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Tuesday, October 16, 2018
It’s transition time for Baja Sur


500-pound marlin, cow tuna pace Cabo action
TOURNEYS SCORE BIG FISH, DISH OUT BUCKS

 

Chupacabra’s 499-pound blue tops 20th annual Los Cabos Billfish Tournament for big fish, 522 pounder by Team Predator takes Baby Bisbee’s Offshore title, as tourney fever continues; Up next in Cabo this week big money Bisbee’s Black & Blue Marlin Tournament, with the 20th annual Cabo Tuna Jackpot on deck Nov. 7-10


WILD HOOKER accepts its kudos at the awards dinner at Maria Corona's restaurant. A total o163 fish were caught; 5 billfish exceeded the minimum weight of 300 pounds and a total of 8 tuna and several dorado were brought to the scale. There were 123 teams, 763 anglers, competing for  $1,165,000. Wild Hooker earned   $520,485 for its 458-pound fish. It was the second biggest of the event behind Team Predator's  522 pounder. 

 

CABO SAN LUCAS – It was a helluva way to honor the late Bob Bisbee. The man who started the Jackpot Tournament Fishing Mania back when Cabo was a sleepy village would have been proud. The “Baby Bisbee’s” Los Cabos Offshore Championship held Friday and Saturday had a record number of boats for the event at 122 entrants, and a record payout of $1.163 million handed out to eight teams.

 There were 123 teams, 763 anglers, competing for  $1,165,000. Wild Hooker earned the most dough, $520,485 for its 458-pound fish second biggest of the event behind Team Predator's  522 pounder. 


The awards ceremony was Sunday night, and the following day several boats held a memorial service off Cabo’s famous arch to spread Bob Bisbee’s ashes. WON’s Gary Graham was on hand for the event, which followed the Marlin magazine Los Cabos Billfsh Tournament staged earlier in the week. Graham will stick around for the granddaddy this week, the Bisbee’s Black & Blue Marlin Tournament which attracts teams from around the world.


Tournament madness in Cabo will continue with the biggest team tourney in Mexico, the WON Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot that celebrates its 20th year with two days of fishing the 8th and 9th. There are a few local tournaments being held as well.


Before we get to the Bisbee’s results, the first event held last week was the 20th annual Marlin magazine Los Cabos Billfish Tournament staged the 14th to 16th. A total of 52 teams paid $5,000 to $20,000 in various categories. There was a dual shotgun start out of Marina Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Los Cabos Marina in San Jose del Cabo, allowing teams to start closer to preferred fishing grounds.


There were 33 boats that left from Cabo San Lucas and 19 boats from Marina Puerto Los Cabo 30 miles away in San Jose del Cabo. The tourney awarded $642,300 in cash and prizes to fishing teams catching the largest marlin, tuna, wahoo and dorado, as well as the top three billfish-release-points teams and daily high-point-release teams. For results, go to the Marlin Magazine tournament website. 


The champion of the event was Team Sea Angel with releases of 28 stripers and one blue marlin (no weigh-ins) and took home $113,500. Team Chupacabra, weighing in a 499-pound blue marlin the third day of fishing and took second and ton $195,950. Team Carpe Diem placed second with a 467-pound blue marlin but won an estimated $81,750 in first day optionals.

THE OVERALL WINNER OF THE 20TH ANNUAL Los Cabos Billfish Tournament was Team Sea Angel, scoring 1,700 points. Sea Angel didn’t weigh any fish, but thanks to their 28 striped marlin releases and one blue marlin release, they were able to hold onto the top spots in the Overall Team Division and Overall Release Points Jackpot. Plus, they won the Day Two Release Points Jackpot. The team, consisting of Capt. Billy Chase “BC” Angel, Andrea Angel, Greg Angel, Austin Angel, Chase Travers, Fico Ortega and Juan Carlos Buenes, earned $113,500.


Another highlight was a 363-pound black marlin, caught by Redrum Sportfishing’s Ryan Donovan of Team Second Wind that won all four levels of the day 2 Daily Blue Marlin Jackpot, totaling at least $80,000 in prize money. Another good story, albeit a hard luck one, came from Team Don Luis, which hooked a black marlin estimated at 800 pounds and fought the fish for 10 hours on day two. In the darkness of night, the team brought the fish to leader at boat side but was lost.  More details were just added to the end of this blog. Scroll down for the official press release. 

***

Back to the 122-boat Bisbee’s Los Cabos Offshore Tournament that is commonly named the Baby Bisbee’s. With a payout over $1 million for the first time, it’s growing up fast.  Here is how it went down over two days.


Around 1 p.m. the first day Team Predator reported that team member Jarrod Smith was hooked up to a big blue marlin. Forty-seven minutes later the team jubilantly reported that they had landed a huge fish and were headed to the weigh station, reported WON’s Gary Graham who was on hand. He and hundreds of others watched as the 522-pound billfish was hoisted as teammates Morgan North (boat owner), Jarrod Smith (angler), Gary Willmott and Jose Grejeda watched. 


The team was across the board and won $333,418 as the only team with a qualifying billfish on day one over 300 pounds. Complete results of the tuna and marlin release categories and winners are on the Bisbee’s website. We will go over some of the highlights, though.


The second and final day of the Offshore, the action cranked up several notches. Team Los Compadres Del Dorado arrived with the first black marlin of the day. It was caught by angler Luis Roman Duran Lopez, a local businessman who owns a hardware store in town, reported Graham.


Spectators gathered quickly to gawk at the black marlin draped over the edges of the swim-step of the Edith III, a 33-foot Crystaliner at the IGY Marina Dock. A posse of dock workers wrestled the big marlin onto a cart and marched it down the malecon with a parade of mid-day Cabo tourists parting before them.


“When hoisted, it was 455 pounds, placing the team in an early lead for the largest billfish of Day Two. Duran said that they had caught it on a live skipjack on a downrigger,” said Graham. “It took the bait and spit it, only to return and swallow the bait whole on the second try. The battle lasted 1 hour, 25 minutes….”


The next visitor to the scale was fishing the Baby Bisbee’s Offshore for the first time. And to mix things up, Team Bill Collector’s Canadian angler Haddon Barnes, arrived with a 43.3-pound yellowfin tuna, putting his team at the atop the tuna leader board.


Barnes was followed by angler, Chad Carter, aboard the Knot Working from Central Florida, who weighed in a 147-pound yellowfin tuna. Mike Timon, the boat’s owner, told Graham that “We’ve been in this position many times and get knocked off by a few pounds. We lost one yesterday twice this size.”


And sure enough, Timon’s statement proved prophetic, as the next yellowfin caught on the boat Overtime by Ryan Moser, Denver, Colorado, of Team Overtime weighed 235 pounds. The fish ate a Crane lure. The fish would stay in the top spot and would earn the Overtime just over $129,000.


PREDATOR was the tourney champion and day 1 overall winner with this 522 pounder in the two-day Bisbee’s Offshore Championship in Cabo that ended competition on Friday. The tourney set event records for teams and payouts at 123 boats, $1.16 million.

OVERTIME with Ryan Mosser the captain, caught the biggest tuna of the Bisbee’s Los Cabos Offshore tourney, a 235 pounder.


The Wild Hooker arrived next with veteran angler Danny Hogan who placed in a Bisbee’s tournament last year. As his fish was being hoisted to be weighed, team member Allen Stuart murmured as he eyed the fish, “Now I know what it’s like to be in third place.”


When Hogan’s black marlin tipped the scale at 458 pounds, the team and crowd roared their approval. Hogan told Graham they only had one bite on a skipjack in the two days – “It was a one strike/one fish,” he said. The fish earned the anglers over $522,485.


In the Billfish Category, Team Second Wind with local angler Ryan Donovan, Redrum Sportfishing, (with a home team advantage) had a 404-pound black marlin on theSea Windwhich failed to find a place on the leader board as well. However, the smaller sized didn’t curb Donovan’s enthusiasm.


“I’m stoked on the momentum Team Second Wind has going,” he told Graham. “This black did come in a little smaller than a few others at 404 pounds, but in addition to this one, our team weighed in a 200-, a 300- and a 400-pound class fish!” Donovan does have bragging rights for landing qualifiers in the last two local tournaments, and as this is being written there is still the Black and Blue coming up this week and the Cabo Tuna Jackpot a week later, which Donovan has won.


The Fish Whisperer brought in the final yellowfin tuna and the final fish of this year’s Los Cabos Offshore Tournament. Angler Jeff Johnson, from Michigan, fishing only his second Bisbee event, with Team Fish Whisperer, brought in a 151-pound yellowfin tuna -- more than tripling the weight of the yellowfin he caught on Day One which weighed 48 pounds.


“Although not filled with the most bountiful of fish, this tournament has certainly had enough excitement, competition and challenges to keep the event interesting,” said Graham.


THE OVERALL WINNER OF THE 20TH ANNUAL Los Cabos Billfish Tournament was Team Sea Angel, scoring 1,700 points. Sea Angel didn’t weigh any fish, but thanks to their 28 striped marlin releases and one blue marlin release, they were able to hold onto the top spots in the Overall Team Division and Overall Release Points Jackpot. Plus, they won the Day Two Release Points Jackpot. The team  earned $113,500.


In other Baja news…


SAN JOSE DEL CABO – Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas reported fall weather patterns, more anglers with cooler weather and tournaments, and all he can say is, let’s kepp our fingers crossed.

“Daytime highs still are in the mid to upper 80s,” said Brictson, despite mornings as low as 65 degrees. “We have been watching a series of tropical low pressure areas off of Southern mainland Mexico, and it’s very late in the season now for these systems to develop in tropical storms, but you never know these days with global climate changes. We are hoping no storms head our way during this busy time


He said the high pressure conditions have “cleaned out” the sardinas which had been schooling around the Puerto Los Cabos Marina jetties for several months now, but there are new sources now off of Chileno Bay and surely they will be scouting areas further north. Squid supplies have maintained, but are likely to become scarce in coming weeks as well. Other options will include ballyhoo, caballito and chihuil, he said.

GORDO BANKS PANGAS reported the Iman Bank was still the spot producing the better grade of tuna, yellowfin tuna ranging up to 100 pounds were landed, though these fish were few and far between, with anglers fortunate to land one on lighter line required for a hookup, but some anglers were getting lucky and landing up to three of them.

“Last Sunday we felt strong south winds, since then the wind has been coming mainly from the north, already fairly strong for this early in the season, hopefully this will calm down, has contributed to the cooling water trend,” said Brictson. “Sportfishing fleets are fishing in all different directions, since there is no particular hot spot, action has been spread out, variety of fish are in the area, but no large concentrations of any particular species. The yellowfin tuna action slowed down this week, the Iman Bank was still the spot producing the better grade of tuna, yellowfin tuna ranging up to 100 pounds were landed, though these fish were few and far between, fortunate to land one, some anglers were getting lucky and landing up to three of the tuna. Off of Cabo San Lucas there was a bite for smaller tuna off of Santa Maria, as well as offshore yellowfin associated with porpoise.”

Good news for wahoo anglers and especially those targeting them in the Cabo Tuna Jackpot in a few weeks is that the cooling current seemed to make the wahoo a bit more active, as many more of these fish are being reported. 

“A small percentage landed, quite a few others being lost, not many anglers had been specifically targeting these fish yet, because they just not had been biting much,” he said. “This will all change soon, with water temperatures now in the ideal range, slow trolling trap hooked live chihuil is always one of the more productive techniques, of course chihuil at times are not a guarantee to come by. Wahoo also hit on Rapalas, Yo-Zuri's, skirted lead heads and a few on yo-yo jigs.” Few dorado were seen. Billfishing was best near Cabo San Lucas, though local grounds off of San Jose did produce scattered action, said Brictson.

EAST CAPE – John Ireland of Hotel Rancho Leonero said on Sunday morning that rough water last week with Tropical Storm Sergio that followed early last week gave way to calm conditions, with the water temp a nice 81 to 82 degrees and the air in the low 80’s.

Finally the fishing is picking back up,” said Ireland. “Last week was tough, this past week the bite has improved! A strong billfish bite all week and the last couple of days we’ve seen the return of yellowfin and dorado. Yesterday we had two Rapalas and one Marauder bitten off, so we know the wahoo are around. The bottom fishing slowed. Lots of small to medium-sized roosterfish were released all week. Good live sardine and caballito bait was available.


Ireland said the yellowfin are the main draw with some boats limiting all boats catching 10- 20-pound fish. Mostly on sardine north off Punta Pescadeo one or two miles offshore.

Those hunting billfish have penty of targets he said with blues, stripers and sailfish all plentiful and biting at the La Ribera drop off and north off Pescadero. Dorado kicked up their size and numbers a few notches, said Ireland, schooling in the same areas as the tuna.

“Lot’s and lots of schooling peanuts released, with a few nice bulls mixed in,” said Ireland.

THE EAST CAPE season continues to amaze, and Accurate reels, the official reels of the Cabo Tuna Jackpot this year, were being put their paces last week by Accurate founder Jack Nilsen, middle,  while fishing with his buddy (we’re thinking they might be long-lost brothers) Capt. Mark Rayor of the Jen Wren Fleet. They were fishing with the new Accurate Tern Star Drag Reel 400 and Accurate Valiant 400 matched to the New Accurate Valiant 70M rod. Rayor said, “These were the perfect Light tackle setups for billfish and school-sized tuna.”


LA PAZ – Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter International said two weeks ago the weather changed dramatically. Almost overnight temperatures dropped precipitously from the mid-to-high-90’s down to the mid-to-low-80’s. Humidity disappeared and the northern winds or winter started kicking up waves and chop. 


“The fishing fell off drastically as well,” said Roldan. “After such a good long season, I was about to declare the season pretty much done. I figured the season had just ended a bit sooner than we expected because we normally don’t see these kinds of conditions until November.


“So, for about a week and a half, including the beginning of this past week, fishing was difficult. We had to scratch for everything we got with waters, changing current, wind, all contributed to an anemic bite and little bait to be found.”

LAURA BUCHANAN HAS A HUGE DOG-TOOTH snapper caught just outside of Bahia de los Muertos near La Paz using a whole bonito in shallow water. Laura lives in San Diego. She was fishing with Tailhunter Adventures.


But then, about mid-week, he saw had a change. The temperatures and humidity started to rise. The winds calmed down just a bit. Bait became more readily available.


“And little-by-little, the bite improved,” said Roldan. “A few more tuna. A few more dorado. Some wahoo. Pargo, big dogtooth and cabrilla. Even a few billfish. Not what it had been, but a zillion percent better than two weeks ago and the beginning of this past week.”


He added, “There’s no doubt that the season is changing. Winter conditions have definitely started to move in earlier than we would have liked.”


CEDROS ISLAND – Jose Angel Sanchez, owner of the Cedros Outdoor Adventures with his wife Melanie are in the final weeks of their season at the island hosting anglers at The Baja Magic Lodge. This past week, he reported Oct. 15, the island gave up some big white seabass for fly-in anglers.



"Using (some of) the words of a known personality (Tom Hanks) in Forrest Gump) ‘October is like a box of chocolates," said Sanchez at the island. "A couple days ago and yesterday (Oct. 13 and 14) several 40-plus-pound white seabass were caught on the south of the island by all of our anglers. And just a few days ago there were dorado and yellowtail. It’s been an interesting month with most days of good to outstanding catches. Limits of yellowtail many days, and regular yellowtail of 30 pounds. It’s been different from last year and the year before when there were a lot more tuna and dorado, but it’s fishing.”




BIG WHITE SEABASS turned up for the boys at the island’s Baja Magic Lodge as well as yellows as the season for Cedros Outdoor Adventures. continues.


LORETO – Rick Hill of Loretotours.com said fishing continues to be enjoyable with the focus leaving the dorado behind. The weather was tough last week with winds but this week looks calm.


“Sierra and roosterfish are churning up the nearshore waters in good numbers,” said Hill. “The water temperatures remain high enough to keep the cabrilla and shallow water snappers activated. Roosters in the 12-pound range are being caught off the rocks at the marina most afternoons. We still have good numbers of sardina which should keep the bigger fish in the eating mode.”


Ricky Trevor, captain of the Cast ‘N Reel charterboat based out of Marina Puerto Escondido, was contacted Sunday.


“Bottom fishing is starting to pick up again,” said Trevor. “ And, there’s a lot of tuna, marlin, and sailfish outside. We had a lot of wind the past week so we didn’t get out much. But we’re headed out tomorrow to try and get on the tuna again. We’ll have calmer water Monday through Thursday.”


The marina, recently expanded with docks and dredging and new facilities for larger boats is being formally unveiled to the media and Mexican dignitaries Nov. 3.

  Radio Channel 28 stayed lively all three days of the 20th Annual Los Cabos Billfish tournament, with the tournament fleet averaging 50 releases each day. Last year, anglers released 61 blues and 31 striped marlin; this year, the striped marlin bite returned with a fury. In total, the fleet of 52 boats caught 150 billfish, consisting of 109 stripes, 29 blues, five blacks, five sailfish and two spearfish. Days one and two saw stronger afternoon bites, while day three’s afternoon bite was the slowest of the tournament.


Fishing teams were competing for $642,300 in cash, plus prizes.


The overall winner of the 20th Annual Los Cabos Billfish Tournament was Team Sea Angel, scoring 1,700 points. Sea Angel didn’t weigh any fish, but thanks to their 28 striped marlin releases and one blue marlin release, they were able to hold onto the top spots in the Overall Team Division and Overall Release Points Jackpot. Plus, they won the Day Two Release Points Jackpot. The team, consisting of Capt. Billy Chase “BC” Angel, Andrea Angel, Greg Angel, Austin Angel, Chase Travers, Fico Ortega and Juan Carlos Buenes, earned $113,500 for their efforts and an invitation to the 2019 Offshore World Championship in Costa Rica. For his outstanding showing, Capt. BC Angel won the top captain and received a Garmin Quatix watch.


Download day three photos and awards images from the 2018 Los Cabos Billfish Tournament.


The Los Cabos Billfish Tournament awards 300 points for black and blue marlin releases, while striped marlin, sailfish and spearfish are just 50 points. Marlin weighed over the 300-pound minimum are awarded points based on their weight. In 2018, each pound was worth 1.5 points, so a 500-pound black marlin catch earned 750 points. 


The Los Cabos Billfish Tournament point system favors blue and black marlin releases, or catching a monster marlin for weigh-in, but Team Sea Angel was able to defy the odds by totaling 28 striped marlin releases. The year 2018 was the first time a team not weighing a marlin won first-place team in the tournament.


Second-place in the Overall Team Division went to Team Chupacabra with 1,548.5 points. The team released two blue marlin and four striped marlin for 800 points. On the third day of fishing, angler Blake Stamper landed a 499-pound blue marlin worth 748.5 points. The monster blue marlin won all four levels of the Day Three Marlin Jackpot and the Overall Largest Marlin Jackpot. The team, consisting of Capt. Clay Hensley, Bo Jenyns, Jason Douglas, Blake Stamper, Don Stamper, Don Logue and Pablo Pino, earned $195,950, the largest check of the tournament.


 TEAM CHUPACABRA second overall with 1,548.5 points as it   released two blue marlin and four striped marlin for 800 points. On the third day of fishing, angler Blake Stamper landed a 499-pound blue marlin worth 748.5 points. The monster blue marlin won all four levels of the Day Three Marlin Jackpot and the Overall Largest Marlin Jackpot.  Capt. Clay Hensley, Bo Jenyns, Jason Douglas, Blake Stamper, Don Stamper, Don Logue and Pablo Pino earned $195,950, the largest of the event. 


Third-place in the Overall Team Division was secured by Team El Suertudo with 1,400 points with four blue marlin, three striped marlin and one spearfish. The team also scored the Day One Release Points Jackpot and Second-Place Overall Release Points Jackpot. Their top-three finishes earned them $57,780 in total. The El Suertudo team consisted of Capt. Greg DiStefano, Bruce McDonald, Alfonso Ortega, Guy Yocom, Oswaldo Ortega, Gary Mason, Dave Elow, Azam Flores and Noe Isaias Cruz.


Download a release video from Team El Suertudo on day three of the Los Cabos Billfish Tournament.


Three qualifying marlin were caught during the tournament, with Team Chupacabra’s the heaviest. But two other marlin catches on days one and two won teams Carpe Diem and Second Wind large cash payouts.


On day one, Carpe Diem’s Dr. Rick McShane landed a 467-pound blue marlin. The blue marlin won all four levels of the Day One Marlin Jackpot, earning $81,750 for the team. The 2018 Carpe Diem team was made up of Capt. Jeff Hamm, Dr. Ricky McShane, James McDonald, Gary Benson, Kellium Tice, Alex Hill and Juan Manuel.


On day two, Team Second Wind won the day with a 363-pound black marlin caught by angler Ryan Donovan. The catch solidified all four levels of the Day Two Marlin Jackpot and second place in the Overall Largest Marlin Jackpot for a grand total of $119,550. Second Wind got redemption with their day-two catch after weighing a marlin on day one that was seven pounds shy of the qualifying weight of 300 pounds. The Second Wind team consisted of Capt. TJ Dobson, John LaGrone, Ryan Donovan, Tony Frascone, Erik Chang and Jerry Bribiesca.


Team Yahoo had two strong days of striped marlin fishing after a slow first day to win third place in the Overall Release Points Jackpot. On day three, the team also won the Daily Release Points Jackpot with 12 striped marlin released worth 600 points. Team Yahoo consisted of Capt. Ricardo Escamilla, Bryce Schell, Mike McKamey, Kurtis McKamey, Jose Escamilla, Ricardo Escamilla and Valentine Ucamp. In total, the team won a check worth $18,420.


Teams entered in the Tuna/Wahoo/Dorado Jackpot who weighed gamefish species were also able to get on the winner’s stage and take home cash prizes. No qualifying dorado were landed over the three days of fishing so that prize money was distributed to the tuna and wahoo winners. On day three, no qualifying wahoo were caught, so that purse was split between the day one and two winners.


A  rundown of the tourney days:


Day One: Angler Edward Cota, of Team Estella Del Norte, landed a 66-pound yellowfin tuna to win the Largest Tuna Daily Jackpot. The fish won Team Estrella Del Norte $10,762. The team consisted of Capt. Adrian Miranda, James E Rosenwald, Daniel Camacho, Adrian Miranda and Edward Cota. Angler Jesus Garcia, of Team El Animal, landed a 37.2-pound wahoo to win the Largest Wahoo Daily Jackpot. The fish won Team El Animal $13,837. The team consisted of Capt. Hugo Beas, Jesus Garcia, Jose Roberto Sanchez, Jose Macias and Daniel Fiol.


Day Two: Angler Scott Leonard, of Team Game Time, landed a 31.3-pound yellowfin tuna to win the Largest Tuna Daily Jackpot. The fish won Team Game Time $10,762. The team consisted of Capt. Javier Zamaya, Kris Anderson, Scott Leonard, Matt Condon and Manuel Gil. Angler Jim Smith, of Team Mjolnir, landed a 43.9-pound wahoo to win the Largest Wahoo Daily Jackpot. The team consisted of Capt. David Harris, Brandon Walton, Jim Smith, Brandon Baiocco, Jared Dow and Kevin School.


Day Three: Angler Jim Smith, of Team Mjolnir, landed a 70.3-pound yellowfin tuna to win the Largest Tuna Daily Jackpot. For their day two and three catches, the team won $19,987.


Contributing to this report by Pat McDonell was Gary Graham. To submit reports for WONEWs.com and its  Baja Blog, send info to baja@wonews.com.


 

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