Have A Baja Moment! Attend the World’s Richest Fishing Tournament
When he held his very first Black and Blue Marlin Tournament back in 1981, Bob Bisbee had no idea he just established an angling legacy that was destined to span well over three decades and eventually offer some of the highest cash payouts in the world of sportfishing competition. Since its beginning with only six teams and a purse of $10,000, it has grown to an event that regularly hosts over 150 teams, with millions of dollars in prize money on the line. In 2006, the Black and Blue Tournament had its biggest overall cash payout: $4,165,960. This was, and remains, the largest payout in sportfishing tournament history.
Today Bob, his son Wayne, and grandson Blake produce three competitions each year: Bisbee’s East Cape Offshore Tourament at Buenavista on the East Cape, which is held in July and includes tuna and dorado; and the Los Cabos Offshore Charity Tournament and Black and Blue Marlin Tournament, which both take place every October in Cabo San Lucas. This year’s Black and Blue is scheduled for October 22-26.
Over time, each of these competitions has developed its own individual personality. While the East Cape event is more informal and laid back in the old Baja style, the Los Cabos Offshore Charity Tournament offers a convivial social gathering where old friends and fishing buddies are able to reminisce and swap fishing stories a few days before the biggest event of the series.
The finale, Bisbee’s Black & Blue Marlin Tournament, has been described as five days of organized chaos, replete with competitive excitement as literally thousands of people crowd the walkways of the marina to shop, dine, party and watch the weigh in of huge fish on the scales in front of Puerto Paraiso Mall in Cabo San Lucas. This popular gathering place combines indoor shopping and entertainment with cascading waterfalls, restaurants, and open areas for strolling and relaxing.
One of the most remarkable moments in this ongoing saga occurred last year when Kansas City resident Dave Sanchez, while fishing with the rest of his team aboard the boat Frantic Pace, caught the first billfish of his life; a 465 pound blue marlin. While it was not amongst the largest of this species ever taken in the Black and Blue, it just happened to be the only qualifying marlin that was weighed in during the 32nd annual tournament. Since the team aboard the Frantic Pace happened to be entered in all cash categories, they ended up taking home almost $2.4 million dollars. This incredible payout is the second largest for a single team in history of Bisbee’s tournaments.
Prior to his big win, Sanchez had never caught anything bigger than a Missouri freshwater bass. When asked how he felt after the victory, Sanchez remarked with a grin, “I’m really starting to like this offshore fishing. We had a lot of fun. It was a great team effort, and I’m just glad we ran across that fish. We found one, caught it, and as luck would have it, that was all it took.”
While Cabo San Lucas may have a well-deserved reputation for uninhibited nightlife, the good times are certainly not restricted to the downtown area. Nearby San Jose del Cabo and the corridor connecting the two towns offer many entertainment options, including sports bars, microbreweries, and live music venues.
If you’re looking for activities that are not focused on shopping, dining, or big-game sportfishing, it should also be remembered that the Los Cabos area has become one of North America’s hottest golf destinations, with championship layouts from Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, Tom Weiskopf, and Davis Love III. Three of the region’s courses have been ranked among the 100 best in the world, most recently Love’s spectacular Diamante Dunes.
One place that always seems to draw anglers, locals, and tourists this time of years is the Bisbee’s Store in Cabo San Lucas, which offers tournament related memorabilia as well as handcrafted fishing lures and sportswear.
But whether you are an angler or not, attending Bisbee’s Black and Blue can truly be an unforgettable experience. Even if you don’t walk away with millions of dollars, you’ll take a home a treasure trove of Baja memories.
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