In 2003, Brady Bunte was headed towards closing up shop on the last day of the Bisbee Black and Blue fishing tournament, off the shores of Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. This tournament is amongst the most lucrative in the sport fishing world, with the top prize currently weighing in at well over a million dollars. To his surprise he spotted what he said looked like ‘a submarine coming out of the water’. It turned out to actually be a 565 pound blue marlin. Battling for nearly an hour with the beast that had stripped out over 800 feet of fishing line, Brady Bunte finally managed to reel it in.
The impressive catch was not only impressive in terms of its weight, but also the physical appearance. It measured 12 feet long with a rear tail fin of about 6 feet across. Its sheer size was so impressive security personnel had to hold back amazed crowds that were obstructing its passage to the weigh station. This hotly contested event netted Brady Bunte fishing team the then highest grossing fishing tournament prize and a world record payout of over a million dollars and was featured in Fortune Magazine Small Business http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fsb/fsb_archive/2006/10/01/8387284/index.htm
In recent years, the tournament has attracted hundreds of participants like Brady Bunte, whose entry fees and other charges contribute in large part to the daily jackpots and grand prize. The Black and Blue tournament is the brainchild of former fishing store owner, Bob Bisbee. In 1982 he began the competition with the participation of a few anglers wanting to make their sport fishing a little more interesting with a wager of who could catch the biggest fish. At the time, the prize money came to about $10,000, but with more publicity, higher entry fees and more participants over the subsequent years, it has become one of the richest fishing tournaments in the world.
Brady Bunte, who is the CEO of Tres Sietes Tequila, is amongst this growing crop of anglers, eager to catch another money fish. In fact, since his last win, Brady Bunte has upped the stakes by investing in better gear, custom made fighting chair and electronics. The fighting chair will likely be a big help if he lands another prize fish, as the tournament regulations require that the owner of the line brings in the catch solo. There was a previous contender whose catch was disqualified after it was found that he received help from the crew on the boat.
Cabo San Lucas waters are well known for their population of impressive sized blue and black marlin. The blue and black marlins are the largest varieties that can weigh in at over a thousand pounds. The largest marlin was caught in 1953 in the waters of Cabo Blanco in Peru. This was a black marlin that weighed in at 1,560 pounds. The largest catch recorded during the Bisbee Black and Blue tournament was a 993 pound marlin.
While the size of previous catches during this 33 year old tournament can seem somewhat daunting, it is interesting to note that many of the participants, and some of the winners, are not actually professional fishermen. Brady Bunte’s day job is that of a businessman, while a 21 year old took the prize in the early 1990s. For the most part, the event is heavily populated by wealthy business owners who have a thirst for competition, can indulge in the time commitment, and afford the entry fees and boating costs. Brady Bunte’s status as a thriving and spirited business owner is not in doubt, especially since he has gone on to a 61 foot tournament-rigged Viking fishing yacht. Even now, Brady Bunte is happy to chase down that high he achieved in 2003, and hopes to feel like a champion again. Brady Bunte also took 2nd Place in the 2001 Bibees with a 474 lb Blue Marlin and his fishing team took in over $470,000 in prize money.