As befitting the World’s Richest Fishing Tournament, the Bisbee’s Black & Blue, presented by IGY Marinas, did hand out a whopping $2 million dollars in cash prizes at the awards celebration Saturday night. But the real winners are a local orphanage for boys, as well as the citizens of Los Cabos. After Hurricane Odile slammed ashore last month and caused widespread damage, 125 teams heeded the call to fish anyway and came to town to help jump-start the vital economic recovery.
“In all honesty, up until a couple weeks ago I thought we were going to rally whoever was here at the Baja Cantina, throw some money in a hat and just go fishing to keep the tournament streak going,” said Tournament Director Wayne Bisbee. “But thanks to all our fantastic anglers and sponsors, somehow we pulled it off and the results are just insane. We helped put a lot of people back to work, caught some good fish and we’re definitely leaving Cabo in better shape than we found it.”
Team Casa Hogar was the top winner this year. The 10 anglers and crew were fishing on behalf of the local non-profit organization that provides food, shelter and education to under-privileged Los Cabos boys. Angler Omar Castaneda scored the win after landing the biggest qualifying fish of the tournament, a 385-pound blue marlin. That fish took the overall team prize, tournament jackpot, top captain award (Capt. Ernie Cossio) and the Day Two $500 Daily Jackpot. The team is donating the $258,325 winnings to Casa Hogar.
In typical Black & Blue fashion, Sporty Game, entered across the board in all daily jackpot categories, waited until the final day to bring in the million-dollar fish. Carlos Cervontes whipped the 337-pound blue marlin in 18 minutes. That catch earned owner/captain Dan Lewis and the team a whooping payout of $1.682 million for second place in all team awards and the dailies. Lewis has been fishing the B&B since 2000. Sporty Game’s catch this year represents the 12th time a team has earned more than one million dollars in the tournament’s 34-year history.
Angler Dennis Bartos and Team Survivor are not going home empty-handed. Their blue marlin, tipping the scales at 328 pounds, earned a check for $42,187 for third place. Rounding out the top five, Baja Banditos pocketed $11,250 for a 320-pound blue, while Tepeyacos took fifth with a 304-pounder, good for $7,500.
In the tightly-contested Release Division, Mobius took top honors and the most money—$49,725—by releasing the first marlin based on time. Suzuka A, one of several teams from Japan, was second ($17,212) and Los Tapatios took third place and a check for $9,562. For the week, the 912 anglers from multiple countries caught 60 blue and six black marlin.
The Black & Blue slogan is “Come for fun, leave a millionaire.” After the 2014 event, however, adding: “And Make a Difference” is certainly an appropriate exclamation point.