All That’s Fishy – September 2020
A monthly Baja fishing report by Gary Graham -That Baja Guy
Bisbee’s 2020 East Cape Offshore Tournament Smashes Records
From around the world, 72-teams came to compete in Bisbee’s East Cape Offshore three-day event on the fertile Sea of Cortez for a record jackpot of over $1,100,000, breaking three of its records. The Bisbee’s Organization began the 2020 Season during the world-wide COVID-19 Pandemic with the event’s largest turnout, the first time the prize money cracked the million-dollar mark, and the largest blue marlin ever caught in the 21-year history of the East Cape Offshore.
As a result of the pandemic, Baja Sur’s Sportfishing authorities established a protocol dictating adjustments to the event’s format.
Only a few weeks earlier, the event was waiting for approval and the teams were unsure that it would even take place – so they gratefully accepted the new rules.
The Bisbee group and team participants were unaware that they would be part of a historic event that would soon shatter three significant records. A link to a Captains’ Meeting video, in both English and Spanish, was sent to every team member, every captain, and every crew member, covering all the information that would have been covered live at past events.
Face masks were to always be worn and social distancing of six feet of spacing between every person was to be in place throughout the event. Only the angler and their catch could come to the scale, eliminating team photos!
Day One was dominated by 62 billfish released. In the gamefish categories, there were hard-luck stories! But one of the most disappointing was Buena Vista Oceanfront & Thermal Resort’s Team Member Esaul Valdez. Valdez battled his dorado for well over an hour before losing what he described as a winner, weighing well over the qualifying weight of 30-pounds!
Day Two, Team Keep It Reel, Oscar Romero released a blue marlin after a grueling three-hour battle; Scott Kays released a striped marlin and Manuel Perlata released a blue marlin aboard “Alegria” owned by Buena Vista Oceanfront & Thermal Resort.
Team Big Oh with angler Greg Kelc weighed their 39.9-pound dorado that took only 15 minutes to boat, ultimately capturing the heaviest dorado of the tournament and $60,170.00 and prizes
TOTAL TEAM PAYOUT $1,110,050
1st Chachalacos Blue Marlin 704-pounds $240,284.00
2nd True Grit Black Marlin 306-pounds $559,870.00
3rd Dos Tejas Blue Marlin 386-pounds $76,506.00
1st El Suertudo Release Division $44,200.00
2nd Hooray Release Division $15,300.00
3rd Reel Texan Release Division $8,500.00
Fin & Tonic Heaviest Yellowfin Tuna $82,695.00
Big Oh Day 2 Largest Dorado $60,170.00
MAJA Team Day 3 Largest Dorado $22,525.00
In the yellowfin tuna division, Team Fin & Tonic with angler James Brodsky weighed in a tuna at 41.4-pounds. He also enjoyed the benefits of there not being a qualifying a tuna on the first day, allowing them to receive an incredible $82,695.00 for a fish just 1.4-pounds over the minimum weight on Day Two. How’s that for a feel-good story for them?
Speaking of “feel good,” Team True Grit’s owner and angler, Jim Putman weighed a black marlin that exceeded the 300-pound minimum weight by a mere six pounds, earning their team a whopping $559,870 (since there were no billfish weighed on Day One the daily purses were doubled on Day Two).
There were two blue marlin weighed on Day Three, the final day. The first was Team Dos Tejas, Mike Darden with a 386-pound blue marlin that briefly was the heaviest billfish of the day. A bit later, local Team Chachalacos with Captain Carlos Almanza relied on their accumulated knowledge from the past three generations arrived with a huge blue marlin that weighed 704-pounds, the largest ever weighed during the 21-year history in the Bisbee East Cape Offshore.
In the Release Division, ten teams battled it out as the three-days unfolded. The front runners were constantly being pressured to find just one more billfish that would bite. There were ample billfish to chase in this category since minimum weights were not an issue.
Congratulations to Team El Suertudo for once again ending up at the top of the leader board! Team Hooray and Team Real Texan were in pursuit every day and they had the El Suertudo Gang looking over their shoulders several times.
Nice going to teams Dos Tejas, Quiteña, Oro Negro, Overtime, Protocol, Team Reel Energy, and Carajo for making the top three earn their win! And thanks to all the teams for demonstrating how much fun the Release Category can be for both the anglers and the billfish.