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Gary Graham – ROAD TREKKER

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Wednesday, June 27, 2018
Bob Bisbee Sr., a Baja Legend
Thursday, July 26, 2018
Fads, fact and fiction

The kids are the Stars and the Marlin are the Stripes
The 22nd Annual Stars and Stripes Charity Tournament June 28-July 1 — was a one-off design featuring a blend of sportfishing, golf and so much more. During the 22 years, this feel-good affair has now raised more than $30 million on behalf of kids in Baja and the United States. Like every other year, it sold out, filling the Hilton Los Cabos Beach Resort on the Carretera Transpeninsular, Los Cabos, BCS, along the Sea of Cortez, drawing anglers from around the world.

This year, the event unfortunately coincided with Hurricane Bud and although it had been downgraded to a tropical storm earlier in the month, it left unsettled conditions, including off-color water and erratic sea temperatures inside the 40-mile radius fishing grid, according to teams that pre-fished the area several days prior to the tournament.

congratulationstoallCONGRATULATIONS TO ALL the teams participating in this event that raised $3.6 million during four days for kids’ charities on both sides of the border.

That intel, plus the impending full moon cycle, added up to discouraging prospects. Even so, the charity tournament attracted 61 teams with 232 anglers.

Apprehensive anglers and crews gathered at the iconic Chileno Bay, originally made famous by the pioneering Bud Parr, the American builder of the Hotel Cabo San Lucas in 1961, but now only a fading memory with a single sprawling “Casa” remaining from the original hotel, now surrounded by new homes under construction along with a hotel and clubhouse facility.

Newly implemented for the tournament was the “Tag and Release Division,” sponsored in part by “Gray Tag Research.”

The highly sought after Royal Slam would be given to any angler landing fish in three categories — yellowfin tuna, dorado and wahoo — as well as releasing a billfish.

The fleet of 40-plus boats ranged from an 80-foot, tricked-out, deluxe Viking Sportfisher to an equally well-outfitted, center-console 33-foot Grady White with three gleaming outboards; they crowded the start line as Director “Dicko” Gebhard perched on the bow, grasping his flare pistol tightly, pointed toward the sky and fired at precisely 8 a.m. Roaring to life, boats sped toward the horizon in a black-smoke and white-water world of pandemonium.

Tournament Command Center waited anxiously for that first radio call announcing a hookup. Would the pre-fish chatter of “slow fishing” along with “full moon-no bites theory” be confirmed? No. At exactly 8:30 the radio crackled to life as Team Enterprise aboard the “El Regalo” announced the first striped marlin hookup of the day as the command center crew grinned and exchanged high-fives.

From that first hookup, there were few lulls in the action; captain after captain called in mostly billfish, along with a handful of dorado and a few yellowfin tuna. The final striped marlin was landed by “Team Hook” just prior to lines out at 3:30 p.m.

The final tally for the day? An impressive 50 billfish, 10 yellowfin tuna and 6 dorado, plus a swordfish boated by angler Michael Fitzgerald and Team FISHING FOOLS.

Junior Angler, 12-year-old Cole Fearnow, Team FISH OTTA WATER, landed a 36-pound dorado, which put him in competition for the largest fish caught by a junior.

Everyone was delighted at the number of marlin caught and released on the first day and were eager to see if the following day would be the more of the same.

Saturday morning, Dana Bowman parachuted with a huge Mexican flag fluttering behind him in honor of that nation’s national Election Day followed by the 8 a.m. firing of the flare pistol to re-start the tournament.

Surprisingly, the pace quickened as the volume of billfish released continued to climb throughout the day. The competition in the release division was intense and the leader board changed repeatedly up until the final few minutes of the exciting finish.

After the data had been recorded and reviewed during the two-day event, the final tally was 117 striped marlin, 1 swordfish and 1 sailfish achieving a 1.95-billfish average per team.

In the game fish division, there were 28 yellowfin tuna and 11 dorado landed and brought to the scale.

STARS AND STRIPES SPONSORS — Baja Sur's Secretary of Fisheries, Andres Cordova Urrutia, donated an invitation to the Stars and Stripes winning team overall to participate in the Annual Torneo Gran Final Serial Calisureños, held Aug. 10-12, 2018.

2018 Stars and Stripes Winners

Top Release Team



3rd SAYGUNITE 1 & 2 11

Heaviest Dorado




Heaviest Tuna

1st HELIX ELECTRIC ROBERT BOSPLUG Yellowfin Tuna 41-pounds

2nd CHRIS JONES GOLD TEAM MARK CRIPE Yellowfin Tuna 38-pounds

3rd HELIX ELECTRIC ROBERT BOSPLUG Yellowfin Tuna 36-pounds

2018 Stars and Stripes

Daily Winners

Day 1 Heaviest Fish


2nd HELIX ELECTRIC ROBERT BOSPLUG Yellowfin Tuna 24-pounds

3rd CATCHIN ' A BUZZ ALEX BACARDI Yellowfin Tuna 23-pounds

Day 2 Heaviest Fish

1st HELIX ELETRIC ROBERT BOSPLUG Yellowfin Tuna 41-pounds

2nd FISHING FOOLS Yellowfin Tuna 39-pounds

3rd CORONA BEACH DAVE CHRISTIANSON Yellowfin Tuna 24-pounds

Heaviest Weighed Fish of Tournament

1st HELIX ELECTRIC ROBERT BOSPLUG Yellowfin Tuna 41-pounds

Regardless of the “full moon theory” (when, according to theory, fish are not supposed to bite), the Stars and Stripes Charity Tournament tallied more than 121 billfish in its newly-implemented Release Division.

The top three teams each racked up double-digit tags and releases in the two-day event; pretty awesome for Baja stripers, but even more awesome for the charities that will reap the benefits of this one-off unique affair!

Congratulations to ALL the teams participating in this event that raised $3.6 million during four days for kids’ charities on both sides of the border.

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