin Miller dances to the beat of a different drummer, and most days this finds them doing just fine whether fishing competitively or just for fun. After the Florida swing they’re off to the Bahamas to fish a string of tournaments before heading up the East Coast for the White Marlin Open and Mid-Atlantic $500,000 this summer.
In The Spread
“In our live bait tournaments we’re fishing seven baits: three off each kite and one spinner. We’re using Momoi Diamond line, 40-pound fluorocarbon Yo-Zuri leader and Mustad hooks, anywhere from 5/0 to 7/0 depending on the size of the bait. We like to use gogs [goggle-eyes] on the longs, especially up north. Then we’ll add a couple herring and a couple sardines and see how the bite goes, changing it up when the fish show a preference. This year we’ve been getting a lot of our bites on gogs though.”
“I’m fortunate that we have a team that’s fished together for quite a while. My one mate has been with me for 10 years and the other one for eight, so that helps. And we’re very calm when we’re fishing. Our owner is very laid-back and is a huge part of the team—he goes with the flow and really understands fishing. He’s up for anything we want to do and isn’t stubborn.”