The Bisbee East Cape Offshore Tournament’s payout once again had a substantial increase in overall cash prizes.
Seasoned veterans – along with a few newcomers – were already lining up at the registration table when Trish and Jordyn Bisbee along with David Garcia, “Catch Stat,” opened at 3 p.m.
Throughout the afternoon, more teams arrived. Some were pre-registered, joined by an additional 24 walk-ons. Some held cocktail glasses or scribbled messages, others wads of cash to pay entry fees. During the afternoon, teams compared notes of recent pre-fishing guardedly … many hopeful, expressing optimism.
John Domanic, San Jose del Cabo and his partner Mike Hennessy from Maui, last year’s big winners in the heaviest tournament and gamefish categories along with a rollover of the dorado jackpot money good for $108,900, were shooting for a repeat. Dominic sheepishly grinned, “This is my birthday week and I have already won $1.4 million in the past, including this event twice and “White Marlin Open” in Maryland.
Outside, teams sampled tequila and checked out the latest Hi-5 lures as Ken Matney held court from behind the counter of his stand. Another local, Ed Lejoy of Los Barriles, aboard his 45-foot Viking “Shock and Awe”, confided that they had seen quite a bit of action and were excited to be fishing this week.
Soon Wayne Bisbee, flanked by his interpreter, Clicerio Mercado, called the Captains Meeting to order and announced that 64 teams were entered with the total amount growing by $40K to a respectable $584,000.
Mick Thompson, San Jose, BCS, on Team Reel Machine, winners in 2014, nodded in approval.
After covering the basic rules and announcing that the scales would be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Bisbee added that “circle hooks were mandatory for all fishing, whether using bait alive or dead.” This was followed by a raffle for a variety of lures and hats from the various local sponsors.
Axel Valdez, sales manager for the host Hotel Buenavista Beach Resort, watching from the back of the crowd, added, “It is gratifying to see how the event has continued to grow throughout its 17-year history.”
As the teams began to head out to their respective “fish machines” anchored in front of the resort hotel, the mood was upbeat for most while a few shared Captain Mark Rayor’s thoughts that “it could go either way.”
Next morning, as local government officials gathered to board the committee boat “Awesome Too,” Wayne turned to Trisha as they stepped aboard the boat for the traditional flare gun start .Gazing at the flat calm Sea of Cortez, he whispered, “I have a feeling this is going to be an exciting one!”