Tuna Dominate Day Two of Bisbee's East Cape Offshore
By Capt. Dave Lear
August 7, 2014; East Cape, Baja California Sur:
Let’s face it. Anglers are a superstitious lot. They wear the same hats until the fabric is barely held together by gossamer threads. They don’t bring bananas on board, but the lure must be. Goofy chants, throwing coins off the transom and contorted cockpit dances that make Seinfeld’s Elaine Benes look like a ballerina are all part of the daily fish-conjuring ritual. But sometimes even those ploys are unsuccessful. For the majority of teams competing in the 2014 Bisbee’s East Cape Offshore Tournament, Thursday was one of those days.
That’s not to say Pepe Le Pew made a grand entrance. Marlin were caught and released and more were fought and lost. But dorado failed to make an appearance at the scales and the tuna that showed were qualifiers yet not the studs that typically frequent the Sea of Cortez. Local knowledge did play a key role in the ones that were weighed, however.
For the second day in a row the same four teams made the trek up the beach to scales behind the Hotel Buena Vista Resort. Patricia Morrison, on Sayrita, recorded a 46.6-pound yellowfin, while Erick Esteves (Gaviota) edged that mark with a 47-pounder. Joe Haid (Dos Piratas) raised the bar with a 51.9 tuna, but the top fish of the day was caught by Roberto Beltran. His fish, landed on Zhao, was 61.8 pounds. Tuna pro Don Whittier is the team captain of the 23 Parker center console.
“It was pretty nasty and blowing,” Whittier explained. “We brought some bait and the ballyhoo was what that tuna ate. But we had to move around a lot to find the fish.” Whittier said the bait boats had small sardines for sale for the first time in awhile, which he felt was a good omen for Friday.
Captain Mike Hennessey, skipper of Rehab, a past Bisbee’s Black & Blue Champion, is certainly hoping his luck changes for the last day. His team broke the line on an estimated 450-pound blue on Thursday and then had mechanical troubles on the way back in.
Since no marlin were weighed during the first two days of competition, a single qualifying fish (300 pounds-plus) Friday would be worth $383,254 to a team entered across the board. With such high stakes, you can bet the lucky charms—and rituals—will be on full display.