by: Gary Graham
Holy Moley! $1,163,450 … Welcome to the 8th Wonder of the World of Sport Fishing Tournaments!
You could feel the tension in the air as the staff scrambled to get the registration organized, from tables and chairs arranged by the 3 p.m. opening to David Garcia’s last minute checks to insure that all of the Wi-Fi hookups provided by Infinitum de Telmex Teléfonos de México S.A.B. de C.V had the bandwidth necessary to process the credit cards and the Live Scoring via “CatchStat.” Throughout the afternoon, sponsors scrambled to assemble their canopy-covered displays before the crowds filled the Puerto Paraiso Shopping Mall.
Eager teams arrived before the scheduled opening, but the staff was ready for the torrent of entrants that would be processed throughout the afternoon.
One of the early arrivals was Captain Greg Distefano aboard El Suertudo, an 80-foot Weaver. “We sort of pre-fished while competing in the Los Cabos Billfish Tournament,” he began. “The weather was good and we had a great time. We spotted some nice-sized fish … and ended up in Second Place in the Release Division. Right one, right day! We’ll see you at the scale,” he concluded, entering the line at the registration area.
All afternoon, teams streamed in, overwhelming the staff with their enthusiasm as they confirmed and settled their entries – all the while greeting their friends and introducing themselves to newcomers.
Once registered, they lined up for the swag, giving them yet another opportunity to visit, and in some cases rib their competition. John Dominic, a local resident of San Jose, BCS, and his fishing buddy Mike Hennessy, are both regulars on the local tournament circuit and they fish the area often. Dominic’s boat is named “Sirena,” a metaphor for his dream come true. Dominic confided, “It’s the boat I’ve wanted all my life.” He seemed to share the optimism of many of the teams that had been pre-fishing. “I think fishing is really good and there are going to be some excellent shots for some. It will be quality over quantity for sure! We fished the past three days and only saw one, but everything is coming together for it to be good!”
One of last year’s winners, Captain Rich Hamilton aboard the Quitena, also believed there would be a few nice ones coming to the scale over the next two days.
Just before the Captains Meeting, I bumped into a handful of the famous (or is it infamous?) 10-Brothers Team, who, although they have not won a single payout of a Million Dollars in their 13 years of fishing the tournament, have racked up four wins for a total of $2,205,278. This qualifies them for honorary membership in the informal “Millionaire Club.” (Look for the story in the PCS magazine in your Goodie Bag if you are fishing the “Black and Blue” next week.)
Led by team member “Elvis,” several of them shared that they were “pumped” and had even purchased one of the “We trust in Bob” flags for luck. If you haven’t purchased yours, Scotty at the T-Shirt booth has them for a $20 donation to the Bisbee Foundation. When asked what they had seen while pre-fishing? They laughed and said, “We don’t need to pre-fish,” and “We’ll see you at the scales.”
The Captains Meeting began with a huge thank you by Wayne Bisbee to all the sponsors – both veterans and newcomers – in English translated into Spanish by Clicerio Mercado, Tournament Coordinator.
“Seven tournaments throughout the world have broken through the Million Dollar ceiling. We were the first to ever do it back in the ’90s. I remember standing on the stage and announcing Bisbee Tournaments had done it!”
Wayne could hardly contain himself. “Seven tournaments throughout the world have broken through the Million Dollar ceiling. We were the first to ever do it back in the ’90s. I remember standing on the stage and announcing Bisbee Tournaments had done it!”
“Since then, a few of us have gone beyond that into the $2, $3 and $4 million-dollar world. However, tonight I can announce that all of you are now part of history, participating in the 8th tournament in the world to crack that Million Dollar ceiling!”
After reviewing some high points in the rules, Bisbee signed off and Cabo Max returned to the stage to dance the night away. Making my way through the throng in front of the stage, I ran into Greg Lewis, owner of Cloud Nine and one of the winners of the Stars and Stripes Charity Tournament in July. He confirmed the enthusiasm of many of the teams. “I think there will be some really big fish over 600 pounds,” he stated. “We lost one over 600 during the last tournament.”
Friday morning, the 123 teams crowded the line jockeying for the best position as Héctor Montaño Cota, Zofemat Director, and Capitán Villegas, representing Sector Naval (Mexican navy post), fired the brilliant red flare signaling the beginning of not only the Los Cabo Offshore Tournament, but the 2018 Bisbee’s Cabo Season.
As the boats of all sizes sped toward the horizon, Mercado mused, “I wonder which ones we will see this afternoon at the scales with a qualifier and maybe the winner of the tournament.”
The answer will begin to come after the Weigh Scale opens at 3 p.m. at the Puerto Paraiso Shopping Mall. Hope we see you there!
And the winner is ???