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Someday Is Already Here


If you're in the travel / fishing business like we are, you get a lot of " We'll get out your way someday!" or "One of these days, we have to try doing something like that!"

ORVILLE AND CINDY HENSELER at the awards ceremony at the Tuna Jackpot. He fought a 213-pound tuna over five hours on a single speed reel to win the event.

You smile. You nod. That's great. Sure thing.

This past week, my wife, Jill and I spent a great time working with the wacky crazy fun crew of Western Outdoor News at the 13th Annual Yamaha Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot. Imagine throwing a five -day party for about 600 of your best friends.

It's a lot of work, but far outweighed by the smiles and fun. With over 100 teams from around world participating, how can you go wrong with a tournament that has the motto, "FISH HARD! PARTY HARDER!"

Ringmaster and WON Editor Pat McDonell pulls out all the stops as tournament director to make sure everyone has a good time. The best thing is that you see so many of the same faces every year. Many participants tell us this is sometimes the ONLY fishing they do all year and look forward to ONLY fishing in this event...because it's such a kick.

This year, Jill worked the papers and stats helping to keep the tournament central booth manned and everyone straight. I thought I had the "easy" job of working the weigh scale with Pat.

Not so. There were a lot of fish to weigh! It was pretty crazy. Drama right to the end. As it turned out, it was historic! More fish were weighed than ever. There were so many fish over 100 pounds, let alone the bigger slugs. (28 fish over 100 pounds and 3 over 200 pounds). I was pretty much covered with fish goo by the end of the day.

And there was the winner...213 pounds of tuna muscle. And it was worth almost 37 grand in prize money. Yay!

It's quite a story.

Orville Henseler fought this thug fish for almost FIVE hours. He was a FIRST TIME angler. When we saw his rod and reel, it almost looked like a rental rod. No fancy upgrades. No two-speed gears. No aircraft precision. It was a simple out-of-the-box Penn 6/0 reel. His rod...I dunno...a no-name-brand from what I can tell. Better suited for 20-pound dorado than 200- pound gorilla tuna. Granted, he had 150-pound Seagaur leader, but his mainline... only 50-pound mono!

He refused to pass off the rod for all five hours. He wouldn't hear of it. Imagine dangling a 200-pound refrigerator over the side of a building on a string and hanging onto it...for five grueling hours in the Baja sun on a rolling boat. That's manning-up on a fish!

But that's not the story...the real story. The winning story.

See, Oroville Henseler came all the way out from Springtown, Pennsylvania. Yes, THAT hotbed of ocean-fishing. Oroville had never fished in a big-time tournament. Heck, he hadn't even been ocean fishing before.

Six months ago, he never imagined himself standing on the winner stage with a big fat check in one hand and his wife, Cindy, holding his other hand and holding back tears of her own.

You see, about 6 months ago, Oroville Henseler from Springtown was more concerned with staying alive and maybe walking again. After eight months of hoping to save the leg, he finally lost it to an industrial accident when his shoelace got entangled in a machine. Surgery and eight months of medical science was unable to save his leg.

Fitted with a prosthetic leg, he had one of those life-changing experiences you hear about.

As the story is told, just two weeks before the tournament, he decided to go. A big -time tournament was on his new "bucket list" and he said no more "what if..." moments in his life. He plopped down the credit card and stepped up.

As he stood up there in the lights accepting the roaring congratulations and applause from more than 600 people, politicians and dignitaries at the awards banquet at the Cabo marina, he was choked up. I could see his eyes tearing up. His metal bionic leg sticking out from a pair of jeans shorts. A Kodak moment of moments.

Winning. It's not about the money. It's about saying "No more somedays." There might not be time for "someday." Someday is already here.

Jonathan Roldan is Baja Editor and columnist for Western Outdoor News. He lives in La Paz with his wife Jill, and they operate Tailhunter International Adventures.