|Captain Kevin "Cubby" Pahl on right, First Lady Angler to win Bisbee Linda Williams & John Williams right, proud of his wife - he almost had a |
"heart attack" when he heard they had won.
Joy was evident in the voice of Captain Kevin “Cubby” Pahl captain of the 60 ft. Hatteras II Success, when we reached him by phone the day after his team had landed the winning 774 LB fish, in the Bisbee Black & Blue Tournament – the second largest qualifier in the competition’s 33 year history.
As tends to happen in the world’s richest billfish tournament, everybody was kept guessing right up until the end, especially as Martha McNab, a well know local woman angler looked set to be a shoo in to be the first ever female to win the Super Bowl of fishing, with her 525 LB blue marlin caught on day two of the three day event. That milestone was to be reached, but surprisingly not by Martha, but by Linda Williams from Rancho Cucamonga, California.
Captain Cubby told us that he had fished the Pacific the two previous days as everybody knew that several big blues from the charter fleet had been caught there as well as the fish landed by Martha aboard Retriever; he fished all the well- known spots and came up blank. On the last day of the tournament he thought “the clock is ticking and at least a hundred boats are turning right to the Pacific, I am going to go the other way, up to Destiladeras, the water looks good and there is no traffic”. Team Success worked the area trolling their lures without action so Cubby systematically worked his way to the outer Gordo as the clock ticked on and with only thirty five minutes left to go in the tournament, the water behind the boat exploded as a massive marlin charged the Petrolero lure with its mouth wide open. “Everybody saw it bite” said Cubby, “my team were all in their positions and we were all watching the lures; I drive the boat standing backwards so I can see them. We could see that the fish was over 500 lbs. and it jumped at least six times, which is a lot for a fish of that size. We had the fish to the wire in an hour, but it was still strong and headed away from us, so we decided to let it go more time. After about another hour we had it in the corner and threw all the metal (gaffs) we had into it; we didn’t want to take any chances. The team did their job perfectly and the hardest thing was getting it into the boat, no easy feat with an almost 800 LB fish”.
Cubby praised his crew consisting of his Mexican deckhand Antonio “Pelon” Zuniga, his brother Craig Pahl who was aboard as an angler along with Dave Reid, who is a captain on another boat, Jan Howard and of course owner of II Success, Linda Williams. Cubby stated “Linda loves to fish and this could not have happened to a nicer or more generous person. The guys on the dock respect Linda for her fishing skills. This is a dream come true for her, she was thrilled just to participate, definitely something on her bucket list.” Linda’s husband John, who owns a house framing company, had urged her to fly down to fish the tournament, which she did bringing along friend Jan Howard. He was totally shocked to get a phone call to say they had won and flew into Cabo Saturday to be present for the awards ceremony.
Captain Kevin “Cubby” Pahl is well known and liked around Cabo; the 51 year old is originally from Carlsbad, California and grew up fishing out of Oceanside. He has been a professional skipper in Cabo for the past 29 years and this win is the highlight of his fishing career and his largest fish to date. This day almost didn’t happen though, as last year he underwent his second hip replacement surgery, during which he contracted a severe infection, followed by an adverse reaction to the drugs given him, which put him in the critical care unit for six days. There was a moment when he thought it was a possibility that he would never fish again, making this victory even sweeter.