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Directors Message

200 pounders boiling on bait

Huge tuna to 343 pounds are showing
on the eve of Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot

Tournament season is here in Cabo and the final, major fishing tourney of the Land's End competitive season is the 14th annual Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot with $600,000 in cash and prizes. Perfect timing, you might say as the string of storms has ended, and the huge tuna of 200 and 300-pound tuna are coming in.

Several were over 200 pounds and one the first days of the Bisbee's was a 343 pounder. There was a 314 pounder by the Chupacabra among the 200 pounders weighed in at the 80-team Baby Bisbee's the week before.

BIG TUNA ARE GOING off in Cabo on the eve of the Cabo Tuna tourney in its 14th year. Pictured is Team Meal Money last year.

Bob Hoose of Berkley who was at the 106-team three-day Bisbee's, Black & Blue Marlin Tournament and was on the water with Bad Company as an observer, said the huge tuna were crashing on bait.

"I rode on Bad Company to get photos and pick their brains on ways to improve the Penn reel line-up," he said. "They slow-trolled live skipjack with #550-pound leader for black and blue marlin, but tuna don't count in the Bisbee's and they won't eat the heavy leader. However, all day we watched 200- to 300-pound tuna explode around the boat feeding on chuillies.

"One of the tournament boats couldn't take it anymore and dropped down to 130-pound leader and hooked a 300 while letting the bait out! Lassley (Steve) and his boys are too focused on the cash and kept to their marlin plan. But damn, are the tuna thick, all big ones, too! Nothing under 200 pounds."

As it stands now, we should have 100 or 110 teams. The Bisbee's had 106, up from 100 last year, so I'm hopeful, and the big tuna action can't hurt. If you haven't signed up yet, don't worry, we'll all have fun down there without you, but we'll keep you updated on the two-days of fishing on in the Cabo blog from Brandon Hayward. It should be epic. And I promise to call in a report to Let's Talk Hookup on Saturday morning on 1090-AM after the fishing is done. Pete has always been a supporter of the event.

It's billed a fun tournament, but there is a serious element to it, and it's my job as director to make sure rules are followed. Over the year's I've disqualified some teams, two of them good friends of mine. It wasn't that they tried to cheat, they just ran afoul of the rules. Small stuff, but you have to enforce the rules or its Jersey Shore down there.

As for whether the average Joe can win it, usually that's who "wins" them. Good fishermen, but not killer pros. Sure, the tournament pros win their fair share because they go into a lot of optionals and they know every trick, but the $450,000 last year was spread among seven of the 108 teams. It was nine teams the previous year. And it's not just tuna, Two teams centered on wahoo and won $36,000 on the two days for a $1,000 optional investment. Not too bad.

And, the fishing in the 13th annual Jackpot in 2011 was anything but unlucky, with 28 yellowfin tuna over 100 pounds and three over 200, topped by Cabo Magic's 213 pounder the second day that won the championship. It was a nearly 5-hour fight on light line by Orville Henseler, who came to Cabo on a Bucket List plan with his wife Cindy after losing his leg in an industrial accident back in Pennsylvania.

There's always great stories like that, and big fish. The tourney has had three yellowfin over 300 pounds, including the Mexico tuna record of 383 pounds, by team Fisher Man in 2009. That tuna remains the biggest yellowfin ever caught in a tournament, anywhere, in history.

However, it would hard to top last year's event with its dramatic weigh-in the second day when team True XIl stormed in with minutes to go before the 6 p.m. deadline with their a 206-pound fish that swept the day 2 tuna optionals and won $158,520. That and the story of the Bucket List win on the Cabo Magic.

See you when I get back. Nine days in Cabo isn't such bad duty.

Pat McDonell is editor of WON and director of WON Catalina, Cabo and Ensenada tournament. He can be reached at (949) 366-0030, ext 33, or