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Feature Article: Cabo Promo

It’s always time to win in Cabo

Western Outdoor NewsPublished: Sep 08, 2017

There’s a bunch of ways to have fun and win, involving gifts, contest and big bucks at WON’S 19th annual Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot Tournament; there’s still plenty of time to sign up for the Nov. 1-4 event

chargingoffintoCHARGING OFF INTO the melee is just plain thrilling for the teams and observers on the start boat, the Cabo Escape. PHOTOS BY GARY GRAHAM

CABO SAN LUCAS — Yes, it’s true that five teams split $747,500 last year, and there was another $100,000 in prizes given out over four days at the WON Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot.

Those five teams in a field of 168 boats laid claim to Overall money for the big tuna over two days, and the Optional money in six tuna pools and one wahoo/dorado optional.

This year, the field figures to be even bigger and the prize money even greater in this, the biggest tuna jackpot event in the world, and annually the biggest team fishing tourney in Mexico year after year.

Can you afford to fish it? The website has a story that breaks down your costs, but each member in a team of four can fly down, stay at the Tesoro, get a National rental car, eat, charter a boat, fish three days (two in the tourney), buy bait, pay tips and have a shot at winning serious money, all for $2,800. Use your Alaska miles, use a time share, have access to a buddy’s boat, etc. and those costs go down even further. Or, they go up with a bigger boat, etc. Like we say, any level of comfort.

But it’s a level playing field because tuna don’t check bank accounts.

sometimeswinningSOMETIMES WINNING MEANS just having a great time, and what the heck, you might win a drawing, or take the prize at the silent auction for charity. Here, Team Aquaholics prepare for the shotgun start, all dressed for the occasion.

“So, there are a lot of ways to win. And you can do it by competing at a variety of levels. The average Joe can afford this tourney and compete in it,” said event director Pat McDonell, who has served as the event’s co-director or director for the past 19 years. “You can pay in for as little as $250 an angler for the $1,000 team entry, or you can up the ante, but either way, you will have a great time, and there are many, many stories of anglers claiming big money by just getting into the event and buying into a few optionals and catching big fish on a charterboat, or even a panga. Plus there are the parties and the weigh-ins and gifts and drawings and the charity effort that provide an amazing experience in Cabo. You are part of something big.”

So, how can you win? Let’s name the ways.

When you sign up: Right off the bat you are a winner of sorts because you each get a wristband at check-in, and with that, entry into three drawings. That wristband gets you into two dinner parties, drawings for a lot of free tackle, a commemorative Baja Cantina-sponsored Cabo Tuna Jackpot cooler, a Costa event L/S shirt, an official event hat, and when you check in you get all that; and then you start down the line of sponsors under the tents who hand you Mustad hook packs, wire leaders from Hi-Seas, Costa t-shirts, official flags, Seaguar fluorocarbon, Frogg Toggs Chilly Pads, Terrafin color satellite maps and more. Fun stuff.

The Overall Payout. The biggest fish over two days places first and that means you and your teammates are the champions for 2017. Then there is second or third place, and depending on how many teams are in the event, 85 percent of the overall money is given out to first place, 10 percent goes to second place and 5 percent to third. If the boat is chartered, the captains receive a check from WON, 10 percent of the team’s winnings.

CROWDS AT THE WEIGH scale can swell to several hundred people both evenings of weigh-ins (Thursday and Friday) as big tuna are carted up the Marina Cabo San Lucas ramp.

Optionals: There are six tuna optionals and one dorado/wahoo optional. The amount you pay is good for two days. For example, the $1,000 optional is $500 a day. We take 20 percent off the top. The payout is 80 percent, each day, in each optional, and you win by bringing in the biggest fish in each optional. Look at last year’s history for the teams that won. Normally seven to eight teams win money. Last year five teams split the bucks, a record payout. We expect that amount to again be over $700,000 again this year. Last year, with 168 teams, up 25 teams from the year before, it was $747,500.

Drawings and contests. Sponsors and WON have a lot of fun contests. Here they are:

— There is the Kingfisher Guess The Winning Fish Weight Contest. The winner gets a trip for two worth $3,000 to Kingfisher Lodge in Alaska. Announced Saturday.

— The Fishworks/Baja Cantina Best Dressed/Logo Contest: Team wins free meals at BC in 2017, and a $125 Fishworks Clothing gift certificate for every member of the team. Announced Thursday night.

— $10,000 Grand Prize Charity Drawing: Four of everything the sponsors have provided: Tackle boxes, Tesoro certificates, Okuma rods and reels, Mustad hooks, Seaguar leader, and more.

— The Seaguar/National Sticker Contest. The Seaguar boys have a tuna sticker for you to put up around town. If the Seaguar boys in town spot it, you win a big fluorocarbon prize package, plus a rental car package from National.

— Show Us Your Costas! At boat checks before the starts, we see the most creative…Dave Bulthuis of Costa picks the winning team that gets four pairs of sunglasses.

— Awards Dinner Charity Silent Auction. More great deals for you to bid on, all donated by sponsors and local Cabo vendors. Bigger than ever, and always worth a look.

SHOW US YOUR COSTAS! is back as a contest. Innovative ways of displaying Costas or the Costa logo during the two starts at the famed Arch will earn the team a set of sunglasses.

A few reminders…

— The roster is being updated every few weeks at There are three ways to enter, or reserve a number.

— The most simple: Send a check to: Cabo Tuna Jackpot, Western Outdoor Publications, 901 Calle Amanecer, Suite 300, San Clemente, CA 92673. Make out the check to Western Outdoors. Download the entry form on the website and mail the check and entry form to that address. A fully filled-out entry is not needed. Make sure you indicate the team number you want to request on the form or on the check.

— You can sign up by credit card. $100 deposit or $1,000 entry. No optionals can be paid by credit card. Send entry by email (scan) or fax. See below for phone number.

— Wire the money. Please request wiring instructions from and fill out an entry as best you can and fax it to (949) 366-0804 or scan or photograph it and send to Done.

For sign-up questions, call Lori at (949) 366-0827. For tourney questions, e-mail Pat McDonell  at


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