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CALIFORNIA'S ONLY SPORTSMAN'S NEWS SINCE 1953

Gary Graham – ROAD TREKKER

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Wednesday, October 16, 2019
Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot
Friday, November 29, 2019
It Took a Village


You can’t win them all!
Having attended the 25th Annual Baja Ha-Ha Shelter Island Parade last year, I was eager to be on hand again. When Ken Franke, president of Sportfishing Association of California, (SAC) invited me to join him for the 26th annual event, along with 65 guests and members of the San Diego Unified Port District Tenants Association aboard the designated start boat, the San Diego-based sportfishing vessel Dolphin, for the kick-off of the San Diego-Cabo Regatta, I was determined to be part of the team.

At 10 a.m. Monday, 153 yacht crews from around the world set sail as part of the Baja Ha-Ha, the West Coast’s largest sailing regatta, which would begin the 750-mile voyage from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas. Sailors from California, Oregon and Washington, plus some from as far away as Sweden and Australia, were part of the huge fleet of sailboats.



THEN AT  10:00 a.m. Consul General Gonzalez Gutierrez fired the Starting Shot.

then at

I wasn’t going to let the fact that I had already booked a flight to Cabo San Lucas departing at 11:15 Monday morning stand in my way. This meant that with very careful planning, pulling together every trick I knew and calling in every favor I had, I would have to depart immediately after the shotgun start at 10 a.m. from the Dolphinthat would be on the water in the harbor in order to make my flight for the “meet and greet” Monday evening sponsored by Pisces Sportfishing and Gray FishTag in Cabo – a prelude to a Tuesday morning’s striped marlin Satellite Tagging expedition which I would photograph.


By 9 a.m., the Dolphin was loaded; Captain Jason Coz and his crew departed for the main channel to position the boat in front of Shelter Island. Franke took the microphone and introduced the special guests attending. Captain Frank Ursitti and Captain Tim Exstrom presented a donation of $10,000 to Kevin Foley, Vice-Chair of Hospital Infantil de las Californias and Dionicia Lozoya Executive Director. On behalf of the organization, Foley explained the importance of the donation and expressed their gratitude.


Next, Franke introduced the Consul General Carlos Gonzalez Gutiérrez, who thanked the Port and Franke for including him on the trip.


Beginning at 9:45, Commander Chad Robuck Sector San Diego, fired the first warning shot, the second was fired by Michael LaFleur VP of Marine Operations, Third warning shot was fired by Chief Mark Stainbrook Harbor PD, Michael Brown V.P. of marine operations Port of San Diego, fired the fourth warning shot, Captain Tim Barelli USCG Sector Command fored the fifth and final warning shot. Then at 10:00 a.m., Consul General Gonzalez Gutierrez fired the STARTING SHOT.


As the final shotgun shot thundered across the bay, I had only a few minutes to snap some photos before spotting the Harbor Police boat standing off the starboard corner designated to slide up alongside and whisk me back to the Harbor Police dock.


With no time to spare, I sprinted to my truck. I had arranged for an Uber to meet me at my El Camino. It failed to appear at the predetermined spot. Precious minutes ticked by, no Uber. I drove to the airport, rushed from the parking lot to the TSA entrance to the gates opening into the lobby where it became apparent, for the first time in my life, I would miss my flight!


So what did I miss? Since its inception in 2016, I wasn’t going to be part of the tag team – I missed the Pre-WON Tuna Jackpot tagging expedition put on by Tracy Ehrenberg of Pisces Sportfishing and Bill and Pamela Dobbelear of Gray's Fish Tag.


The four Pisces boats included the 72-foot Tag Team, Dave and Nancy Marciano of Wicked Tuna, who both caught their first striped marlin fishing with the Dobbelaer’s and Tracy.


The 60-foot Reel Machine: Rebecca Ehrenberg, Carlos Narro, Pancho Brenes, Klara Feyer, Roxanne Willmer, Director, Grayfishtag; Dick Gebhart, Director, Stars & Stripes Charity Tournament; Steve Miller (AFW), and Sean Carpenter (AFW), plus, the 42-foot Caliente, and the 40-foot Chasin’ Tail.


Around Land’s End and north to the Cabo Falso was where the fleet found the marlin close to shore. The number of hookups was extraordinary, even for Cabo. The boats weaved in and out and around one another. In fact, during one double hookup increasing the degree of difficulty, they handed off Nancy's rod to another boat, which then took the line around its bow and handed the rod back – still attached to the fish! Every boat in the area reported similar action.


By the end of the day, they had tagged nine stripers, including two with the $5,000 satellite tags that the new $20,000 High Roller Daily Jackpot will help to fund for future efforts for multiple species, including tuna. Dobbelear brought several guests from Costa Rica with him; they jumped in the water to revive the marlin tagged with the expensive Satellite Tags.


Bottom line: I had a great time at my second Baja Ha-Ha and took tons of photos, but I was beyond disappointed not to make it to Cabo for the Gray Fish Tag trip and the WON Tuna Tournament.


Lesson: My Superman cape didn’t work!


bttheed
BY THE END of the day, they had tagged nine stripers, including two with the $5,000 satellite tags that the new $20,000 High Roller Daily Jackpot in the Cabo Tuna Jackpot will help to fund for future efforts for multiple species, including tuna.


•   •   •   •   •

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