As the Bisbee staff and volunteers put the finishing touches in preparation for the “biggest and baddest” billfish tournament in all of Mexico – the 40th annual Bisbee Black & Blue, the air was filled with anticipation as teams began to gather on the Malecon a few minutes before the 2-p.m. opening.
The registration was like nothing in the event’s forty-year history. Masks, social distancing, and only one member of each team was allowed to enter the registration area to take care of last-minute details, pick up their swag, fishing licenses for the crew if needed, and to visit the Bisbee Foundation tables ladened with Penn fishing rods, reels, line, and the celebratory Eat Me Lure embedded with the Bisbee 40th Anniversary logo.
Throughout the afternoon more and more teams arrived, and the number of entries continued to grow. By closing time, the unofficial count was a record-breaking 127 teams, the highest number ever in the 40-year history of the event, and the prize money was an astounding $4.6 million.
The following morning, before the start boat left the dock, Carlos Mendoza Davis, Baja’s Governor, and other state officials presented Wayne and Trish Bisbee with a special plaque, honoring the Bisbee family and their deceased father, Robert “Bob” Bisbee for his decades of support in Cabo San Lucas and Baja.
The Governor commended them saying, “We wanted to recognize Robert “Bob” Bisbee and his children Wayne and Trish along with the entire Bisbee family for their ongoing support for Cabo San Lucas over the past 40 years.
“This is the beginning of the high tourist season and we appreciate the Bisbee Tournaments’ efforts in conforming to the COVID-19 protocols directed by the authorities from Baja. We hope that the Bisbee Family Tournaments will be a checkered flag showing the world that Cabo San Lucas and the other Baja tourist destinations are doing their best to be open and safe.
“Cabo, like many places in the world, has had a rough time and are looking forward to the renewed interest of tourists from around the world,” observed Governor Mendoza.
Minutes before the official start of the 2020 Bisbee Black & Blue, Tournament Director Wayne Bisbee acknowledged the passing of Larry Warlaumont, approximately a 36-year veteran of the Bisbee Tournaments.
He also acknowledged the death of Blackfin Donny Lovett who had lived in Cabo for 37 years and been on Pez Espada with Captain Jeff Elless when the team won the Black & Blue in 2005 on Pez Espada, receiving a $1,348,440.
At Wayne Bisbee’s request, the entire 127 boat fleet honored the two deceased anglers with several minutes of honking of their boat horns that echoed off of Land’s End right before the flare sailed across the sky signaling Day One of the event. The huge fleet then sped toward their favorite spots, intent on finding the monster fish that could make their team a millionaire!