Bisbee's Seventh Annual Black and Blue Marlin Jackpot
Tournament is coming up very soon: the 12th of November. There are a number of schools of thought about how to go about beating the odds and walking away with a mittful of the $100,000 in cash prizes awaiting the accumulator of the most points during those frenetic two days of chasing helpless fishes. One, although it hasn't proved out, is that the bigger the boat the bigger the chance to catch the bigger Blue. Now if that seems a little far fetched to you, then why in the world would anyone purchase a boat larger than, say, 27 to 33‑feet? After all, that's the size of boat upon which the commercial Sportfisher Captains make and break their reputations, isn't it? But, there are those who do, in fact, buy bigger boats. And there are those who buy even bigger boats. Why, there's a few boats running around down here in Cabo San Lucas that are over 65‑feet. When cornered, these big boat buyers will tell you they did it for comfort; to keep the missus content. Bull! Big boat buyers buy big boats because they want to boat big Blues ‑ period. Now of course there are exceptions to that rule. But not many.
For example, there's a guy running around down here who really does like to fish. He is known as an avid fisherman. And he fishes the Bisbee ‑ every year ‑ avidly. And he practices for it. I don't know how you go about practicing for a fishing tournament, but that's what he does. A lot of these guys do, so he's no weirdo or anything like that. Now, this guy has a real nice wife. I've met her. She's not one of those nags or one of those Jewish American Princess types. She's just as sweet as can be; always pleasant. She's one of those home‑body types; the type of woman our Mothers used to pray we'd run into. It's pretty hard for me to believe that this guy did what he did this summer. He's had this thirty‑ish sized boat and has had her for a long time and he's caught oodles and gobs of bill fish off of her; so I was real surprised when I found out he had turned her in on a 55‑foot Bertram. I mean, that's a whole bunch of boat.
Well, when I found out what he had gone and done I decided right off the bat that I wasn't going to ask him why because I just knew he was going to give me some cock‑and‑bull story about comfort and pleasing the missus and all that crap; I've just got too much respect for the guy to put him in a position where he'd have to flat out lie to me about a thing like that. I mean, jeeze, they don't live on the boat. I'll bet his wife hasn't been out fishing with him a dozen times. Ya know, I just have this gut level feeling that he didn't give her a second thought when he up and bought another 22‑foot of boat deck. Jeeze, if he really bought it for her comfort it would surprise the hell out of both of us. The point is, he bought a bigger boat so he could boat bigger Blues. Now, that's clear.
His new boat wasn't down here forty‑eight hours when he ups and invites this good looking Mexican guy I know to go out fishing with him on a trial run. Now, Fernando has lived here in Los Cabos all of his life, for crying out loud, and I was plumb dumfounded when I found out he was going to go out there and spend the whole day chasing helpless fishes. I was even more dumfounded when I learned that Fernando had never before caught a Marlin. Here's a local Mexican who's never caught a Marlin going out on a big boat looking to boat a big Blue. I kinda chuckled to myself, thinking about those guys suffering out there in ninety degree weather, bouncing all over the place looking for fish fins, for the sole purpose of proving a point about big boats and big Blues while I was nursing a cool cocktail in an air conditioned bar.
I was just finishing my lunch when Norman Bander swiveled onto a bar stool next to me, "Boy, that Lance Allworth is the best fisherman I know." I looked at him curiously, "Whadaya mean?"
I chuckled to myself. I could just hear that soft Southern drawl of Lance's patiently coaching Fernando, "Now jus' hol' on ta him real good, Fernando. Jus' keep your line taught. Jus' hol' on and we'll boat 'em, O.K.? Jus' hol' on, take your time. Ain' no hurry, Fernando. Jus' be patient."
"Yeah," I laughed, "and all the while Lance will be patiently coaching him, patiently giving Fernando all the moral support he can muster ‑ while his guts are just churning to get a gaff in its gill."
I didn't say nothing to
Boy, was I wrong. As it turned out, Fernando boated a
We were watching the Twins turn game seven of the World Series around, which quieted the local Cardinal fans for at least one season, when Norman Bander eased over to where I was drinking. "Did you hear what 19'S TOY did today?" I set my drink down ever so gently. "No," I answered, as a little shudder cascaded down my back, "why don't you tell me about it?"
I proceeded to explain my 'big boat big blue' theory to him and he got real pensive. After a long while he spoke to me very softly, "You know, I've heard about that theory before; when I was fishing
I moved my chair a little closer to his, concerned, "What's the matter,
I patted him fatherly on the shoulder, "Of course I will, of course. Don't worry about a thing,
I went home late that night ‑ plenty liquored up ‑ but I couldn't get to sleep. I never saw anyone so shook up about some half‑baked theory. I had to admit that I was a little shaken myself. If the theory was right, it would revolutionize sport fishing throughout the world. The repercussions would be awesome. Big boats cost big bucks. It was scary. Big bucks buy big boats and if big boats boat big Blues, why, it would only take big bucks to... My mind started to wander into that other level of consciousness and I started to conjure what the future might hold. It was just frightening. I visualized the silver and blue poster as I drifted off to sleep, BISBEE'S SEVENTH ANNUAL BLACK & BLUE MARLIN JACKPOT TOURNAMENT. Suddenly, the words got all hazy and the letters got all jumbled up and when I was able to clearly focus on them again the silver and blue poster had become a gold and blue poster and it read, BISBEE'S EIGHTH ANNUAL BLACK & BLUE, BIG BOAT BIG BUCK, $1,000,000 JACKPOT MARLIN TOURNAMENT. As the vision started to dim I saw the smaller print at the very bottom of the page. It was printed boldly in Chinese red. I sprang upright as the red started to dissolve from my sight. I'm sure it read:
Boats under 95' need not apply!