Until arriving in Cabo San Lucas for last week's Bisbee's Black & Blue Marlin Jackpot Tournament, Dave Sanchez's most impressive catch was a largemouth bass caught in his home state of Missouri.
But on Thursday, the second day of the prestigious billfish competition off the Baja California resort city, Sanchez reeled in a 465-pound marlin that would earn $2,396,800 for his team aboard the yacht, Frantic Pace.
"I'm really starting to like this offshore fishing," Sanchez said at the awards ceremony on Saturday. "We had a lot of fun. It was a great team effort and I'm just glad we ran across that fish. We found one, caught it, and as luck would have it, that was all it took."
The payout was the second-largest in the tournament's 32-year history. The record year was 2006, when a $4,165,960 purse was up for grabs and the winner's share was $3.92 million.
At 465 pounds, the marlin Sanchez caught was not especially large. But it was the only marlin that met the 300-pound minimum qualifying weight, and because the team had been entered in all of the daily side jackpots, it claimed most of the overall purse.
Frantic Pace was one of 106 teams entered in the three-day competition, and it's probably the only team that's still celebrating.
As a side note, the marlin came within one ferocious lunge of escaping because the snap swivel connecting the reel's main line to the leader had opened toward the end of the battle. Only the quarter-inch bend in the swivel was holding the leader in place when the fish was reeled close to the boat. But crewman Josh Temple gently grabbed the leader and slowly pulled the weary marlin close enough to be gaffed, securing the million-dollar catch.
--Image shows Team Frantic Pace celebrating at the weigh-in of its 465-pound blue marlin