The 15th annual Los Cabos Billfish Tournament culminated with the traditional surf-and-turf gala awards dinner and banquet held at the beautiful beachside terrace of the Brigantine Restaurant at the Playa Grande Resort & Grand Spa. Team Extraction‘s 625-pound blue marlin caught on the first day of fishing held up to take the lion’s share of the purse due to no other qualifying marlin coming to the scales on the second or third day of fishing. As a result, Extraction — with Capt. Ramon Hiram Montaño, mate Jamie Gonzales from Cabo San Lucas, and angler-owner Tom Lansing of Phoenix, Arizona — won Furuno First Place Team ($45,000) and the IGY Largest Marlin Categories ($27,000). Team Extraction also won the optional Airmar Daily Marlin Jackpots ($155,925), and the Fin-Nor Winner-Take-All Largest Marlin Jackpot ($67,500) for total winnings of $295,425. The team also received AFTCO championship clothing and an invitation to the 2014 Offshore World Championship.
The Rick Bogert Second Place Overall Team award from the base entry went to Team Expedition, a 65-foot Viking with Capt. Wilks Hammock at the helm. Angler and owner Glenn Richardson from Abbeville, Louisiana, bested a 516-pound blue after a three-hour battle on the first day of fishing with teammates Lance Hightower who caught a striped marlin, Jason Buck, Bruce Montino, Osiel Winkler, and Tony Fransconi. Second place in the base entry earned $27,000. This was a nice catch for team Expedition but was trumped by_Extraction_’s 625 on the same day.
The AFTCO First Place Billfish Release Points Team award from the base entry went to Team Chupacabra, a 64-foot Hatteras with Capt. Mick Thompson, which earned 1,300 points from two blues and two striped marlin caught by Clay Hensley of Florida and Boyd Decoito of Hawaii, and one Pacific sailfish caught by Sam Choi of Hawaii, with owner Mike Mullen of Texas, Blake Stamper and Francisco Castillo.
Team Chupacabra also won the optional King Sailfish Mounts Day 1 and Day 2 Billfish Release Jackpots and Playa Grande Third Place Overall Team award because of only two on the dock qualifiers for total winnings of $39,150.
Second Place Billfish Release Point prize went to Team Galati, a 55-foot Viking with Capt. Brad Richards, earning 700 points on time from one blue marlin caught by Pat Healy of New Gretna, N.J., one striped marlin, and one Pacific sailfish caught by Jesus Francisco, Cabo San Lucas. Owner Bob Hixson, Carmine Galati, Zach Ferrell and John Mumford completed the team winning $5,400 plus prizes.
Third Place Billfish Release Points Team went to Cisco a 35-foot Cabo with Capt. Kerwin Masunaga, with 700 points from two striped and one blue marlin caught by Steve Spina of Malibu, California, with teammates Jordan Karen, Louis Aboroa, Ivan Gomez and Jesus Beltran winning $3,600 plus prizes.
The Day Three King Sailfish Optional Billfish Release Jackpot Winner was Reel Quest, a 68-foot Hatteras with Capt. Ty Valli with 600 points from a blue marlin caught by Patrick Gee of Chino Hills, California and a striped marlin caught by Louis Anaya, Cabo San Lucas, and teammates owner Dick Landfield, Walker Evans, Jose Antonio Bojoquez and Vicente Bojoquez, winning $6,075
In the TransCabo Optional Tuna/Wahoo/Dorado Jackpot, there were no qualifying dorado, so by rule the purse was split among the tuna and wahoo winners.
Day 1 Wahoo Winner — Miss Behavin 61-foot Garlington owned by Dave Finkelstein of Texas won with a 26.5-pound fish caught by Jose Loria of Costa Rica. Capt. Jose Reyes, Stephen Weitzen, Tony Berkowitz, Pado Soto, Ben White, Bill Platt: $6,693.75
Day 2 Wahoo Winner —El Suertudo 61-foot Viking Capt. Greg DiStefano,
32.8 pounds caught by Jeff Richardson, San Clamente, California. Owner Guy Yocom, Todd Clark, Oswald Ortega Cruz. Alfonso Orlega, Victor Barreda: $6,693.75
Day 3 Wahoo Winner —Minerva II 33-foot Bertram Capt. Epigmenio “Pimi” Fiol 34.5 pounds caught by Katrina Prasse from Prince Albert, Canada. Gary Anderson, Gary Mowat, Bertha Rivera, Epigmenio Fiol, Damian Parra: $6,693.75
The Days 1–3 Tuna Jackpot Winner — Reel Gold 35-foot Cabo Capt. Antonio Romero
Day One 49.8 pounds caught by Jason Snyder. There were no qualifiers on day two so the prize rolled to day three. On day three, a 65.4-pound yellowfin tuna caught by Richard Matson, Alaska, with teammates Murray Wright, Mitch Kishimoto, Antonio Romero Castro: $20,081.25
But the story on the tuna Jackpot for day three included an unforeseen incident at the weigh-ins, with the victims being the team of Ole Ole, which also had a tuna to weigh. Team Ole Ole handed their tuna to a dockhand that turned around with the tuna in both hands at waist level, only to be greeted by a large sea lion nicknamed Poncho that jumped out of the water and snatched it out of the deckhand’s hands. The young man appeared to be in total shock and hundreds of spectators witnessed the incident. We will never know how much the fished weighed, which is what can only be described as “Poncho’s Law” for the team and tournament. To our knowledge, this has never happened before in a Los Cabos Blue Water Tournament, but this incident is something that must be considered in the future for the tournament and destination.
Owners John Moorehouse Jr. and Denise Moorehouse, Capt. Aristeo Gonzales, teammates Scott Linn, Ciro Gonzales and Roberto Rodriguez were understandably upset and shocked at what happened. During the awards banquet, the team was brought up on stage and the tournament director recognized team Ole Ole as the winners of the new Poncho Award, which came with a trophy and prizes for the most unusual event of the competition.
The tournament awarded over $440,000 in cash and prizes with a great time had by all.
Check for all other coverage and photos at the Los Cabos Billfish Tournament Facebook page.