"Fish hard, party harder"
The 17th Annual WON/Yamaha Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot finished my involvement in the Fall Los Cabos Tournament series with a flourish. Whew! It is always a treat to be part of the Bisbee, Bonnier and WON events.
I left my home-away-from-home, Theresa Comber's East Cape RV Resort in Los Barriles, (www.eastcaperv.com/) at dawn on Wednesday, Nov. 11, early in the morning. The road was in excellent shape with little road construction to delay my drive north. Stopping in Loreto for several meetings, I then continued to Don Johnson's Hotel Serenidad in Mulege. (http://www.serenidad.com.mx/). First time I've stayed there in a while, and I enjoyed my visit.
The drive up Mex 1, with bugs smacking the windshield and my satellite radio blaring tunes, was the perfect setting for me to recall the odds and ends of details about the whirlwind Los Cabos Jackpot Tournament.
The four-day tournament was a marathon of activities – registration; Yo-Zuri party; Thursday morning start boat; 6 a.m. – 8 a.m. aboard Cabo Escape; fishing from 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Weigh station 2p.m. -6p.m. Friday, Costa Party aboard Cabo Escape a.m. – 9 a.m.; Fishing, 7 a.m. - 4 p.m.; Fiesta Dinner Party, 7:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.; Saturday Awards Banquet, 5:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Wednesday's check-in always seems to be the cornerstone, setting the tone of the event with the motto, "Fish hard, party harder!"
Each time I attend the event, the number of teams and sponsors has climbed. And this year wasn't any different. It was the largest number ever. When I asked teams why they came year after year, they replied. “because of the fun, camaraderie and competition.”
Team members and their fans arrive garbed in “wacky” but well thought out designed t-shirts with team names and logos and in some cases the number of years they had participated. And they all seemed to be having a great time; cares had been left behind and their evening was wrapped in laughter and tales of fishing.
Sponsors and spectators drawn to the format grow in numbers each year as well.
Sponsors arrive eager to showcase their newest products. During the afternoon check-in, participants make the rounds of their tables where the new items are placed in the hands of saltwater anglers to be used during the next two days of serious fishing.
The attending sponsors included: Dave and Amy Bulthuis and Chet Bulthuis of Costa Sunglasses; Buddy and Wendi Prause of Yo-Zuri Lures; Okuma, John Bretza, Dave Brown, Doug Lasko and Sam Brenner; Frank Johnson lll, and his wife Karen, Mold Craft Lures; Steve Miller, Brian Evans, Jeff Slater and Dale Hightower, Seaguar; Baja Cantina, Daniella Estrada and Jorge Gonzalez;Bill Dobbelaer, Pam Lorenz of WIN-TEAM Ashlee Fuller, Gray Taxidermy; Lupita Lomelin Cabo Cigar Company; Dale and Grace Cote, Dreammaker Charters and Gricelda's Smokehouse; Minerva and Bob Smith, Minerva's Tackle; Hector Montaño, API; Manager, Darren Carey, IGY Marina Cabo San Lucas; Antonio Tirado, National Car Rental; Ana Gutiérrez and Hilario Rodríguez, Tesoro Hotel; and Brian and Dawn Solomon, Solomon’s Landing.
In addition the following support the tournament;
Yamaha, Plano Tackle Boxes, Cousins Tackle, Kingfisher Charters, American Fishing Wire, Hi-Seas and Triple Fish Line & Leader, Terrafin, Jon Petty, Goldsmith, Mud Hole, WIN-TEAM, Minerva's Tackle and Baja Big Fish Gear
Although the fishing was slower than expected, apparently due to the amount of pressure on the fish by several commercial tuna seiners in the area, the teams met the challenge of the additional pressure, and all the categories were filled. The second largest amount of prize money offered in the fall Los Cabos series of tournaments was distributed to the five lucky winning teams totaling $649,800. In fact, it is the second highest paying tournament in all of Mexico. Possibly the world. If there are any higher than Bisbee’s and The Tuna Jackpot, let me know.
Throughout the event, raffles were held for a laundry list of items contributed by both attending and non-attending sponsors. The proceeds of $38-$40,000 benefited Smiles International and will be matched by pharmaceutical companies.
Several competitions added more fun to the evening, with prizes which included an Alaska Kingfisher Lodge trip for two, Costa sunglasses, and eight certificates for all meals during the 2016 tournament at Baja Cantina.
Once again the "Fish hard, party harder" tournament was formatted to allow everyone to enjoy the event whether they met the challenge of big game fishing or were just a spectator or fan.
By the time I arrived at my home in Lake Elsinore on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015, at 5:30p.m., I had come to the conclusion that every attendee had a great trip to the fishing capital of Baja as a direct result of the efforts of the staff of the Los Cabos Jackpot Tournament. No wonder old teams return and new teams sign up!
Although the fishing was slower than expected, apparently due to the amount of pressure on the fish by several commercial tuna seiners in the area. The pressure is on Mexican fisheries to put tuna on the “sportfish” list for coastal protection or at least create a no-commercial zone around the Baja Cape” area.