BY RICH HOLLAND
CABO SAN LUCAS – A field of 149 teams made their way to Land’s End to fish for a record $1,035,700 in cash payouts in the Western Outdoor News Cabo Tuna Jackpot and the 22nd annual running produced a 210-pound Tuna Jackpot Champion fish for the Reel Godz of Rodz team of Gary Sigle and Shea Sumner.
Local government officials enforced COVID restrictions that required an isolated weigh site at the Pisces Dock in Cabo’s Marina del Rey. Action at the scale was live streamed and reports posted continuously on tournament social media.
Taking $61,625 as the Champions and another $19,000 from the $500 daily, the Real Godz of Rodz team on the Ole Ole (the crew was actually from the Mucho Bueno but had to switch vessels) ended up with $80,625 for their Day Two tuna to go with the Championship Trophy and a permanent place in Tuna Jackpot history.
In second place overall and the top money winner in the 2020 event was the Rocky Mountain Hookers team on the boat of the same name. They weighed the first tuna of the second day and the 209-pound yellowfin was entered in all the jackpots except the Gray Taxidermy $20,000.
That meant the team of Travis King, Frank Kavanaugh, Troy Johnston and Sean Sadler collected a total of $318,450!
There were 3 yellowfin over 200 pounds weighed over the two-day event, making it one of the toughest in years for the big tuna. Nothing is easy about 2020! Warm water pushing down the Sea of Cortez and some windy weather didn’t help.
The third tuna over 200 and also third place overall in the Tuna Jackpot was the first day big fish of 202-pounds caught on the Curandero. The Reel Hooker team made a strategic bet and put their money on the $5000 daily jackpot, which paid out the most per day. The $84,000 taken in the single pot added to the $3625 for third meant a payday of $87,625 to go with his trophy tuna.
The biggest single payout from a jackpot in history came late in the second day when Trish Johnson, fishing in her first tournament ever on the Pisces Fleet’s TAG Team, accompanied the team’s 22.5-pound dorado to the scales. That edged out the only other dorado to exceed the 20-pound minimum, a 21.45 on the Cheers 1.
The Dorado $1000 Daily had a record 132 entrants and none could find a fish over the first-day 30-pound minimum. So, the $52,800 in that day’s jackpot rolled over to the second day. Which meant anglers Johnson, Cristi Nelson and Tony Ortiz (with Antonio Bañuelos at the helm) captured a $105,600 dorado!
The big money winner the first day of the Tuna Jackpot was the team on the Burro run by local captain Eduardo Guluarte. Anglers Bradley Erickson, Alfredo Trujillo, Alvero Rodriguez and Mauricio weighed in a 175.5-pound yellowfin that was the closest thing to a late-day threat to Cuandero.
Across the board in everything except the $20K and squeezed out of the $5000 by the big fish, Team Burro still ended up with a ‘comfortable’ check of $246,200!
No tuna jackpots rolled over (a very rare occasion) either day, but there was speculation that the 6 boats in the $20,000 Gray Taxidermy Jackpot may have whiffed the first day.
The Stella June made sure that wouldn’t happen with a barely qualifying 32.9-pound yellowfin but was quickly relieved of the $51,000 pot by 40.5-pound yellowfin weighed by the Second Wind team of Jerry Bribiesef, Michael Jacob, Tony Frascone and Noe Contreas with TJ Dobson at the helm.
The Wahoo Daily Jackpot didn’t roll over either, although getting a wahoo over the 30-pound mark was not easy, even though quite a few fish in the mid-to-high 20’s toyed with anglers’ emotions.
The pot was $51,000 each day and the Mr. Brownstone team on the Adriana sent Craig Cunningham to the scale with a 33.5-pound wahoo to claim the cash the first day with the only qualifier. El Perro Loco’s Murray Roberts on the Tres Amigos with Francisco De LaPaz weighed a 34.5 that withstood the challenge of The Hooker team’s 31.4 to win their $51,000.
A full feature on the 22nd WON Cabo Tuna Jackpot will run in next week’s issue of WON.