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PREVIEW: Cabo is ready and waiting and looks great

The region took a huge hit, but the cleanup has brought it back in record time,
so all is in readiness for the 16th annual Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot Tournament Nov. 5-8

Director, Cabo Tuna Jackpot

The countdown begins. As of Oct. 17 we had 80 teams signed up more are coming in for the 16th Annual Western Outdoor News/Yamaha Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot Tournament. Last year we hosted 136 teams and the last four years the tourney has grown in size. Where will end up is hard to guess, but it will be well over 100 teams.

THE MARINA looks to be in great shape in this photo taken just before the start of the Baby Bisbee's that ran Oct. 18-19. PHOTOS BY GARY GRAHAM

There is plenty of time to sign up and either bring your boat or charter one.

Bottom line, we never thought of postponing the tournament or canceling it after the Hurricane, and it was a good thing because the government, not wanting to lose an entire tourist season at its No. 1 destination (behind Cancun) and swarmed the devastated area to bring back basic service fuel power, food and security, as well clean up and rebuild. It has been an incredible thing to see. Mexico took care of its people. They are to be commended at all levels.

Gary Graham is down in Cabo now to cover the marlin events and send back photos of the region, particularly the marina. The place looks rebuilt, and while it has a ways to go, it is ready for tournament and cruise ship season. We were worried about the effect on the earlier tournaments. The first one, by Marlin Magazine in mid-month, was way down, to 12 boats. But the Bisbee's Offshore event, the "Baby Bisbee's" as its called, drew 81 teams, about the same as last year, a great sign. People want to come and support the area and, of course, have some fun and maybe win some big money.

JILL AND JONATHON Roldan eagerly hand out some of the welcome gifts at check-in. (PHOTOS BY GARY GRAHAM)

Here's some aspects of the tournament to remind you about:

CHARITY CHARTER: There is the third annual Costa Charity Charter on Friday morning for non-entrants on the beautiful partyboat the Cabo Escape that is the official start boat both days. All proceeds from the $20 Costa sponsored charter go to Baja children's charities. It's a blast! It's beautifully catered by Pisces and Tony's with breakfast food and drink (mimosas too!), and the $20 we charge is way too inexpensive, so if you want to donate more, great. There's a lot of charity efforts going on. We will be out to break the $20,000 mark.

This tourney website at is chock full of links to sponsors, information on the tourney, features, links to the official tourney(can be seen on a PC only, sorry) and its Facebook page.

The strength of a tournament is not how many teams it hosts. It doesn't hurt, but the true indicator is the sponsorships and I am not kidding, but we have everyone back, more coming down to party with us, and there's some new companies, too. We're very excited that his year we have Reactor watches, Simrad electronics and Mudhole rod components are joining the fold of sponsors.

OFF THEY GO! Last year the tourney grew to 136 teams.

TV SHOW! Reactor and it's beautiful watches stepped away last year but they are stronger than ever and fired up to come down and be a participating and attending sponsor. Reactor sponsors the Bill Boyce's Baja fishing show ( on the World Fishing Network (WFN) and the filming this year on Boyce's team will be on the show.

SIMRAD RADIO CONTROL: There's so much to get excited about this year. Simrad is coming down for the first time, and their marine electronics lineup is cutting edge. They are providing a GPS/Fishinder unit, two mounted marine radios and providing two high-end hand-held radios as the official Simrad Radio Control. This year we plan to work with teams far more during the fishing days, with Mike Packard answering questions about rules and schedule. New this year is that we are requiring any significant hookups to be radioed between 3 and 4 p.m. before lines out (4 p.m.).

WELCOME BAGS: Okay, the bags we gave out last year were BIG. This year at the welcome party, as the music plays by Tres Huevos on the stage, you'll be walking through the check-in line and getting so many free items it may take a while. An event hat (choice of pink, rust and plaid), an official cooler tote bag, Mustad hook packs, Simrad face buffs/sun protectors, beer coolies by Mudhole and also Deep Blue Marine/Simrad, Toggs cooler wraps, Eat Me Lure official boat flags (1 per team), Costa event long-sleeve t-shirts, American Fishing Wire/HiSeas wire packs, Seaguar fluoro coils for each team, free Terrafin maps of Cabo, and much more.

At all events, every day, Cabo Cigar Company will be wrapping custom cigars, and will have plenty of read-to go, freshly wrapped cigars with the Cabo logo. Minerva's will again be offering a new short-sleeve t-shirt with custom artwork, and these shirts at the check-in are the only shirts for sale for the event, and every dollar goes to the kids charity fund.

REEL QUEST team members celebrate on the stage, holding the hand-carved Hawaiian circle hook trophies. They also received Jon Pettey tuna rings, a box Cabo Cigar Co. cigars, and a free Gray Taxidermy fish mount. Plus their big bucks.

DRAWINGS: We can't list all the stuff for drawings, but the Grand Raffle will have four of every item we have for the drawings. That means four of the dozen Avet reels, four of the 22 big game Cousins rods (They are beefy, super high quality, and are made for BIG tuna) , four Reactor watches, Four hotel stays at the Wyndham, Seaguar fluoro packs, Mustad hooks, Plano tackle boxes. It's $10,000 worth of stuff. Oh yes, one of the Simrad marine mounted VHF radios is in the mix. All the tickets to the drawings over four days areas usual, at $5 each or five for $20, go to the charity fund. This is your way to contribute to local families.

EVENTS: Speaking of events, the site areas for the tourney will remain the same, thanks to the Cabo San Lucas officials, many of whom will be on the Costa-sponsored start boat Cabo Escape the first day. The mayor of Cabo has the most fun of anyone as she signals the official start of fishing and teams go roaring off into the distance. If you have not experienced something like the Cabo start, it is worth coming to tourney as an entrant. Hang on, it's a wild ride. And of course, the Show Us Your Costas Contest will be back by popular demand as will be the Yamaha Guess The Biggest Fish's Weight Contest.

FRIENDS/FAMILY: Many people ask about bringing family or wives, or friends. The Tuna Tourney is a great event to frame a vacation around. There are two sit-down dinners, three parties with drawings and video shows, friends and guests are welcome on each boat (2 allowed if room), the Friday Cabo Escape Charter from 6 to 8 a.m., and the exciting four-day event culminates after four days with a gala sitdown dinner for 650 people catered by Ruth's Cris at the beautiful Puerto Paraiso Mall next to the marina as the sun sets. It is Cabo at its most relaxing and elegant as the town celebrates it's sportfishing legacy.

So, you have a team, and how do you enter?

You can pay the team entry online by credit card at (go to WON events on the home page and scroll down to the Cabo logo). You can sign up by credit card as a team, but not for any of the six tuna optionals or the wahoo/dorado optional. You must mail in optional entry money by personal or bank check with an entry form, or add those jackpots by wire transfer, with an entry form e-mailed or faxed or mailed.

For any information regarding your method of payment, wiring instructions, contact Denise at Don't worry, she'll walk you through the easy process and provide wiring instructions. We do not publish those instructions so call Denise. For details on the tourney, call (949) 366-0030, ext 25 for Pat McDonell, director of the event. This website will provide a lot of answers about the tourney with a great video, features, sponsors links, the link to the Facebook page if you are looking for a team, plus a gallery of photos and more.

Remember, the website (see WON Events) is the only site in which you can enter online as a team, by credit card for $800.

Pat McDonell is editor of WON, and directs the Western Outdoor News saltwater tournaments in Cabo, Catalina and Dana Landing.