Thursday, October 21, 2010

Drama On First Day of Bisbee

The 30th year of the Bisbee Black & Blue Jackpot Tournament got underway Wedenesday with 103 teams lining up off of Land's End for the traditional shotgun start, full of expectation and hope, especially as a lot of big fish have been taken lately.  It was early afternoon when the first qualifying fish was back at the scale, a 371 lb blue for lady angler Andrea Fletcher followed by a  431 lb black marlin caught by Ron Pasco, aboard Karma, who went into the lead, not to last though, as other boats started to show up with  fish. Not long after the 5.00 pm lines out signal, Reelaxe showed up with a very nice 599 lb black marlin putting them into first place, however not many people had noticed that  "Great Escape" a 48 ft Cabo,  which charters through Pisces had hooked up a little afer 3.00 pm, was still working away at a large fish.The group aboard came from  Houston and it was their first foray into the Bisbee Tournament.  They  had hooked a stiped marlin a little after 1.00 pm which got off pretty quickly but  trolled on towards Gordo Banks. About two miles south of the Gordo they were dragging lures, including one favorite of deckhand Manuel, which he had brought from Los Barriles the day before, when a giant marlin came up behind the boat and snatched the lure..being trolled from a 130 Penn International rigged with 100 lb line. Angler Carl Riley was in the chair and set to work on taming the large blue. The fish never jumped and after about a hour they realized it was dead. Now the work began for angler Carl who had to pump up the deadweight of a very large marlin, completely unassisted. The clock ticked on and still the exhausted Carl forced his screaming muscles to keep going...finally after five hours they had the fish at the boat and the ordeal began of trying to get it on board. I spoke to the crew on the phone and was told "it's a really big fish" big "700-800 lb" was the answer I got  from crewman Ricardo  now it was a question of if they could make it back in time, before the  9.00 pm deadline. They were off of San Jose, the wind had come up a bit and they had a full load aboard of anglers, crew and now after much effort, a large fish.  The boat began racing back to Cabo in the evening darkness, over a 1000 people eagerly awaited at the marina, and Wayne Bisbee was on the dock with his stopwatch....we willed them to go faster and imagined that we would see their lights at any second, but it was not to be...the 9.00 pm deadline came and the fish was automatically disqualifed. The boat came into view at nine minutes after nine to everybody's dismay....well except the team that was now in first place....and all could see that this was easily the largest fish of the day.
After photos and jostling by the crowed the fish was finally hung up, where it registered an amazing 800 lbs. What a  heartbreak for anglers and crew...this fish would have netted them $433,635 for day one and more for what would have been in all likelyhood the largest fish of the tournament. Angler Carl Riley was exhuasted & glassy eyed. He told me "I'm not in that good of shape, I should have worked out; I just want a massage and to got to bed" this team's attitude was incredible, all things considered, "we're here to have fun" they said...the crew were very disappointed but there is always tomorrow.

Today's standings ended up as follows:
1st Reelaxe with a 599 lb black.
2nd Rehab with a 560 lb black
3rd  C-Bandit with a 549 lb black.
4th  Karma with a 431 lb black
5th Super Natural with a 431 lb blue
6th Tiger Spirit with a 427 lb black
7th Caliente with a 397 lb blue
8th Fisheman with a 351 black

Photos show the 800 lb fish that was not allowed for getting back nine minutes late....diasppointed is not the word.