I agree the marlin fishing was very off for at least the past 3 years. That said, and only my opinion, but I do believe it will bounce back and be pretty damn good again. I remember fishing these tournaments and while glassing I would also jot down hook-up info as it came in. In many of these tournaments and for numerous years, the amount of hook-ups were incredible!
There can only really be one Swordfish Captain that you are refering too, and with all due respect, I don't believe there was ever any cheating taking place.
They started off as Team Trauma and then became Team Bad Company........ the Captain was as good as they come IMO and the crew was top notch as well. Sure they also had great intel before the tournament as well as many boats having code groups and sharing info amongst a select few. But the overall knowledge and the flat out hard work of being in a decent area and glassing non stop and HARD is what lead them to be consistent winners IMO.
Also you have to remember that only the Zane Grey tournament was a point tournament, with very few fish taken, and instead was set up in a way where points were accumulated for fish released as well as one large fish kept. The Zane grey was very high on the skill level type tournament in order to win.
The Catalina Gold cup which then became the Catalina Classic was much more of a anybody can win type tournament, as it was a big fish tournament and that right there is mostly dumb luck.
I'm going to have to concur with the unknown fisherman.
I seriously doubt Steve needs a plane to find fish. It has been written, that he has years of notes on his charts and other logs about his sword fishing days and marlin fishing. The guy knows the waters and how to take advantage of ever changing conditions.
His advantage is his unrelenting nature.
As for the tournaments, the lack of fish in recent years caused the tournaments to disappear. However they will return and when they do we can have a whole new appreciation for them.
I wouldn't mind trying my dumb luck against the best of the best
I'm not saying there was any sort of cheating at all, knowledge is power. I'm just saying that it's hard to put up those entry fee's and jackpots as a recreational fisherman when you are up against professionals.
The information gap was nothing unknown, as a matter of fact during the last few years before the tournaments ended, they split the field into professional and amateur. I think this actually made things worse since it just created 2 smaller prize pools.
Marlin fishing is back and after seeing the Pescador go 7 for 14 locally a few days ago, it sucks there are none of these money tournaments next month.