May 17, 2022, Loreto B.C.S —Sunday concluded the third Marina Puerto Escondido Fishing Tournament as 51 Teams competed for over a half-million dollars in cash prizes, the highest ever awarded for a fishing tournament in the Loreto area. According to Stenson Hamann, marketing manager of the event, “The attendance has grown 85 percent over its short three-year history, beginning in 2019.”
Team Pink Bullet’s 42.3-pound dorado earned them a staggering $232,150, believed to be the largest sum ever awarded for a dorado in a fishing tournament anywhere in Baja or perhaps the world!
The yellowtail division also surprised attendees when Team Foot N Half pocketed $80,150 for their 29-pound and 37.2-pound yellowtail.
During the registration on Friday, stories of the windy conditions and rough seas didn’t seem to deter the teams. Instead, they preferred to focus on the tales of the enormous yellowtail and dorado, despite the grumpy weather.
On Saturday morning, the fleet ranging from 18-foot skiffs to 110-foot tricked-out sport fishers waited, eager to speed across the flat Sea of Cortez, and as the flare shot across the cloudless, blue Baja sky, the fleet accelerated.
When the scale opened at 3 p.m. on Saturday, it was a very yellow (yellowtail) parade during the first few hours. However, as the 6 p.m. closure crept closer, the procession turned to gold with several dorado arriving, only to be overwhelmed by the (blue) billfish and sailfish release slips that the teams turned in at the scale.
On Sunday morning, the gleaming red flare soared over the fleet of 51 boats that once again roared across the start line. For many of the teams, the dorado categories offered the best opportunity for a large payout. Others staked their hopes on the billfish release category. Those who targeted yellowtail were uncertain, sure that there were bigger fish to catch!
On Saturday, families, and friends of teams and spectators waited impatiently for boats to arrive after the 5 p.m. “lines out.” No one was disappointed. Everyone gawked as the catches were unloaded, with a trickle becoming a torrent as Teams arrived to beat the 6 p.m. deadline to make it past the marina lighthouse and into the bay.
Quantity and quality improved on the second day, Sunday, and at times, the dock carts were lined up six deep with only the largest of each Team’s catch. Some Teams hi-fived each other as the weight of their fish was announced by Clicerio Mercado, Weighmaster. Others shrugged their shoulders, promising that they would return next year.
The third annual Marina Puerto Escondido Fishing Tournament has carved out its niche in the world of Baja Sportfishing Tournaments, underscoring that incorporating a variety of species and techniques to a broad spectrum of anglers should not be overlooked.
Over and above the record-breaking monies awarded by the tournament hosts and won by the participants, the real record-breaker for MPE that sets this tournament apart is the camaraderie! Nowhere are there boats lined up, side by side, along the piers, where all four nights the Captains and Teams are boat-hopping, toasting each other, exchanging information and making friends—real friendships that will carry through the rest of their boating years.