82nd International Light Tackle Tournament Association Jungle Rules

The 82nd International Light Tackle Tournament Association event was proudly hosted by the Texas Tournament Anglers  lub,  June 17 – 23, 2023, in Panama. A field of 15 teams of anglers from eight countries released 261 sailfish and three black marlin in four days of fishing.

Nestled into the beautiful Darien Jungle and world famous for sport-fishing beyond imagination, Tropic Star Lodge was home base for 45 ILTTA anglers from around the globe. Organized into four days of world class fishing with one lay day and plenty of camaraderie, the 82 nd ILTTA offered the perfect opportunity to fulfill founder, Dr. Dean’s other goal – “It is more important to make a friend than catch a fish.” The friendships created through fishing together and fostered by the fellowship of ILLTA last a lifetime!

Tournament anglers enjoyed a beautiful day for fishing Day One with the better bite to the south. Forty-eight confirmed releases found Eduardo Read in the lead with four fish while the team from Venezuela – Keep Fishing – grabbed the top team spot with seven fish overall. Tropic Star crews rose to the challenge of rigging naked ballyhoo on 20-pound test for sailfish and the three-man rotating cockpit stations of ILTTA rules – and it showed Day Two with 60 releases overall. Domingo Viyella scored five releases and the Club Nautico de Santo Domingo #1 team shot into first for the day.

Day Three of fishing proved that it is rainy season in Panama, but the fish bite better in the rain with several flurries throughout the day. Club Nautico # 2 got back in the lead Day Three with angler Henry Fondeur adding four fish to their score and capturing daily top angler honors. Fishing Day Four was the best of the week with 80 releases including a black marlin for angler Jay DePotter of Florida whose release completed his person Royal Slam! Jorge Sinibaldi of Guatemala fished hard for his team Club Amateur de Pesca of Costa Rica and put six releases up on the board for the top daily angler spot.

At the awards dinner, the captain and mate of the Tiz Tiz earned prizes and Top Boat honors for their 29 releases overall. The Third Place Angler trophy was presented to Umberto Donato who had 10 releases and teammate Tito Muntaner scored Second Place Angler honors with 10 releases on time. The Top Angler trophy for the 82 nd ILTTA was presented to Eduardo Read of the Dominican Republic with 12 releases overall.


The 15 tournament teams fought it out for the top team honors at the 82 nd ILTTA and the anglers did not disappoint. With only three fish separating third and first and only three seconds separating second and first it was obvious the teams battled down to the wire! Third Place honors with 21 fish went to Club Nautico de Santo Domingo #1 and anglers Luis Cordova, Wally Heinsen and Henry Fondeur. While the team from Puerto Rico and Ponce Yacht & Fishing Club took second place on time with 24 releases for anglers Tito Muntaner, Humberto Donato and Umberto Donato.

ILTTA’s “Big Belt” is a one-of-a-kind trophy with 82 years of history. The belt is a leather and silver replica of an old-time fighting belt and from it hangs the names of the winning clubs and the team members. Club Nautico de Santo Domingo #2 and team members Domingo Viyella, Alfonso Khouri, Eduardo Read earned Top Team honors with their 24 releases overall. The anglers will be taking the Big Belt home from Panama to their club in the Dominican Republic where it will be on display until the 83 rd ILTTA which is scheduled for October 13 – 19, 2024 in the DR. Pretty work, boys!

The International Light Tackle Tournament Association came into being in March 1946 during the Annual Sailfish Rodeo in Acapulco, Mexico. Dr. Roy B. Dean was the founder of ILTTA and a staunch supporter of the Club until his death in 1990 at the age of 95. Dr. Dean’s vision of an international all release light tackle tournament was revolutionary and impactful. ILTTA’s light tackle tournament rules have been utilized by many major tournaments and have been refined and proven for more than 50 years. Today ILLTA’s members include 15 light tackle fishing clubs from nine countries. These clubs boast as many as 60 angler members. For more information on the ILTTA visit, www.ILTTA.org.

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