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Million Dollar Marlin!

Ladies cash in at Bisbee’s Black & Blue billfish tournament: two marlin worth $1.5 million

Linda Williams becomes first woman to catch winning fish (774 pounds) in long-running Cabo San Lucas event. But the second-place catch (525 pounds) nets a far bigger payday, nearly $1.2 million

October 27, 2013 by


Linda Williams made angling history Friday afternoon by becoming the first woman to catch the winning fish in the lucrative Bisbee’s Black & Blue Marlin Tournament at Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Her catch of a 774-pound blue marlin, in the final hours of the three-day event, was worth $368,675 for her team aboard the yacht II Success.

But Williams wasn’t the only woman smiling afterward. Martha McNabb and her team, which had held first place with a 525-pound marlin until Williams’ fish was weighed, was worth $1,185,862.

The payday was bigger because the team had entered more side jackpots in an event that draws teams of mostly wealthy anglers from around the world.

Williams, who is from Alta Loma, California, was fishing with her long-time skipper, Kevin Pahl, and mates Antonio Zuniga Ruiz, David Reed, Craig Pani, and her friend, Jan Howard.

McNabb is from the Cabo San Lucas area and was fishing aboard the yacht Retriever. It’s the second time she has finished runner-up after being edged on the final day of what’s billed as “the world’s richest sportfishing tournament.” Williams’ marlin was brought to the scale 10 minutes before the tournament concluded.

But it’s remarkable that women finished first and second, considering that men have dominated this annual tournament since it was first staged in 1981.

“I think this week we showed what lady anglers can do,” Williams said afterward. “We can compete on this level without question.”


Her marlin, caught after a nearly two-hour fight, was the second-heaviest qualifying fish in tournament history.

“It was a fish of a lifetime and one definitely on my bucket list,” Williams said. “I love this tournament and I love the people.”

The Bisbee’s tournament paid through fifth place. Only marlin weighing 300 pounds were allowed to be kept, and teams that brought in fish under the weight limit were penalized.

Depending on the number of entries ($5,000 base entry per team), and various jackpots entered, the Bisbee’s 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.

–Hat tip to Pisces Sportfishing

–To see posts about the competition visit the Bisbee’s Facebook page

–Find Pete Thomas on Facebook and Twitter