Tournament anglers, local skippers and local charities
BY RICH HOLLAND
CABO SAN LUCAS - Anglers in the Mercury/Western Outdoor News Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot dug their hands into the biggest pot of gold in the tournament's history, as a record $554,000 in cash was paid out. A good chunk of the money stayed in Cabo, too, as two local skippers earned big paychecks and two area charities benefited from the generosity of Jackpot participants.
The biggest money winner, and earning the distinction of walking away with the largest check in Tuna Jackpot, was the team of Don Presley, Kim Clayton, David Hester and Joe Hester on the Picante Fleet's 19's Toy. Their 92.4-pound yellowfin tuna caught the second day of the tournament swept the daily jackpots and resulted in a check for $241,800.
"I don't really care about the money, what I want is a free subscription to Western Outdoor News," Presley told WON's Pat McDonell. "I love your paper, it's the greatest thing going."
Not all the prize money left Cabo, either, as local skipper Alfredo Ruiz of the 19's Toy went home with a check for $20,553 for his share of the day's take. He told McDonell he would use the money to fix up his home.
Legitimate big fish were also part of the Sixth Annual Tuna Jackpot, as the first day's pot was divided up by several great catches, including a tubby 206-pound yellowfin tuna caught by the Afishinado team of Bennett Salway, Snuffy Walden, Gary Pops and Shawn Bennett. They were in the $500 and $100 daily jackpots to earn $70,600, then added another $59,840 for the overall jackpot fish and a whopping total of $130,440.
The Ni Modo team of Jeff Johnson, Mike Chiovare, Jim Ellsworth and Brad Sumner took the $1,000, $2,000 and $5,000 dailies the first day and grabbed second place in the overall jackpot with a 139-pound yellowfin tuna for a grand total of $125,440. Local Capt. Job Villavicercio went home with a check for $10,662 for his contribution to the catch.
The No Mas, a big winner in last year's Mercury/Western Outdoor News Tuna Jackpot, earned $52,800 in the 2004 edition when the 77.6-pound yellowfin tuna boated by the team of owner Todd Flammer, Steve Brackmann, Dave Brackmann and Shaun Kearney was the biggest fish weighed in the $3,000 daily jackpot.
Biggest fish of the second day was a 129-pound yellowfin tuna caught aboard the Bad Market by Tom Pianko, Ted Pianko, Mark Rangell and Odell Isaac. Not entered in any of the daily pots, the team still walked away with a check for $3,500 for finishing in the third and final money spot in the overall jackpot.
In total, 631 anglers on 179 teams participated in the Sixth Annual Mercury/Western Outdoor News Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot and enjoyed three parties that resulted in a total of $180,000 in prizes awarded in a series of drawings.
In addition, a total $23,300 was awarded to local charities from the proceeds of live auctions for custom jewelry, a trip to Crocodile Bay in Costa Rica and an original Peter J. painting, with big winner Don Presley bidding $8,000 for a gold tuna pendant and $4,300 for the Peter J. artwork, while Marty Burch of Burch Ford bid $11,000 for a trip to Costa Rica's Crocodile Bay Lodge.
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