by Bob Blum
We had a nice mix of repeat participants and new people this year. One of the repeaters came all the way from London, England. This is a unique tournament. There is no entrance fee and there are a lot of prizes.
The only requirement is, you have to be staying at Rancho Leonero and be available for the awards ceremony on Tuesday night. The tournament lasts three days, but only a teams score on the best two days count. Points are awarded for catch and release of marlin, sailfish and roosterfish. Points are also awarded for edible fish
such as tuna and dorado at one point per pound and two points per pound for wahoo. (Max 5 fish per species).
On day one a team from San Diego – the Hot Rods-two brothers and a son-all named Rodriguez and the son’s friend, Chris, went straight out, found a school of porpoise, quickly caught 10 tuna and were back in by 11:30. The 5 biggest weighed 110 lbs. topped by a 37.2 by Chris Hendry, good for the daily jackpot and barely beating ano
ther team 36.9.
Teams that stayed close to shore caught a lot of pompano. One boat came in with nine, all between 3 and 8 lbs. The most interesting catch of the day was a beautiful 30 lb. Pacific cubers snapper brought on by Joe and Debra Haskey.
Day two was a lot tougher fishing due to 25 knot winds. Most of the few boats that fished stayed close to shore, but the Hot Rods went outside. They hooked an estimated 500 lb. Pa
cific blue marlin on a trolling lure and fought it for three hours. On three occasions they had the swivel out of the water but couldn’t reach the leader, and so it got off. The daily jackpot fish was a 16 lb. barred pargo caught by Craig Wiswell of team Whiskey Tango.
On day three, the
winds calmed. The best catch was by Team Nosostros Champonos-Kit Kugel, Mark Rosse
ll and Mark Wazny-three marlin and two 25 lb. plus roosterfish. During the tournament a lot of pargo, cabrillo, pompano, triggerfish and small roosterfish were caught. There was one wahoo and nine dorado between 10 and 15 lbs. I caught a 29 lb. dorado, but the day before the tournament. I did get the day three jackpot with a 20 lb. tuna.
First place went to Nosostros Champonos. They had previously finished second three times. They won a custom trophy and a trip back to Rancho Leonero plus a day of super panga fishing, valued at $1200.
Second place went to the Hot Rods. They got a trophy and $150 worth of gift certificates to Fisherman’s Landing in San Diego.
Third place went to another new team-Steve and Amy Gunther-from Laguna Niguel for their four marlin. Trophy and $100 gift certificate to Fisherman’s Landing.
$500 cash for the
largest dorado or wahoo donated by Rik Jensen of Sportfishing Financial went to Kenny Villafana for a 19 lb. wahoo.
$500 cash for the largest tuna donated by Statewide Str
ipes went to Chris Hendry for his 37.2 lb. tuna.$100 in Rancho Leonero gift certificates for the most billfish donated by Bob and Carolyn Clarke went to Team Nosostros Choponos. They had seven
Next year’s tournament (Number 23) will be June 1-6, 2019. Call 1-800-646-2252