The sun rose on the third and final day of the 39th Annual Bisbee Black and Blue Tournament. Excitement filled the air as anglers waited for their last opportunity to beat the odds and become the third team to collect a winning check that would exceed the bewitching $1 Million mark.
Conditions looked better than they had in the preceding days, and Wayne Bisbee gave the final update before the flare gun start. He confirmed that the last day’s jackpot was approximately $1.3 million.
Over the past two days, there had been enough billfish to keep things interesting; however, there had been a problem of finding qualifiers (fish weighing a minimum of 300 pounds) to bring to the scale.
Once again, the bulk of the fleet headed north up into the Sea of Cortez, where most of the action had taken place over the past two days. Less than an hour after the flare streaked across the sky, the first billfish of the day was released. That seemed to be a good omen.
Aboard Tranquillo, owner Ken Cofer started the team’s day off with a sailfish release. Although it was not the right kind of fish, it was an encouraging sign of things to come.
On they trolled for the next hour or so in search of the “big one.” And then they had a “be careful what you wish for” moment – a double hookup for anglers Amanda Cofer and Bill Pino, and this time it was the right kind!
Pino’s blue marlin was huge; it greyhounded across the calm Sea of Cortez as Amanda’s smaller marlin thrashed about closer to the boat. Pino later recalled, “ It was a double-header! It had my heart pumping -- adrenaline was coursing through my body. Should we back off on the big one and release the small one as quickly as possible? Or should we fight both equally? Maybe we should horse Amanda’s in, while mine was out there jumping around? I was getting nervous, but Captain Victor Julio knew what he was doing and was calm throughout the fight.”
Amanda released her fish in a mere five minutes allowing the entire team’s attention to turn to Pino and his enormous blue marlin. Fancy boat handling, along with a skilled angler, was too much for the monster blue that was boated in 44-minutes.
The Tranquilo team, from Costa Rica, was a loud, raucous bunch as they escorted their fish to the scale and presented their catch to the astonished Wayne Bisbee.
“If we are going to have a first fish of the day, this is a good one to have,” Bisbee observed. “As I recall, you had the biggest fish a few years back in 2015 when you won $2.5 million for a third-place finish!” https://www.bisbees.com/News/Article/6
When the mammoth blue was hoisted high enough to be weighed, Jack Teschel, Weigh Master, confirmed the weight: “Five-Hundred-Seventy-Seven Pounds — the heaviest fish of the tournament so far!”
Pino commented, “We have fished the Bisbee's, the LCB, LCO, and BB — three Tournaments. Captain Victor said we had a shot at the big one yesterday, and we caught this one right where we had “the shot” yesterday!”
Team Pocket Aces, angler Mark Hinkle, brought in the last fish of the day — actually, the last fish of the tournament — to the scale. Unfortunately, the fish failed to qualify by a mere 13-pounds. “A real heartbreaker,” Wayne Bisbee observed. “You can’t eyeball that small of a difference.”
Team Member Steve Hasashi added dejectedly, “We had one a couple of years ago at East Cape Offshore that was only two pounds short — 298 pounds. Continuing, “We will be back!
Then with a smile, he added, “The Bisbee Family does a great job! These tournaments are the best.”
And they have, though it’s not always just about the tournament; the Bisbee Family and staff
have done an excellent job of making sure that the fish that made it to the scale is not wasted.
Although hundreds of marlin were caught and released, only 20 lost their lives and were brought to the scale to be weighed in. Thankfully thousands of people will be fed from that 20 marlin -- our calculations are 22,545 meals! Thank you to our team of volunteers who helped process, package, and deliver the fish to those in need!
“Hope for Los Cabos would like to give a BIG thank you to Wayne Bisbee and Tricia Bisbee for giving us the honor of spreading out all the tournament fish to so many in our city in need! Everyone is grateful to receive the fish!!”...Jen Limpert
During the Bisbee Black and Blue, a Hurricane Odile Film crew was working on a story about a team of local orphans and their caregiver — all of whom had never fished before — who caught a 385-pound blue marlin and won the Bisbee’s Black & Blue Fishing Tournament on Oct. 26, 2014 in Cabo San Lucas, B.C.S., Mexico.
Although Team Casa Hogar was awarded $258,325 in prize money for the accomplishment, the team did not split up the cash for each member to enjoy. According to a press release, every last dollar went to Casa Hogar, which helps provide shelter, food, and educational opportunities to underprivileged boys in Cabo San Lucas. The complete story here
So, One, Two, Three million in three days a new record for Bisbee Tournaments. There should be a lively celebration tonight!
- SATURDAY, OCTOBER 26 - AWARDS CELEBRATION
- 6:00 p.m. at A.P.I. Cruise Ship Pier Awards celebration begins with cocktails followed by dinner and a big-screen presentation of the tournament video.
- Evening Entertainment: Cabo Max's Benefit Concert, hosted by Bisbee's Fish & Wildlife Conservation Fund. The concert, Raffle, and Silent Auction will benefit the Green Scholarship Program, and our BF&WCF Revolutionary RFID Tagging Program.
The Bisbee Team is looking forward to seeing you there to help celebrate and enjoy the fun evening!
And … it’s a wrap! Another successful Bisbee year is over! Plans are underway for 2020 Bisbee “Three,” especially the 40th Annual Bisbee Black and Blue Tournament.