There have been lots of dramatic finishes during the annual Bisbee's Black and Blue Marlin Tournament in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. But rarely have they involved a female angler, and not until this year has one involved two female anglers.
On Friday evening, after three days of competition between teams from around the world, Linda Williams became the first woman to catch the Black and Blue's winning fish: a 774-pound blue marlin that was delivered to the scale with only 10 minutes remaining in the event.
That gave Team II Success a victory and a $368,675 payday.
Until those final minutes, Martha McNabb held first place because of her catch of a 525-pound marlin a day earlier for Team Retriever. However, McNabb's fish was worth just under $1.2 million ($1,185,862), because Team Retriever had entered more daily jackpots.
Pretty remarkable, considering that the Bisbee's event has been dominated by male anglers since it was first staged in 1981.
"I think this week we showed what lady anglers can do,” Williams, who is from Rancho Cucamonga, said afterward. “We can compete on this level without question.”
Her marlin was the second-heaviest qualifying fish in tournament history.
"This was a fish of a lifetime and one definitely on my bucket list," Williams added. “I love this tournament and I love the people.”
The Bisbee's tournament only allows marlin weighing 300 pounds or more to be weighed. Smaller marlin are supposed to be released.
Depending on the number of entries jackpots entered, the purse varies from year to year. The largest overall cash payout was $4,165,960 in 2006.
The tournament has raised more than $600,000 for local charities, and last year more than $200,000 was donated to charity.
–Photos show marlin caught by Linda Williams (top) of Rancho Cucamonga, and Martha McNabb, who is from the Los Cabos area. Credit: Bisbee's
–Hat tip to Pisces Sportfishing
–To see posts about the competition visit the Bisbee's Facebook page