Cabo San Lucas, BCS | by Capt. Dave Lear
The Bisbee’s Black & Blue Marlin Tournament did just that Saturday when it handed out checks totaling more than $2.1 million for three fun-packed days on the water. The 31st edition boasted a field of 100 boats and more than 560 anglers representing 12 different nations. But unlike other sports where there can be only one winner, several teams shared the spotlight on the stage overlooking the Cabo San Lucas harbor Saturday night.
Angler Luis Arballo and his team-mates aboard Bad Medicine, a 35 Cabo appropriately enough, took top honors after landing the biggest fish, a 409-pound blue, on the tournament’s first day. That catch swept the daily $200, $500, $1,000 and $2,000 jackpots for a total purse of $394,090.
But in a game where it pays to play, Tiger Spiritearned a remarkable consolation prize. Even though Luis Alberto Liera’s Blue Marlin was 14 pounds lighter than Bad Medicine’s, it earned a whooping $1,162,842 since it was the only fish entered in all three daily $5,000 and $10,000 jackpots. Tiger Spiritowner Ned Wallace of Newport Beach, California, has been a long-time participant in the Black & Blue, but this is the first time his team has scored the tournament’s top cash prize. As an added bonus, Wallace & Co. earned an offshore trip to Panama, compliments of West Coast Fishing Club, a tournament sponsor.
Vicente Rangel of Mexico and his family team onPegasus is taking home a check for $283,752 after boating a 329-pound blue on the second day. Steve Skola, Chuck Mangus and their Hawaiian crew are pocketing $259,745 in prize money as well. They too earned most of the daily jackpots after bringing a 313-pound blue to the scales aboard El Lobo on Friday.
Black and Blue Marlin are the tournament’s only eligible species and they must weigh at least 300 pounds to count. Boats can still show off their angling skills by competing in the release category, however. This year, Hammertime was the top team after recording three blues and one striped marlin. That showing earned the team a check totaling $47,791.Big Time came in second place in the release division after bringing three blues and a sailfish to the transom, while Reel Energy rounded out the standings with two Blue Marlin scored based on time.Big Time earned $16,543 and Reel Energy pocketed $90.191, respectively.
After a track record of paying out more than $56 million over the last three decades, the Black & Blue, presented by Cabo Riviera Marina and Golf Resort has indeed earned its rep as the richest event in the sport.
“Despite the economy our overall money is up again this year,” said Tournament Director Wayne Bisbee after the checks were handed out. “Even second place can win a million bucks in the Black & Blue. So thanks to all our anglers and crews, plus our fantastic sponsors, we are the big enchilda of sportfishing. We’re the World Series, Super Bowl, and Triple Crown all rolled into one wet–and wild–ride.”