October 23, 2015; Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur:
Last day theatrics are old sombrero for the Bisbee’s Black & Blue and the 35th edition was no exception. With no qualifying marlin on Thursday, the jackpot for a team entered across the board on the final day was worth $1.8 million. That didn’t take into account the difference between US and Canadian dollars, however, or optional jackpots.
So when Tyler Squier hooked the biggest fish of his life early Friday afternoon, calculating prize categories and payouts was the last thing on his mind. He was simply using every muscle he could to conquer the frantic blue marlin on the end of his 130-pound test line. Fortunately for the Thunder Bay, Ontario angler and Team Catching a Buzz, the fish would surrender after a strenuous battle lasting 35 minutes. When it was finally hoisted aloft at the scales, the 500-pound mark would vault the team into first-place for the three-day event.
“That was tough,” Squire said afterwards. “I couldn’t believe we had a chance. We’re just five buddies from Ontario who decided, hey, let’s do this, let’s fish this tournament. It is the Bisbee’s after all, the richest contest in the world, and this was our shot.”
That “shot” was made possible by a lucky lure owned by the captain of Rondinella, Carlos Dominguez. The dark and gold-striped Zulu lure by Bart proved to be the downfall of the hungry fish.
“My wife asked why I bought this lure and I told her it would be lucky someday,” Dominquez said. “Today it worked its charm.”
The Canadian team was not entered across the board, negating the possibility of nearly a $2 million-dollar payout. By virtue of catching the largest fish of the week, however, the team is guaranteed to not go home empty-handed, either.
The peak feeding period shifted into the afternoon hours as the week wore on and Friday was no different. Several boats called in hook-ups to Axel Valdez manning Radio Control in the last hour of fishing. The uncertain outcome kept Squier and his buddies anxiously waiting at the scales.
“We’re going to be sitting around, having a few cocktails and just hoping nobody else comes in with a bigger fish.” he said. “It’s going to be a long night.”
The wait is over, with another memorable Black & Blue winding down. Despite multiple nationalities represented, the team from way north of the border would hold on for the win. All that’s left now is distributing more than $3.5 million in overall prize money. That’ll take place Saturday evening at the Puerto Paraiso Mall in downtown Cabo San Lucas.