WON Big Fish Challenge


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.

Tourney director on radio Sunday morning
Let’s Talk Hookup! this Sunday, the 18th

Director Pat McDonell will be on two-hour show on 97.3 FM The Fan

7 to 9 a.m.

 Let's Talk Hookup  has been a sponsor for all 21 years of the tourney! 

Countdown to Cabo Begins!

Pat McDonell, director of the 21stannual Western Outdoor News Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot Tournament slated for Nov. 6-9, 2019 will be the guest on the Let’s Talk Hookup! radio show this Sunday, Aug. 18 from 7 to 9 a.m. on 97.3 FM, The Fan.

Joining the former WON editor and current tourney director will be radio hosts Rick Maxa and Cory Sanders, and listeners are welcome to call in any questions about the tournament or Baja fishing in general. Pete Gray, producer, will not be in studio as he is hosting an Alaskan trip for the show. Pete and his show have been sponsors of the Cabo Tourney for all 21 years of the event. 

Discussed will the be the tourney and some of its changes in the event, and the involvement of new and current sponsors like Costa, Nomad, Gamkatsu Accurate, Seaguar and many more. Also, fishing has been outstanding in recent weeks for big tuna, and McDonell will have the latest on that information, plus will answer any questions from callers about the tourney and how to enter it, its costs and parties and payouts that this year could reach $1 million to teams. 

The call-in line is (833) 288-0973. The Fan station at 97.3, home of the Aztecs and Padres, can be heard in San Diego County on any radio, but outside the county, the best method is to download the Let’s Talk Hookup app for easy listening access.

You can access all of this at the popular show’s website letstalkhookup.com.

THE WONCABO TUNA JACKPOT is coming up Nov. 6-9, and there’s plenty to talk about with the annual tourney, plus information on Baja fishing in general, which is on fire. WON created the tourney in 1999 and McDonell has served as co-director or director of the event very year.

Rules changes and links to Nov. 6-9 tourney
Video of fish being landed now requested


The champs last year, Cloud Nine, with the richest payout in the history for the event. A 272 pounder did the trick.

The WON Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot Countdown begins, with the Nov. 6-9 tournament just around the corner for its 21st year.

Last year 163 teams competed for $840,800 with two teams Cloud Nine and Hooraywinning more that $300,000, a first for two teams, and this year with Wahoo and Dorado optionals separate, and a $20,000 Gray Research Tuna Optional added for teams that go across the board, we could see a first-ever $1 million payout.

There’s a lot of big news about the tournament, all the prizes, all the parties and sponsors coming back and new sponsors coming down to Lands End. Here are links to news and sponsors, prizes, entry form, the fun promo video and the Cabo Tuna Jackpot Preview digital edition. Among the rules changes is a request for teams to videotape their contending catches. See more below in 2019 rule.

See you in Cabo!

Pat McDonell

Tournament Director

2019 WON - Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot

Some useful and fun links for the tourney news and information.

15 seconds of Cabo Fun, a video by Beduino Productions (click here)


2019 entry form, editable on your computer (click here)


2019 Preview with a rundown of all the excitement and changes (click here)


Get special Hotel Tesoro room rates with special discounts until Sept. 30 (click here)


Official Cabo Tuna Jackpot website, your instant and easy portal to all information

about the tourney, past and present (click here)


Current Team Roster as they sign up, updated weekly (click here)


The 24-page all-color Cabo Tuna Jackpot Preview, the digital edition with

great features and information, fully updated! (click here)


Cabo Tuna Jackpot Facebook Page (click here)


Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot official blog at wonews.com (click here)



2019 Tournament Schedule (click here)


2019 Rules, updated with changes in bold (click here)

Countdown begins, Preview supp is WON this week
Great features, six new sponsors for  the biggest tuna tournament in the world and all you need to know about event is in next issue of WON and wonews.com


Check out our video 15 Seconds Of Cabo Fun!!


The special Tuna Jackpot Preview is coming in WON next week on wonews.com, the latter in a four-color digital format. Director Pat McDonell and former editor of WON Pat McDonell details all the elements of the tourney, what is new in rules and format, contests, charity efforts for Baja children. Plus there will be special features by Rich Holland’s on proven techniques that have brought champions success over the years, and there is Gary Graham’s story on the Gray Fish Research Tagging program that this year is benefitted by a new $20,000 Tuna Optional.

HERE COMES the 21st edition of the WON Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot Tournament, slated for Nov. 6-9 and detailed next week in the special tourney Cabo Tuna Jackpot Preview supplement. The tournament feature options for Tuna, Wahoo and Dorado and payout that may reach the $1 million mark.

The 21st edition of the tourney Nov. 6-9 will also feature separate $1,000 Wahoo and Dorado optionals for the first time, which may push the payout over the $1 million mark. Last year a record 17 of the 163 teams were across the board at $23,000 entry, and another record was set when 22 teams were in the $10,000 Tuna Optional. The preview will also details longtime sponsors involvement like Costa and Seaguar, and we welcome several new sponsors, among them Gamakatsu, Nomad, Siren Marine, Chevron Techron and Cinco Perros tequila. More are being added.

Watch for the special 24-page CTJ Preview section (a digital version will be uploaded soon for viewing) and if you are looking for a great time, all you need to know about the tourney is also on the official website is www.loscabostunajackpot.com where you can find links to special tourney room rates (which include breakfast) at the Hotel Tesoro for the tourney until Sept. 30.



We welcome several new sponsors this year:

Siren Marine is the leader in self-contained monitoring, tracking and security systems, which are designed for boats ranging from a Bass Cat to a Viking. Siren will be awarding three MTC systems in Cabo teams with the largest Tuna, Wahoo and Dorado.

Siren Marine is spearheading the Connected Boat revolution with its MTC Boat Monitoring and Tracking system, making it even easier for boat owners to create their own Connected Boat system and access critical onboard information from a phone, tablet or computer.

Using a range of available wired and wireless sensors, this affordable and easy-to-install system keeps boaters on top of everything they need to know including bilge water level and bilge pump activity, battery voltage, temperature, shore power connection and more. Entry and motion sensors help protect against unauthorized boarding and theft of expensive MFDs and other electronics and gear. MTC even lets boaters remotely control onboard systems such as spreader lights, air conditioning, bait pumps and more. Offshore anglers can even begin the spool-up process on their gyro stabilization systems on their way down to the boat, so they are ready to go when they step aboard.

The basic MTC system retails for $599 and can be connected to literally dozens of available wireless or wired sensors, making it easy to tailor the ideal Connected Boat for every type and size vessel. A range of available subscription plans is offered beginning as low as $15/month.


-- Nomad lures is a new sponsor,  and will provide  4) $500 certificates. These will go to the largest tuna daily as well as the largest overall dorado and wahoo.


-- Chevron’s Techron will be awarding two $1,000 entries to the 2020 tournament to the teams that are entered in the Wahoo and Dorado optionals and catch the biggest fish over two days. Techron marine fuel additive cleans, restores, protects the entire fuel system (fuel injectors, carburetors, intake valves and combustion chambers); Reduces: rough idle, engine surge, hesitation, and spark plus fouling; and Improves: cold start performance, and fuel stability for up to one year.

--- Cinco Perros tequila, the highest triple distilled tequila on the market, is new to the Cabo Tuna Jackpot, and representatives will be brining down plenty to provide shots at the Captains Welcome Party Wednesday night, and will provide bottles for drawings at the nightly party, will be served on the Cabo Escape start boat charity charters both days of fishing, and will exhibit at the check-in to kick off the event.


Go to www.cabotunajackpot.com for all the links, news of the event, rules and entry form, schedule, video and more!
Tesoro offers rate discount before June 1

Fantastic tourney rates if you book before June 1!! 

GET YOUR RESERVATIONS FOR THE HOTEL TESOROlocked up at special rates. See you in Cabo at the Jackpot! Remember, Fish Hard, Party Harder in November. The online jackpot code is TUNAJACK2019.


The Hotel Tesoro, the longtime official hotel of the Tuna Jackpot in Cabo, is a great hotel to stay at right at all the festivities, and last year the new manager and staff were simply outstanding in supporting all aspects of the event.

This is the time to book your rooms for our 21st year. Every event over four days Nov. 6-9 is located in the front of the hotel on the malecon or within walking distance of it. The pool and rooms overlook the marina and the famous Arch.

Go to the direct hotel booking link https://bit.ly/30zc7sb

and if requested, use the promotional code: TUNAJACK2019.

Their ad (which also a direct booking link) at www.loscabostunajackpot.comdenotes the special CTJ rates, not including taxes and fees.

THE JUNIOR SUITEis available with a marina view. Standard rooms (not shown) have options for marina or city view at different rates.

A FULL WORKOUT GYMand spa are at the hotel, accessible from the pool patio.

ENJOY the views at Hotel Tesoro with family, friends and loved ones during, before and after the tourney with special rates discounted even more before June 1.

CABO TUNA JACKPOT PREVIEW: What’s new for 2019?
There’s a lot going on, and more to come. For now, we have three new sponsors in Nomad lures, Chevron’s Techron fuel additive, and Gamakatsu hooks. Plus we separated the wahoo and dorado jackpots into their own $1,000 optionals, there is a new 6 p.m. weigh-in deadline area, and most recently, we added a $20,000 Gray Fish Research Tag optional

THE CABO START is always exciting to be in the middle of, both days, off Lands End.

Western Outdoor News had a very successful tournament in the 20th year with 163 teams, up from 147 the previous year and a record payout of $840,600 in which two teams won more than $300,000, a first for the tourney. We are predicting the tourney will produce its first-ever $1 million-plus payout.

But for the 21st run there will be some great changes to the event in 2019 when Nov. 6-9 rolls around. To us, it seems like it’s just around the corner. Hopefully for you folks, it feels as though it can’t get here fast enough as we get into the Fish Hard, Party Harder mode as teams sign up and we make preparations for another Tuna Jackpot.

SPONSORS BACK, MORE WELCOMED ABOARD: This year we welcome back nearly all of our loyal sponsors, with three new companies climbing aboard. One is Nomad lures which is really fired up to be a big part of the event. They'll award $500 in product daily to the biggest tuna and dorado/wahoo, plus product for the grand raffle. They're also sponsoring our captains meeting and are planning some other great promotional giveaway for each angler. Stay tuned! Their owner Damon Olsen, who is also their chief designer and runs a mother ship operation in Australia will be coming down to attend.


GAMAKATSU IS PROVIDING a dry bag backpack to each angler.

Our new hook sponsor Gamakatsu is coming down, and they are coming into the tournament in a HUGE way. First off, they are providing the official team boat flags, nylon, banner style and in color. They are beautiful. One per team, and the few remaining will be available for purchase at the scales on Thursday with all proceeds going to Gray Fish Tag Research. That is not all. Gamakatsu is also providing the official tournament bags for all anglers. These are waterproof dry bag backpacks. They are a dry bag with a roll down top that seals, have sturdy backpack straps and will be adorned with their tuna logo and our tournament name imprinted. Super cool, quality gift for every angler. And, they are sponsoring the new Gamakatsu Karaoke Contest, to be held at the Friday Fiesta among the top five finalists. Details to follow on that one, but start practicing.

Of course, Costa sunglasses is major part of our event every year and the company has built its rep in Cabo on the boats of the Tuna Jackpot. Everywhere you look in Lands End – Cabo is the Sportfishing Capitol of the World -- has captains and anglers wearing Costa shirts, hats and wearing Costa’s top-grade classy sunglasses with their 580 lenses. There is nothing better for your eyes on land and water. Every angler will again receive at check-in a long sleeve Costa event performance fabric shirt with the champions of every Tuna Jackpot imprinted on the back. Maybe your team will get its name on the shirt in 2020? Just catch the biggest tuna in November.

Attending sponsors Dave and Amy Bulthuis also give away dozens of pairs of sunglasses and many many gifts in drawings, and support the Smiles International Foundation charity by sponsoring the Costa Cabo Escape Charters each morning of the shotgun start. Teams should also be ready with their “A game” for the daily “SHOW US YOUR COSTAS!” contest.

accuratepinkvaliantACCURATE’S PINK VALIANT 500 reels, four of which go to the top female team with biggest tuna over two days, with at least two lady members on the team and fishing each day.

Accurate reels is coming back down for a second year, and are bringing a dozen beautiful two-speed reels for drawings, and this year they are also adding four custom two-speed pink and silver Valiant 500 reels (BV2-500-SP) designed for the ladies and engraved 2019 WON Tuna Jackpot on the crossbar. The pink reels valued at $580 each are the only such Accurate Valiant reels in existence. The biggest tuna caught by a team that has at least two women officially on the team and on the water will win all four reels.

Before we get into the 2019 changes, all designed to make it a better and safer and more fun event, be sure to book your rooms at the Hotel Tesoro, especially before June 1 as the official host hotel situated in the middle of the Jackpot action is offering a special 10 percent off an already discounted rate for all rooms. See more on the web page at http://www.loscabostunajackpot.com/2019_coverage/tesoro.php and click on the link ads or logo, or just call the Tesoro.

COMPETE AT ANY LEVEL: Among the changes for the tourney is that we are making it possible for teams to win at ANY level, high or low in the optionals. We are well aware that teams play at the level they feel comfortable at, and that is why they are called “optionals.”

THE NEW TUNA OPTIONAL: At the high end, while all optionals for tuna remain, a $20,000 optional at $10,000 daily has been added for this year. This optional is called the Gray Fish Tag Research Tuna Optional with 85 percent of the money going to the biggest tuna among teams that enter it (it will payout each day like the others), 10 percent to the tourney, and 5 percent to Gray Fish Tag Research to purchase satellite fish tags that run $5,000 each.

The only stipulation for entering that $20,000 tuna optional is that only teams that enter across the board can enter the new optional. There were 17 teams across the board last year, a record for the tourney that started in 1999. We are hoping the high roller teams will go for the big money and help Gray purchase satellite tags for research – and perhaps push the total payout over the $1 million mark for the first time.

WAHOO AND DORADO HAVE OWN OPTIONALS: For the teams that want to compete but not play at the high roller table and still go after the title of 2019 champion, the $1,000 wahoo/dorado optional is now replaced with separate $1,000 optionals. The 30-pound minimum on both wahoo and dorado 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. The Optional separate optional allows more teams to compete for big money each day. And, teams looking for tuna are more apt to hook a big dorado than a wahoo because wahoo are more tackle specific (wire leader, etc). So when you are fishing tuna, you are also fishing for big dorado. You want to be in that optional as you look for tuna.

WEIGH-IN DEADLINE: Another change, asked for by anglers and the marina officials is a new spot for the 6 p.m. weigh-in deadline for boats. It will not be the usual inner harbor area just off the weigh-in docks, which is far too dangerous as boats speed in to make the deadline and marina patrols are ignored. Thus, the outer harbor will be the designated spot that will be videotaped and manned, at the outer jetty. 6 p.m. Don’t be late.

THE SCHEDULE: More details will be forthcoming as we work with sponsors and vendors and restaurants, but the Wednesday through Saturday schedule will remain the same, and the same sites will be used for parties, check-in, and weigh-in. The awards dinner catered by Solomon’s Landing at the cruise pier was a huge hit, and each year it gets better and better for the anglers. The weigh area in front of the Tesoro will again be held Thursday and Friday, there will be two shotgun starts, and two shotgun (flare) start charity parties 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. on those days aboard Wild Tours’ beautiful party yacht Cabo Escape, with Smiles International benefitting from the $30 charter fee collected by the sponsor, Costa sunglasses. Catered by Capt. Tony’s, and the bubbly will be poured and be ready to cheer on the teams and then get ready for drawings for Costas and then dancing.

There will again be a 1 to 4 p.m., early check-in at the conference center on Tuesday at the Tesoro. Sign in, avoid the lines and come back the next day for the swag by sponsors. The regular check-in will be Wednesday on the malecon and a welcome party at the Marlin sculpture between Solomon’s Landing and Captain Tony’s, and a Friday Fiesta at Maria Corona’s Restaurant. All sites are subject to change.

For any questions about the event to sign up and reserve your current or new team number your signup contact is lori@wonews.com. Note on any entry or check that you are requesting a specific number. All team numbers are up for grabs as the “reserve time” has passed. We will assign team numbers to open slots on the roster sequentially unless you request a number. The roster is published on the website and is updated every few weeks for now, and then weekly in the last few months.

See you all in November!

Pat McDonell,




THE SCHEDULE IS subject to change for event, but there are eight events to look forward to from Check-in to the Awards Dinner with two days of weigh-ins in front of the Hotel Tesoro, the Costa Start Boat Charter on the Cabo Escape, the Friday Fiesta at Maria Corona Restaurant, and more.


GET A GREAT deal at the Hotel Tesoro, and book by June 1 for special rates.


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