A 395-pound blue marlin caught on the first day of the Bisbee's Black & Blue marlin tournament off Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, was not the heaviest of the event, but it was worth more than $1.1 million.
Local angler Luis Liera was credited with the catch aboard Tiger Spirit, owned by Ned Wallace of Newport Beach, Calif. It was second in weight to a 409-pound blue caught the same day aboard Bad Medicine, but Tiger Spirit had entered more daily jackpots and claimed more than half of a total purse worth $2,173,955.
"We've been fishing the Black & Blue since 1993," Wallace said Sunday. "We've placed in the money three of the last four years, but this is our biggest fish yet. I keep the boat here in Cabo and all of our success is due to my crew. They're local boys and they really know what they're doing out there."
The Black & Blue, which is the world's richest sportfishing tournament, began last Wednesday and winners were announced during a banquet on Saturday night. Tiger Spirit earned $1,162,842.50; it was the event's first $1-million payout since Hang 'em High won $2-plus million in 2008.
Tiger Spirit was skippered by a local captain, Sergio Cota, who earned a 10% share of the team's winnings.
Team Bad Medicine won $394,090 and Pegasus was third with a 329-pound blue marlin worth $283,752.50.
The competition featured 100 teams and 529 anglers from around the world. Only marlin weighing 300 pounds or more were allowed to be killed. Teams bringing in underweight marlin were penalized.
In all, 122 billfish were caught and only seven were brought in and weighed. Of the seven three weighed less than 300 pounds. The billfish breakdown: 56 blue marlin, 52 striped marlin, 12 sailfish and two black marlin.
-- Image shows team Tiger Spirit, and some local eye candy, posing with its million-dollar marlin