Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot Tournament

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Monday, November 05, 2018
Cow tuna on the porpoise

A record payout confirmed
More than 820,000, 159 teams

Signups today is going on, and we have an unofficial count of 159 teams, and the highest ever total of money in the pots, $821,000 and climbing as we confirm wires coming in. People are taking this 20th year thing seriously!
more details to come as we finish check-in and we hold the welcome party. Everyone is in good spirits, weather is great. Big fish are coming in. 20 and 300 pounders.

Thank you everyone for the support, we will as as a staff do everything in Cabo and WON central to make this great event over four days. Fishing is tomorrow. The Cabo Escape Costa charity charter, $30 a person, has 150 people on it tomorrow. It will be a hell of a party and teams sendoff, of the famed Cabo Arch!!

Just to add, all numbers and $$ totals as this point are unofficial.

Pat McDonell, Director.



The team on the Judy Judy with its 305-pound yellowfin tuna that took second place in last year's event. 

From the time Pat McDonell, Kit McNear and Joe Higgins approached WON Publisher Bob Twilegar with a proposal for a tuna tournament in Cabo San Lucas until now, the advent of the 20th Annual WON Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot, a lot of great fishing and partying has taken place. 

Ford Motors of Southern California actually bet that there wouldn't be a tuna over 200 pounds caught that first year, but the San Jose panga Estrella del Mar quickly proved that wrong with the tournament's first cow, a 218.9-pound yellowfin. Pat McDonell, longtime tournament director and the only WON staffer to have participated in all 20 events, recalls that a security guard tried to wave the local boat away from the docks. 

The first Tuna Jackpot champions!

A sportfishing yacht, the Tiger Spirit, with a U.S. team caught the biggest fish the second day of the first event, a 201.9 pounder, and owner Ned Wallace won the Ford pickup truck in the raffle open to all team members and promptly gave it to his skipper Mouse Libby. 

The next year the biggest fish was a 130 pounder on the Blue Thunder and the rest of the tuna in the top 5 were only in the 70-pound range, but the the champs took home the first purse over $100K.

The Gricelda moved the bar back up with a 256 in 2002 and in 2004 the Ni Modo team's 318 was the first to break the 300 mark and the overall jackpot prize pool was $590,000. 

The Ni Modo team and the first over 300.

That weighin was held at the Puerto Paraiso Mall, which was the venue for quite a few years after a one-time weighin off the beach at the old Hacienda. Now the tournament has been back in front of the Tesoro Resort for some time, located close to other longtime sponsors Gricelda's Smokehouse, Pisces Sportfishing, Minerva's Tackle and Solomon's Restaurant.

It was a meeting on the beach between McDonell and some Tuna Jackpot competitors after the weighin at the Hacienda that really set the course for the success of the WON event. After asking the participants what they wanted out of the event, McDonell would choose to focus on the parties as much as the fishing, and he also set the date in stone as starting with the checkin on the first Wednesday in November. The result has been a lot of big fish and a lot of fun.

Many words have been used to describe the accomplishment of the teams on the Estrella del Norte, and the fact that James Rosenwald is the only two-time winner, both times with huge fish over 300 pounds caught with the help of local crews.

The record for biggest fish, of course, belongs to the team on the Fisherman for a 383-pounder. The biggest pot payed out goes to former tournament champ Reel Quest, which didn't win in 2016 yet amassed two days of great catches into $331,950 of daily jackpot cash. That year saw the most entries at 167. Final numbers on teams for 2018 are just coming in. We'll keep you updated here and on the Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot and WON Facebook pages.

The 383-pound yellowfin on the 
Fisher Man. 

-- Rich Holland
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