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Always Party Harder

The Cabo Tuna Jackpot tournament is as much about having fun as it is a fishing for big bucks, and you really can combine the two. In fact, the motto of the event is "Fish Hard, Party Harder." The following is a rundown of the major parties held and contest winners over four days.

Costa Charity Cruise

In spite of the early morning departure, the Costa party aboard the Cabo Escape was a sellout. It didn't hurt that guests were greeted with mimosas and champagne and tequila sunrises being poured and the music cranked up full volume as the captain steered out the channel toward the sunrise over Baja's tip.


THERE WAS A THREE-WAY TIE for the Guess the Winning Weight Contest at 298 pounds between Rob Collins of Team 49, Armando Occelli of Team 85 and Mark Hinkle of Team 53. Hinkle won the drawing for the Kingfisher trip to Alaska, and the others received Costa sunglasses as consolation gifts.

As it became daylight, the 168 WON Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot teams began passing by the official start boat the party yacht Cabo Escape so the staff and volunteers could check off their numbers and take pictures and shout encouragement.. Many of those Friday morning boats were competing in the Show Us Your Costas! competition where Dave Bultheis of Costa sunglasses picked the winning team with the best display. The winners received four pairs of sunglasses awarded at the Friday Fiesta cocktail party at Maria Corona restaurant.

Getting in the swing of things, many boats had displays ranging from lighted signs to intricate costumes as they attempted to be noticed. Bultheis had to have a sore neck as he turned from one way to another to check out the contestants' efforts.


FIRST TIMERS, Team 17, the Texas Tuna Wranglers, wore new outfits every day, but the fuchsia outfits they wore to Gray Taxidermy scale were pretty spectacular.

The hour passed quickly. Soon one of the attendee's names was drawn to fire the flare gun to start the final day's fishing. At a deafening roar, the 168 boats throttled up on plane with an earthshaking rumble as they sped off either around the tip and up into the Pacific or north up into the Sea of Cortez, leaving wakes that rolled the Cabo Escape from side to side...much to the delight of the partygoers.

Dancing, conga lines, and raffles of Costa sunglasses, along with Costa T-shirts and hats, were all part of the fun as the boat slowly cruised near the world-famous Cabo Arch. One crew member was having a birthday and the Cardenas' couple had traveled all the way from Venezuela to celebrate their 38th wedding anniversary.


DAVE BULTHEIS CONTINUED, "The level of creativity is the greatest. One boat stood out with a Christmas theme, which is a favorite time for me, plus they had lots of signs. I'm not above taking a bribe . . . and Santa promised me a new Hatteras on December 25!"

As we edged up to the pier, Bultheis thanked the 180 passengers for coming and announced that the trip had raised more than $3,000 for the Smiles Charity, SmilesInternationalFoundation.org, which conducts surgical clinics in Cabo by volunteer U.S. doctors and nurses the same two weeks a year, performing numerous operations to correct facial deformities in children whose families are at the poverty level.

Smiles Clinics Change Lives of Cabo Children video.

Friday night Fiesta Sponsored Baja Cantina and Fishworks Clothing


"SO UNQUESTIONABLY, I selected Team Tundra... Santa come on up."

The Friday night Fiesta was held at the Maria Corona Patio Restaurant not far from the IGY Marina. Nearly 400 team members arrived to join in the party. Director Pat McDonnell had come directly from the Weigh-station where the number of last minute fish to be weighed was overwhelming.

Commenting that the scene was unbelievable. The Reel Quest alone had 5 fish on-board over 150-pounds. Their largest fish was 274-pounds. Significant the they won all of the daily optionals for Friday plus the $10,000 optional Thursday and took 2nd place over all for a grand total of $392,350. "They came to play and win, sitting at the big boys table. Before that we had a string of big fish and it was good.


AS IT BECAME LIGHT, all of the WON Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot 168 teams began passing the Cabo Escape as staff and volunteers checked off their numbers.

He went on to acknowledge Picante Pride who won the Gamefish pot of $60,400 on the first day with a 53.2-pound wahoo and Jamie Rendon on Dr. Pescado III, with his 52-pound wahoo on day 2 winning the same amount. Adding that 70 percent of the boats participating are local charter boats and 80 percent of the big fish caught were on them. "The top captains in the world are the Mexican pangeros," said McDonell.

With that, the raffles began interspersed with announcing the winners of many of the contests held over the last few days.


THE ROAR of 168 boats throttling up on plane was deafening as the sped off either around the tip and up into the Pacific or north up into the Sea of Cortez.

Guess the Winning Fish Weight.

It was a three-way tie between Rob Collins of Team Pleasure Pole, Armando Occelli of Team La Otra and Mark Hinkle of Team Pocket Aces as they all guessed 298 pounds. In took a three-person drawing to break the tie. Hinkle won the trip for two to Kingfisher Lodge in Alaska; Collins and Occelli won Costas.

The Fishworks/Baja Cantina Best Dressed/Logo Contest:


DAVE BULTHEIS had to have a sore neck turning one way and another to check out the contestants' efforts.

First timers, The Texas Tuna Wranglers, Scott Womack, Tom Micalleff, Todd Carlson, and Ricky Martin, wore new outfits every day, but the fuchsia outfits they wore to the Gray Taxidermy scale were pretty spectacular. Plus they had a lot of other friends and family who came down for this, their first year at the event. They won four free meal packages from Baja Cantina and four $125 gift certificates from Fishworks, courtesy of Jamie and Lawrence Quigley of Fishworks who are attending sponsors.

Show Us Your Costas!


MANY OF THE Friday morning boats were competing in the Show Us Your Costas!

At the boat check-in, before the start on Friday, Bultheis picked the winning teams that put the most creative effort into their costumes. The winning teams received four pairs of sunglasses.

Bultheis began by expressing appreciation on Costa's behalf for being allowed to be one of the sponsors of such a great event. "Which raises so much money for many worthwhile causes," he commented and continued that, "he was privileged to go to many events representing Costa around the world but this tournament was his favorite!" He added, "Best fishing ...best boats … best cause!"


DANCING, CONGA LINES, RAFFLES of Costa sunglasses along with Costa T-shirts and hats were all part of the fun as the boat slowly cruised near the world famous Cabo Arches.

Bultheis continued, "The level of creativity is the greatest. One boat stood out with a Christmas theme, which is a favorite time for me, plus they had lots of signs. I'm not above taking a bribe...and Santa promised me a new Hatteras on December 25!"

"So unquestionably, I selected Team Tundra… Santa come on up."


JEFF SLATER, an attending sponsor from Seaguar, spotted a sticker on a light post on the malecón that had Team 142 on it and they won a Seaguar fishing line/National rental car package. A representative of the winning team is pictured here.

The Seaguar/National Sticker Contest

Jeff Slater, National Manager for National Car Rental, spotted a sticker on a light post on the malecón that had Team Casa Margaritas (#41) on it. They won four spools of 60-pound white Threadlock along with four spools of Fluorocarbon Premier in 25-, 30- and 40-pound from Seaguar, plus a rental car package from National.


GETTING IN THE swing of things, many boats had displays ranging from lighted signs to intricate costumes as they attempted to be noticed in the Show us Your Costa's contest.

IT WAS PRIZES galore at the captains meeting, then more at the Friday Fiesta and a ton more at the awards. PHOTO BY NICKY DARE