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C-ROD takes title with 210 pounder

16th annual event saw five teams share the record payout of $689,800, with Maybe Manana and Team Picante nabbing the lion's share of the bucks with payouts over $200,000 each, while the Team AMZ champs on the C-Rod nailed down $78,550

CABO SAN LUCAS -- Big game anglers in the16th Annual WON/Yamaha Los Cabos Tuna Tournament walked off with $649,800 in jackpot prizes at the Nov. 4-7 event.

"The tournament was the largest in recent history in terms of number of teams and the prize money the largest payout ever," said tourney director Pat McDonell. "It shows the event is more popular, the economy is improving and Cabo is back after the hurricane devastation last year. The tournament went smoothly with the help of so many. The only situation we could not control was the overall quality of fishing. The commercial purse seine net boats were relentless before and during the tourney. Mexico needs to address this situation quickly."

While volume of catches were down, there were still big fish brought to the Gray Taxidermy scales, including the 210 pounder by Team AMZ on the charterboat C-Rod the first day of fishing. This was their fifth year of competing in the event, While there was not a massive amount of fish caught, there were nearly a dozen fish over 100 pounds.

Cabo was indeed a busy place under blue skies and little wind every day of the event as the humidity and heat that had gripped the area for two months lifted just before the teams arrived, The weather each day was in the mid-80;s with light breezes. The town and its visitors were ready to fish hard and party harder.

Indeed, monster crowds of anglers, guests, sponsors and onlookers at the various events over four days dominated the marina area in Cabo through the key elements of the event: The check-in, the Yo-Zuri captains meeting at the Tesoro Hotel, massive 143-boat flare gun starts off the famed Cabo Arch after sunrise, two crowded and festive weigh-ins . Then there were two Marina Cabo San Lucas dinners on the malecon, the first event the Friday Fiesta for 450 people and then the gala dinner for 700 on Saturday night as winners were announced.

That finale, the Yamaha Jackpot Awards Banquet was held on the API Malecon next to their office overlooking the IGY Marina. As guests arrived, they were encouraged to check out the many items displayed on the Silent Auction's tables such as a Kingfisher Lodge sportfishing trip for two, Jon Pettey Goldsmith jewelry, and Tackle packages from Cousins, Okuma, Mold Craft and many other sponsors.

Proceeds were earmarked for the Smiles International Foundation which conducts surgeries to correct facial deformities in Cabo children. Through various fundraising efforts over four days, $35,000 was raised for the foundation. More on those efforts in next week's Tuna Jackpot Review in Western Outdoor News.

During dinner, McDonell introduced many of the WON Staff, special guests, friends and supporters of the event. After which he held several contests including "Guess the size of the largest tuna of the event," for which three anglers guessed the exact weight. Jorge Miguel Escamilla's name was drawn for a trip for two to Kingfisher Lodge in Alaska valued at $3,390.

The "Best Dressed Team" was actually three teams that fished together on three different boats Teams 8- Linda Fiesta, 10- Ursala II, 7- El Nuevo, and second was Victor Locklin's team. Each team received 4 certificates for all their meals during the 2016 tournament donated by Baja Cantina. There were $100,000 in drawing prizes and gifts given out over four days.

Team and boat winners were:

--In It Tuna TEAM Win It aboard Pisces Fleet sportfisher Ruthless with Mike King, Lincoln Neb.; Mike Magill, Broken Arrow, Okla.; Jimmy Klein, Lincoln, Neb.; and Mike Moser, Lincoln Neb. with the largest wahoo weighing 36.9-pounds on the first day earning them $50,800.

--Gladiator aboard "Gladiator" with David Crook, Ardmore Okla.; Vernon Ritter, Ardmore, Okla.; Chris Cagle, Marietta Ga.; and Trey Westfall, Marietta; Ga. captured the second day's Dorado\Wahoo Prize with a 41.9-pound wahoo for $50,800.

--Team AMZ aboard C-Rod with Joe Zuccolotto, El Dorado Hills., Calif.; Robert Ellenwood, La Selva Beach, Calif.; Chiara Zuccolotto, El Dorado Hills, Calif.; and Ariana Zuccolotto, El Dorado Hills, Calif. with their 210-pound tuna caught on Day One $500 $18,200, and 1st Place Overall $60,350 for a total of $78,550.

--Team Maybe Manana aboard Maybe Manana with Brad Stevenson, Glenview, Ill.; William Lewis, Eugene, Ore.; Scott Lewis, Cottage Grove, Ore.; and Jesus Trejo, Cabo San Lucas, BCS landed the second largest tuna weighing198 pounds worth $227,500 for 2nd Place Overall $7,100, Day One $1,000, $32,000, Day One $2,000, $40,000, Day One $3,000, $56,400. Day One $5,000, $48,000 and Day One $10,000, $44,000.

--Team Picante aboard the 33 Magnum with Eduardo Martinez, Chino Hills, Calif.; Pedro Lieras, Guillermo Gonzalez and Jesus Anas were awarded $242,150 for their 181-pound tuna. 3rd Place Overall $3,550, Day Two $500, $18,200, Day Two $1,000, $32,000, Day Two $2000, $40,000, Day Two $3000, $56,400, Day Two $5000, $48,000 and Day Two $10,000, $44,000.

NOTE: This report on the official Tuna Jackpot Website That will be followed by the 20-page Tuna Jackpot Review in WON and a full gallery of photos will be posted along with a video on that website in two weeks.

Next year's event, is slated for Nov. 2-5, 2016.

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