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Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot Tournament

Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot Tournament

Welcome to the official blog of the Western Outdoor News/Yamaha Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot tournament.

We'll be using this site to offer the latest updates leading into the event and will also post daily results and highlights of the Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot competition, parties and giveaways. More information and entry forms are available by clicking here or at the Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot Web site.

Reserve your team # by March 1


Deadline has been moved up to March 1 to keep your 2018 spot this year’s event; two rule changes are announced

Western Outdoor News had a very successful tournament in the 20th year with 163 teams, up from 147 the previous year. But for the 21st run there will be two changes to the event in 2019, and one deadoine for signups has been moved up due to increased interest in the tourney and early signups. First off, the deadline for reserving your team number is now March 1. More on that later.

Rules: One change will be a new spot for the 6 p.m. weigh-in deadline for boats. It will not be the inner harbor. It has been too dangerous as boats speed in to make the deadline, creating issues with the harbor police and other boaters, so the outer harbor will be the designated spot that will be videotaped and manned, just outside the jetty.

More details the Nov. 6-9, 2019 Tuna Jackpot will be forthcoming, but the Wednesday through Saturday schedule will remain the same, and the same sites will be used for parties, check-in, and weigh-in. All sites are, of course, subject to change, but the sites all got excellent reviews, so we hope to keep things the way they are and make improvements and refine the experience for the anglers.

The second change is that the $1,000 wahoo/dorado optional is now replaced with separate $1,000 optionals. The 30-pound minimum on both is in effect the first day but if a qualifying dorado is not caught the first day the minimum will be lowered to 20 pounds. The 30-pound minimum for wahoo will remain in effect both days. “This has long been a goal, and the feeling among anglers is that is time to divide them up so there are more chances to win,” said director Pat McDonell. “You can target tuna and get a big dorado, but in most cases, wahoo are specifically targeted and usually are much bigger, making the dorado an irrelevant species in that optional. Now teams will be able enter the dorado only $1,000 optional and have a shot at both tuna and dorado.”

For any questions about the event to sign up and reserve your current team number, send in $100 to Western Outdoor News. Use the entry form. Full boat and team info is not needed to reserve your 2018 number.

We will reserve 2018 team numbers until MARCH 1, and then we start assigning numbers in sequence --unless your 2018 number is still available or you request a number still available.

Your signup contact Note on any entry or check that you are requesting a specific number.

See you all in November!

RESERVE YOUR 2018 NUMBER NOW FOR THIS YEAR! You can reserve your number right now with a credit card by going to this link and paying the refundable $100 fee. If you not enter the tourney in full, that amount will be returned to you. If you sign up, that $100 will be credited toward your team $1000 entry fee.

Full-color coverage of epic event in flip-page full-color supplement : Click and get all the details and results!

What a tourney,join us in 2019, Nov. 6-9! Details at

WON Tuna Jackpot Pays Record Return: Field of 163 boats gets 8 over 200 pounds

Cloud Nine is Tuna Jackpot Champ and Hooray also sweeps daily cash; Let's do it again next year! Nov. 6-9, 2018

The Cloud Nine weighed a 272-pound yellowfin tuna the first day of the 20th Annual Western Outdoor News Cabo Tuna Jackpot to top a field of 163 boats and earn a record $392,800.

CABO SAN LUCAS, BCS – The Cloud Nine team claimed the WON Cabo Tuna Jackpot Championship title and the lion’s share of the record $841,600 tournament payout with a 272-pound yellowfin that barely made it to the scales in time. Their single team payout set another Tuna Jackpot record as on awards night they were handed a check for $392,800!

That total reflects a sweep of the daily jackpots and the $68,000 award for overall biggest tuna.

The second day’s victors aboard the Hooray were also in all the daily jackpots and that’s shown in their check total of $324,800 — the sum of the $500, $1000, $2000, $3000, $5000 and $10,000 optionals up for grabs each day. Pushing up the total was the fact 22 teams were “across the board” in the $10,000 pot, another record.

The Bad Medicine won $8000 for second place overall in the Tuna Jackpot with its second day 266 not entered in the daily pots, with $4000 going to the La Sirena for third overall as their 256 was surpassed on day one by the 272.

The side Wahoo/Dorado daily jackpot was hotly contested both days. Ted Dake’s team on the Make My Day took the $56,000 pot the first day of competition and second day optional money was well earned by the Texas Ticklers team captain by Greg Sterner of San Antonio, as they cashed their $56,000 check with a 57-pound wahoo.

Full coverage of all the great parties, near misses, big catches and Cabo will be found in the upcoming Cabo Tuna Jackpot Review special section of WON and on the website. There will be a digital flip page version of the Review next week.

Also, dates are set for the 2019 edition, Nov. 6-9. The website will have an entry form available by next week. There will be two changes to the event. The wahoo and dorado optional will be split into two $1,000 optionals. The tuna optionals will remain the same. And, the deadline for weigh-in remains 6 p.m. but boats will have to make that deadline at a manned and videotaped spot TBD at the outer edge of the harbor for safety reasons.

The second day's flare gun start surrounding the Cabo Escape was another wild one with 163 boats charging off to their hotspots.


Cloud Nine Overcomes Adversity With Two Cows
Engine Trouble Nearly Sinks Cloud Nine
before they weigh $324,800 Day 1 Best

Boat limps to the Tuna Jackpot slip just 
in time to hoist 272 and 230 pounders

The Cloud Nine team entered the harbor with just 3 minutes to make it to the weigh station dock and proceeded to sweep all the jackpots with this 272.

What seemed like an anti-climactic day of one quality yellowfin after another failing to best the across-the-board 256-pound beauty weighed in by John Domanic's Sirena team soon after the WON Tuna Jackpot scales opened at 3 p.m. Thursday changed abruptly when word came that the Cloud Nine had somehow made it to the tournament dock in front of the Tesoro just in time to weigh in their tuna. 

We knew they had at least one big fish aboard because they had radioed their good friend Tracy Ehrenberg of Pisces Sportfishing to say so -- also adding they were about 38 miles out with a blown transmission and a desperate fix that left them with only somewhat more than 10 knots of speed to work with. 

Luckily it was a flat calm, hot day in Cabo and its surrounding waters and Greg Lewis' crew brought not just one, but two of the 6 yellowfin tuna over 200 pounds weighed in by the 163 boats competing the first day of the 20th Annual WON Cabo Tuna Jackpot. 

First of all there was a delay as numerous photos were taken as the biggest fish was taken off the boat. Then there was joyous celebration when assistant tournament director Billy Egan announced the weight of 272 pounds. Like the Sirena, the Cloud Nine was in all the daily jackpots -- $500, $1000, $2000, $3000, $5000 and $10,000 -- and they literally snatched the total of $324,800 from both fate and the downhearted team now delegated to second.

Then there was the question of whether the 256 would even hold its place in the overall jackpot. The huge crowd around the scales had thinned out considerably when it was announced Cloud Nine had another fish to weigh. While not big enough to oust the Sirena's yellowfin, the 230 pounder did claim the third spot in the overall.

For now. Scales open at 3 Cabo time and there will be regularly updated reports on the Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot Facebook page. 

Tuna Jackpot Day One Weigh-in Update
Day One Jackpot Updates

Another good looking tuna, a 220. Ten minutes to go, signing off on this side. Big boat with BIG minutes away but going slow due to mechanical problem. Have to make it around by 6. Check Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot Facebook page for the final news for the evening and back here for a complete update later. 

The Burro just weighed a 227, another big sigh from the crowd as the across the board team captained by Bradley Erickson of Edina, MN fell short of our leading 256. Erickson donated the fish to our local charity. 

Big fish on the way. There is also word the Cloud Nine  has a very large tuna and a blown transmission. They were 38 miles out and doing 10 knots at lines out at 4

Okay with weights fairly high we have had a few near misses on the wahoo and a 215 pound tuna on the Quijote by the Tulsa Tunadoes team. They also had one of the close wahoo, a 39.2

Quality fish showing up early. Ted Dake on the Make My Day weighed a 43.3-pound wahoo to set the bar on the wahoo/dorado jackpot.

Top wahoo

John Domanic on the Sirena just weighed a 256! Across the board!

Team 140 headed in with a big fish. La Brisa weighed  a 158.9, congrats!

Capt. Chris McMillan's Texas-based team 10 on La Brisa is in the $500 and $1000 jackpot. Also heard of at least one more good fish headed in for weigh-in once scales open at 3.

Heard that Team 10 is 7 miles out and headed in with a good fish. 

What will it weigh?

Just about to open the scales (3 p.m.). No boats lined up waiting with 300 pounders like last year.

We're Underway as 163 Boats Head Out for Glory!
Record Payout Anticipated As 
Tuna Jackpot Sends Out 163 Boats

A sold out Costa Start Boat Party on the Cabo Escape followed a flotilla of sportfishers of all sizes out of Cabo Marina early this morning as the WON Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot got off to day one of fishing with 163 teams on the roster.

Although final numbers have not been posted, a record payout is expected once the two days of fishing that kicked off this Thursday morning off Land's End finishes at the close of the scales at 6 p.m. Friday. Scales open each day at 2 p.m. for the boats to bring in their catch. 

The tournament field is loaded with past champions and the current hot boats rolling in with tournament victories in the series of fishing events that spreads from the East Cape to Cabo from August into the fall. Once again the Tuna Jackpot has the largest number of boats fishing an event.

We'll be posting here and on the Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot Facebook page and the WON Facebook page once the fish start hanging. 

The Costa Start Boat Party had 120 paid participants and the proceeds all go to Smiles International, the official charity of the Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot. They were rewarded with drawings for Costa sunglasses, backpacks and even a couple bottles of Cantera tequila! Fish Hard, Party Harder!

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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