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The Jackpot primer for first-timers

A few tips:

Are you and friends first-time Cabo Tuna Jackpot anglers or perhaps you are on the fence, considering entering?


TEAM SIRENA's BIG payday was a record for the event, all due to a great game plan that produced as 354 pound yellowfin the first day. But there were eight other teams that won money last year! Also a record.

If so, we suggest this basic rule for those average first-timers. Treat this tourney like a typical fishing trip and throw down the $250 an angler to enter your team for the $1,000 entry if you have three buddies who will go, and that is pretty much it.

Several years ago, the Cabo Magic team, a married couple from Pennsylvania, put the trip on the credit card and went as a bucket list item after the husband lost his leg in an industrial accident. They won the tourney. There are a lot of those first-time stories. Or people try it and come back year after year, upping the ante with more jackpots and perhaps a new boat and captain. The bottom line is this, we gave away $1 million in checks last year to NINE teams, a record payout and a record number of teams who took home checks. Much of that was due to the new division of wahoo and dorado jackpots, and the $20,000 Gray Taxidermy optional for teams across the board.

So, go casual, go fun, go big-time or somewhere in between, but just go. Here are some basic tips on entering your first CTJ.

- You can compete for just $1,000 a team. And, any size boat can be used -either your boat, a friend's or a charterboat. You can play in just the Dorado and Wahoo Optionals this year and go after big money each day in any size boat. Super pangas have won the tournament before, and won tons of money. Happens almost every year. A dorado just over 20 pounds won $80,000 last year. A wahoo won $40,000.

- You can sign up now for that $1,000 entry either online at WONews.com (click on "WON EVENTS" and scroll to the logo) by credit card or via mail by personal check.

You can work out the details of your team and your jackpots, if any, just before the tourney. Nothing in terms of your team makeup is set in stone until check-in. But you cannot enter in Cabo at check-in, nor add jackpots. Do that before you get down there.

The website www.loscabostunajackpot.com is an informational site only. It does not allow for online sign-up. Only WONews.com accepts credit card payment. Credit cards are not accepted for optionals, only the $1,000 team entry. Wiring money is the easiest of all options the later it gets a months before the event when personal checks are no longer accepted. Any payment/wiring questions, direct them to Lori at lori@wonews.com and/or (949) 366-0827.

- Teams are two to four people. Your boat can have up to eight people (four anglers, two guests and two crewmen). Only the team members can fish, of course. You can put your crew on the team to fill in the slots if you wish. Or list your wives or friends as team members so they can win prizes, and go to the parties without paying extra. They must ALL be at check-in to sign waivers and get their angler bags. Don't miss that part!

- You can sign up now even if you don't have all your team members and charter details ironed out. You can add jackpots and change team members between now and the event, and you can add jackpots by mail or wire with faxed or mailed entry updates. Don't just send a check without the updated entry form filled out again. The final team rosters will be changed/set at check-in Nov. 6 when you pick up welcome bags and team packets.

There are deadlines for signing up. Some basics: You can sign up online for the basic team entry by credit card at WONews.com but any additional jackpots have to be paid by mail with a personal or cashiers bank check. We take personal checks for jackpots until Oct. 1, and after that, we require bank certified checks or wired funds.

- Cabo sign-ups: You can obtain sign-up sheets at the Pisces Sportfishing office on the marina, fax the entry to us, and wire the money to us at WON. Contact lori@wonews.com for wiring instructions. Note: Pisces will not take direct payment for the event. That has to come through the WON offices in San Clemente, Calif., through Lori at (949) 366-0827.

- Booking a boat: Start looking now, or bring your own. If you charter a boat, and win money, we directly pay 10 percent of the winnings to the captain - not the owner of the boat or the crewmen. Be aware of that.

- Taxes: We pay by check two weeks after the event, and we pay Mexican taxes for you, and then if you are a U.S. resident, we will 1099 you, applicable on your end if you take the funds into the U.S. We pay each team member based on individual percentages you tell us (and sign for), so there are no later disputes and one person does not bear the full tax burden. Consult a tax pro on how to approach the situation.

For more information or to sign up: visit the official tournament website at loscabostunajackpot.com or call Lori Twilegar at (949) 366-0827.