The LCO Award's dinner on Sunday night at Maria Corona Mexican Restaurant was one of the best we have had. Jorge Gonzalez and his remarkable staff did a fantastic job with the decorations.
Throughout the dinner, Cabo Max had the crowd rocking. Afterward, Wayne Bisbee and Tricia Bisbee, with assistance from the new Port Captain, Alberto Valerio, announced the tournament winners.
For a complete list of the winners, click here.
On Monday, several dozen Teams checked in throughout the afternoon for the Bisbee Black & Blue, and the "High-Tech Registration Solution APP" (introduced for Los Cabos Offshore) performed even better after a few minor tweaks.
The Teams enjoyed the low-key atmosphere, meeting new teams and visiting with those they had met at past Tournaments along with entertainment with Cabo Mex.
Tuesday afternoon was a different story as the remainder of the Teams descended on Puerto Paraiso Mall. Even with the volume of Teams not registered, the usual long lines were relatively short. Once again, the High-Tech APP paid off, and of course, it helped that Cabo Max was on hand to add to the festivity.
Jordyn Bisbee and Kristy Foggitt were hard at it for Bisbee's Fish & Wildlife Conservation Fund Annual Auction during Registration. The ONLINE AUCTION will be open for the duration of the Black & Blue, with it ending after the awards banquet. The remarkable thing about a virtual online auction is that it also means you can share the auction link with friends or family that might not have been able to join us this year in person. Click Here for more Information
Wayne and the Coordinator of Bisbee's Tournaments in Mexico, Clicerio Mercado Hernández, who was translating, introduced the Mexican flag, and an escort from the Navy Base in Cabo San Lucas played the National Anthem before the Captain's Meeting was called to order.
Wayne briefly reviewed some of the release rules, specifically IDing evidence that confirms black, blue, and striped marlin.
Then, before inviting the presence on the stage of the Director of FONMAR, Martín Inzunza Tamayo, on behalf of the Governor of the State, Víctor Manuel Castro Cosío, the Federal Deputy Sonia Murillo Manríquez and the Commander of the 4th Naval Region, Admiral Santiago Jorge Morgado Gómez lighted the traditional Marlin Stature that remains lit on the stage during the entire tournament.
The start boats were overcrowded with dignitaries and spectators honored to be invited to be part of this momentous occasion.
Clicerio Mercado announced that the historical record of this tournament, known worldwide for being the richest in the world, has been broken.
At precisely 8:oo am, the huge fleet of 219 boats waited in front of the arch of Cabo San Lucas to compete for the $11,651,300 purse of this historic tournament.
Precisely on time, the vast number of boat engines responded to the sight of 10 flares soaring across the early morning Baja Sky. The roar of their engines echoed across the water as the fleet evenly split; some headed toward Gordo Bank, while others went around Lands End up into the Pacific.
According to CatchStat, the first reported hookup and release was just a few minutes before 9:00 am by Team Shaka's Cantina #10 aboard "Weekend Hooker" and, ironically, the last one of the day by Shaka's Cantina, the same team releasing both blue marlin.
The only qualifying fish brought to the scale was Team RV Rental Housing #160, with Captain Alan O'Brien, Angler; Eligio Baron, Mate/Angler; Michael Ciardullo, Angler; Matt Parsons, Angler, and Steve Wilson, Angler fishing aboard "Vida Loca."
Both professional pilots, Michael Ciardullo, acknowledges that in this case, he and his buddy Steve Wilson are gamblers – not experienced anglers.
Michael's original team folded. So, he reached out to his friend Steve Wilson, explaining that although he was a gambler, not a professional fisherman, the Multi-Million Dollar purse offered was a lot of money. Steve's reaction was, "How much do I owe you? I want in!"
They only had a week or ten days to put the whole thing together; they didn't have a boat, so Captain Alan O'Brien found one, and they eagerly registered for the tournament.
After the last camera clicked at the scale, the captain volunteered, "It was a long day with no fish, and we only had an hour left until lines out. However, I believed we were in a good spot and needed to stick it out."
"We knew it wasn't over until the checkered flag dropped," Ciardullo added.
"The fight was very exciting! The leader was within reach four or five times, and the fish squirt away." Ciardullo said.
Captain O'Brien added, "We tried to make bait before the start and couldn't. So, we ran straight to the Inner Gordo to make bait and saw several fish on the meter. After that, we tried trolling bait, and several times the line came out of the rigger and downrigger clip when the skipjack became nervous, but nothing ever really struck.
Later in the day on the Outer Gordo, they worked around many boats right on the high spot, where there was a lot of pressure. A few years ago, the Chinito Bonito caught the winning fish right next to O'Brien, so he spent some time on that hunch, and it paid off!
It was Ciardullo's first marlin, and it was a big game fish that didn't want to give up! It took about an hour, but Ciardullo managed it well.
This was Michael's second time fishing the Black and Blue and Captain Alan O'Brien's tenth. The other angler on the team had never fished. However, he fit right in and was in the middle of things. It was a wonderful experience, and Thursday will be his turn.
Then a fish hit the right rigger and knocked the line out of the rigger clip. O'Brien free-spooled the bait, the blue inhaled it, and the circle hook caught right in the corner of the mouth. And the fight was on! This fish behaved like a typical blue – it never really sounded and stayed on the surface, thrashing around quite a bit. They had it to the leader four times before they finally gaffed it. The joyous team raced back to the Weigh Station.
Back at the dock, the considerable crowd parted as the cart containing the blue was pushed to the scale. The still gleaming blue marlin was hoisted to be weighed, and the mass of spectators grew silent! The digital scale finally settled, and Burt Merrit, the weighmaster, roared, "THREE-HUNDRED FORTY-FOUR POUNDS!" Pandemonium reigned as photographers jockeyed for their positions for photos.