Canadian tourist Dan Tosczak‘s vacation took a strange and happy turn Wednesday. He and his girlfriend booked a trip to Cabo to watch the Bisbee’s Black & Blue Marlin Tournament this week. When they arrived, however, they found out about the Charter Hook-Up program and decided to fish. By the time the scales at the Puerto Paraiso Mall closed at 9 p.m. Tosczak and Team Danito y Karlita were the early tournament leaders with a 394-pound blue.
The Charter Hook-Up program was created this year as a result of Hurricane Odile, which struck the Los Cabos region last month. The destruction was widespread and the local sport-fishing economy was severely disrupted. To put the local independent charter boats back to work, an anonymous donor agreed to pay the base entry for a number of teams if they agreed to book a local boat to fish the tournament. A random raffle matching boats and teams was held Tuesday, setting the stage for Tosczak’s top fish. That fight took 65 minutes.
Salvador Padilla and his team of buddies from Mexico City brought in the other qualifying marlin the first day. Their 304-pounder was just four pounds over the minimum mark, but it was good for an early second place. Padilla and Company also took advantage of the Charter Hook-Up program and were paired with Tepeyacos, a 32 Blackfin. Padilla has fished Bisbee’s events previously but this was his first qualifier. “I don’t know the name of this lure, but it’s now our lucky one and we’re going to fish it the rest of the week,” Padilla said after the weight was announced. “It was a long fight. I can’t tell you where we were fishing, though. That’s a secret.”
Los Rudos, winner of last weekend’s Bisbee’s Los Cabos Offshore Tournament, used part of their winnings to enter some optional jackpot categories in the Black & Blue. That strategy almost paid off, but the fish weighed Wednesday was short of the qualifying limit. Sea Angel, a Texas team that won big last year, also brought a non-qualifying fish to the scales the first day. Teams are penalized for boating undersized fish.
A combination of 23 blue marlin and two blacks were caught during the first day of this three-day event. Eight more fish were lost. Suzuka A emerged the early leader in the Release Division by scoring two blue marlin, worth 300-points apiece.
The action continues Thursday as the 130 boats motor off into the Pacific or Sea of Cortez in search of the big one. The 908 anglers representing several countries are in search of a big marlin and a share of more than $2.1 million in prize money.
Whatever the final outcome, Dan Tosczak certainly made a dramatic first impression with his catch.
Photo Credit: Bisbee’s Black and Blue
By Capt. Dave Lear