Oct. 27, 2003, Tracy Eherenberg, Pisces Fleet, as published in Western Outdoor News:
Well the question on everybody’s lips this fishing week at Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico, is, “Who won the Bisbee?” so without much ado we’ll jump right into it.
First of all, there were 163 teams fishing in this year’s Bisbee’s Black & Blue Marlin Tournament, with participants from such places as Canada, Italy, Japan, England and Tahiti, with the majority of entries from the United States and Mexico.
As usual, it was quite a sight to see the boats lined up for the 8 a.m. shotgun start. As is the norm, many boats had headed out from the Cabo San Lucas marina in the pre-dawn hours to search for skipjack or small yellowfin to use as bait, and then had to rush back to get behind the line to avoid being disqualified.
The first day of the Cabo San Lucas competition, fishing was slow, not just for those in the contest but for all the charter fleet, but by 2 p.m Gato Negro a 39-foot Hatteras, backed up to the dock with what would be the first qualifier of the tournament, a 342-pound blue marlin.
(Minimum weight was set at 300 pounds. Anybody boating and weighing a fish of a lesser weight would be penalized with negative points. Points could also be attained by releasing smaller blues and blacks as well as striped marlin and sailfish.)
There were a smattering of other fish reported as being released but the only other fish weighed in was at 4 p.m. by Sr. Moment, a 50-foot Viking, whose fish weighed 412 pounds, for angler Steve Esrick from Aspen, CO. This was Steve’s first try at this event and he was pleased, as the day’s earnings for this fish were $431,000, as they were in all the jackpot categories.
Next day out, boats were off eagerly. If there were two fish over 300 pounds, then there had to be more. This day, boats headed mostly to the Pacific were the Sr. Moment’s fish had been caught the previous day. Despite effort put forth, not one fish was weighed in on day two that could surpass the 300-pound mark. This boosted hopes for team Sr. Moment seeing as they had the biggest fish of the tournament so far and if no other qualifying fish were weighed on the third and final day, they would have a clean sweep of all of the jackpot money.
This was not to be though, the organizer breathed a sigh of relief as hookups on blue marlin started to come over the radio. After Midnight reported having a fish on board, but said they preferred to stay out to try their luck at something larger, which kept everybody wondering all day as to what their strategy was.
Around 4 p.m. the 60-foot Ocean Que Sera backed into the weigh station. Now, the locals, knew this had to be a good fish, as captain Nayo Winkler is a well-liked native of this area and known to be a superb fisherman. The crowd gasped when the fish was brought out into view. It was big, After hoisting it up there was a moment of silence and anticipation as the numbers rang out over the crowd: “Five-hundred and sixty-five,” followed by cheers and whooping, especially by the team members.
Now it was a waiting game, to see who else would bring a fish to the scale. Next to the weigh-in was a local 31-foot Bertram, Mucho Loco. Their fish didn’t look as big, but it turned out to be a respectable 371-pounds, which looked good for a place in the money.
Next came After Midnight, amongst muttering. This was the boat that had been awarded first place in 2000 after the controversial disqualification of hometown favorite, Minerva. However their fish was a qualifier at 444 pounds.
Team Que Sera were in a celebrating mood, that is until they realized there was still a boat hooked up, to what was supposed to be a huge marlin. In fact they had been on the fish for over four hours. Tension mounted as teams hung around for the last fish to come in.
The sun set and still everybody waited. Eventually the silhouette of the 42-foot Uniflite, Jackpot was seen backing up to the scale with a nice fish on the swim step. Everybody held their breath as it was hoisted up and again silence as the numbers began to be called out: “Four-hundred and eighty-four,” before the crowd erupted into cheering. The winning fish was taken on the Pacific side off of the Candelaria Canyon. It hit the lure being trolled three times, before taking a firm hold. The lure was a blue-and-pink Marlin Magic lure called Henry and the fight lasted just 45 minutes, for angler Brady Bunte from Carlsbad, CA.
MONIES WERE DISTRIBUTED AS FOLLOWS:
Winnings consist of a tournament place award plus the jackpots they were entered in.
1st Place: Que Sera, 565-pound blue marlin, for angler Brady Bunte, Carlsbad, Ca. Winnings: $1,165,000, plus a new Porsche Carrera, the biggest payout in the tournament’s history.
2nd Place: Jackpot, 484-pound blue marlin, for angler Leonardo Felix Ruiz, Cabo. Winnings: $108,945. They were not entered in all jackpot divisions.
3rd Place: After Midnight, 444-pound blue, for Mike Cromer, Ohai Ca. Winnings: $66,825. They were not entered in all jackpot divisions.
4th Place: Senor Moment, 412-pound blue marlin, for Steve Esrick, Aspen, Co. Winnings: $446,130. They were in all the jackpots.
5th Place: Mucho Loco, 371-pound blue marlin, for Bill Williams, Manchester, Ct. Winnings: $9720. They were not in all the jackpots.
1st Place: El Vato, 3 blue marlin, $64,643.
2nd Place: Molly Rose, 3 blue marlin, $22,376.
3rd Place: Predator, 2 blue marlin, $12,431.
Overall a total of 43 billfish were released at Cabo San Lucas during the three-day fishing tournamment, which is considered very slow for this area.
(Related Cabo San Lucas articles and reports may be found at Mexfish.com's main Cabo San Lucas information page. See weekly fishing news, photos, and reports from the major sportfishing vacation areas of Mexico including the Cabo San Lucas area in "Mexico Fishing News.")