(Photo: Out Your Front Door)
The participants in this year’s Los Cabos Billfish Tournament enjoyed perfect weather and a great bite at the tip of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez. The fleet of 53 teams caught and video-verified 138 billfish, including 91 striped marlin, 26 blue marlin, 19 sailfish and two black marlin. A total of $862,350 in cash was awarded, with the winners also receiving great trophies and prizes. The awards banquet took place at the beautiful Playa Grande Resort beachside terrace, featuring the traditional filet and lobster dinner for the participants.
Team Reel Cast, a 48-foot Cabo with Capt. Zach Morrow, mate Hiram Ruelas and teammates Bill Pino, Doug Berg and Javier Ruelas earned 1,225 points from one weighed 500-pound blue marlin caught by Bill Pino, one blue marlin, five striped marlin and two sailfish—all released—to win the 2022 Los Cabos Billfish Tournament. The team’s blue marlin, caught on the second day, earned all levels of the Daily Marlin Jackpots and first place in the Largest Marlin Jackpots, a total of $354,000. They also took home champion’s apparel from Salt Life and an invitation to compete in the prestigious 2023 Costa Offshore World Championship. Morrow received a Garmin Quatix 7 watch for Top Captain honors.
Team El Suertudo, an 80-foot Weaver with Capt. Greg Distefano, mate Oswaldo Ortega and teammates Guy Yocom, Scotty Walker, Jeff Richardson, Bruce McDonald, Alan Ortega and Alfonso Ortega scored 1,000 points from two blue marlin and 16 striped marlin releases to place second in the tournament. El Suertudo picked up a Daily Release Jackpot and First Place Overall Release Points Jackpot, earning a total of $94,800.
Team Salty K, fishing aboard a 78-foot Garlington and led by Capt. Keith Hilton, mate Ryan Thurner and teammates Harry Okuda, Bryan Zulka, Antonio Colorado and Ed Noonan scored 925 points from three blue marlin and one striped marlin release to place third in the tournament. Salty K added a second-place Overall Release Points Jackpot to win a total of $48,900.
Team La Chingona, a 46-foot Viking with Capt. Antonio Bojorquez, mate Luis Gonzales and teammates Milinda Smith, Richard Bradbury Jr., Jeff Zimmerman, Kirk Russell, Sergio Aviles Cota and Marcos Aviles Cota started the tournament in a big way weighing a 349-black marlin caught by Cota to win the Day One Daily Marlin Jackpots and third-place Overall Marlin Jackpots, winning a nice check for $189,810.
Team Stella June, a 46-foot Jarrett Bay with Capt. Evan Salvay, mate Darian Silva and teammates Ivan Van Ortwick, Jakob Gonterman, Jazz Moorhead, Hugo Pino and Paco Ruis landed a 389-pound black marlin on the second day, caught by Moorhead. The team earned second-place Overall Marlin Jackpots of $80,190.
Other teams making the stage included:
Artemis with Capt. Jerry Lanzerotti, who scored 925 points from three blue marlin and one sailfish release to win a Daily Release Jackpot and third- place Overall Release Jackpot, winning $21,900;
Quitena with Capt. Rich Hamilton, a Daily Release Jackpot worth $9,300;
Overtime with Capt. Brett Eller, Dorado Jackpot winner with a 35.90-pound dorado caught by Cameron Crow, worth $21,150;
Christina 1 with Capt. Jerry Peddicord, Tuna Jackpot winner with a 91.20-pound tuna caught by Ramon Anguiano, worth $21,150;
Magnetic with Capt. Gilberto Castro: Wahoo Jackpot winner with a 48.60- pound wahoo caught by Michelle Brodsky, good for $21,150.