Waterman's Journal

Jun 20, 2023



PELAGIC’s Triple Crown of Fishing delivers the most exciting finish in tournaments nine-year history, with over 250 marlin released over two days of intense competition, dorado up to 52.5 lbs, and wahoo up to 41.4 lbs. It all came down to the final minutes.


Cabo San Lucas, Mexico: With a solid striped marlin bite and just over $400,000 in cash up for grabs, a frantic last-minute finish, featuring multiple leaderboard changes amongst the top three teams, made for the most dramatic ending in event history. In the end, with 39 striped marlin releases, it was three-time runner up Team Cloud Nine and Capt. Javier “Perico” Alarcon, finally achieving their goal, taking home the title of Grand Champion and $123,424.00 in the 9th Annual Pelagic Triple Crown of Fishing.

Team Santana and their 38 striped marlin releases landed them in second place, earning a payday of $9,240.00. Santana also secured Top Angler honors for Hernando Gonzalez with his impressive 29 marlin releases. Rounding out the top three was Team La Chingona with 36 marlin released, good for $103,096.00.

In the dorado division, Team Private Reserve weighed a two fish aggregate of 80.3 lbs, good for first place overall and $12,012.00. In second place and weighing the biggest dorado of the tournament at 52.5 lbs, Team Reel Salty also scored a day two daily jackpot for total winnings of $34,820.00.

In the tuna division, Team Let’s Go weighed a combined total of 79.8 lbs, good for first overall and daily jackpots worth $41,212.00.

In the wahoo division, it was Team The Magnetic taking top honors with a 27.2-lb fish on day one and a 28-pounder on day two, for a combined total weight of 55.2 lbs and $23,036.00.

In total, 13 different teams took home trophies or shared total prize money of $402,800.00 during the two-day fishing tournament.

Tournament Stats:

• 33 teams
• 182 anglers
• $402,800 in prize money
• 262 total billfish released
• 261 striped marlin, 1 sailfish
• 13 different winners received trophies and/or checks

Top Team Stats:
• 1st Place Billfish: Team Cloud Nine with 39 striped marlin – Earnings: $123,424.00
• 2nd Place Billfish: Team Santana with 38 striped marlin – Earnings: $9,240.00
• 3rd Place Billfish: Team La Chingona with 36 striped marlin – Earnings: $103,096.00

• 1st Place Dorado – Team Private Reserve – combined 80.3 pounds – Earnings: $12,012.00
• 1st Place Tuna – Team Let’s Go – combined 70.8 pounds – Earnings: $41,212.00
• 1st Place Wahoo – Team The Magnetic – combined 55.2 pounds – Earnings: $23,936.00

Top Angler Stats:
• Top Overall Angler – Hernando Gonzalez, Team Santana - 29 striped marlin released
• Top Lady Angler – Esmeralda Ruiz, Team Private Reserve - 8 striped marlin released
• Top Jr. Angler – Finn Gunderson, Team Suerchingo - 21 striped marlin released

June 8 - 11, 2023 – Cabo San Lucas, B.C.S., Mexico

33 teams and 182 anglers gathered in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico for the 9th annual Pelagic Triple Crown of Fishing Tournament. Hosted once again by Jorge Gonzalez and his amazing staff at Baja Cantina Marina, participants were greeted with great food, ice cold margaritas, and live music for tournament registration, captains meeting, and a kickoff celebration. With calm weather, excellent fishing, and total prize money available of just over $400,000, teams were fired up and ready to fish.

Day one started with a flawless shotgun start at the famed Cabo Arch Rock as the iconic backdrop for the 9th annual addition of this event. Teams wasted no time finding tailing striped marlin as the competition was off to a quick start. Radio control and the boys from CatchStat were busy most of the day, logging and scoring billfish releases for a multitude of teams and anglers. As the day moved along, several teams started to separate from the pack. When radio control announced lines out and the end of fishing on day one, teams Cloud Nine, La Chingona, Santana, Retriever and Suerchingo had set themselves apart and were all within one or two fish at the top of the leaderboard.

Meanwhile at the scales and in the gamefish divisions, teams were being scored for their single heaviest dorado, tuna, and wahoo. Team Pour Decisions weighed a beautiful 43.5-lb. dorado, good for daily jackpots worth $15,800. Just behind was Team Listo with their 42-lb dorado good for a daily jackpot worth $14,400. Day one’s tuna money went to Team Let’s Go for their 39.6-pounder, worth $14,600; while the wahoo daily went to Team Carpe Diem, for their 41.4-pounder, earning them $11,000 in day one jackpots.

Day two started right where day one left off, with the first release of the day called in at 7:09 am. Team Cloud Nine went into the day with 2100 points, in first place, but had lost one of their 22 fish from day one, due to a failed video review. A steady flow of striped marlin releases would continue throughout the day. With each passing hour, the top five teams tried to make a break from the pack, but just as one team would pull a fish ahead, another would come right back with a double header to tie the score or re-take the lead. During the last hour of the final day, the lead would change 6 or 7 times between the eventual top 3 finishers. As the final minutes waned, two teams, Cloud Nine and Santana, traded release for release right up until lines out as the end of fishing was declared. As the teams headed for the marina and final video review, Santana and Cloud Nine were tied on fish with 3900 points each, Santana unofficially in the lead on time of last release, and La Chingona just behind in 3rd with 3600 points. It would all come down to video review to determine the eventual winner in the overall billfish division.

No tournament director wants to disqualify any fish in a tournament; however, it is the nature of the game that on occasion there is no avoiding the situation; for the integrity of the rules and tournament are most important. When final video was complete, team Santana had one video that did not show all five required items for official confirmation of a catch. Team Cloud Nine would prevail, 3900 points to 3800 points, claiming the top position after finishing in second place in three previous attempts at winning this tournament. It is a very rare instance when both top two teams have a fish disqualified and it is never an easy decision to accept. However, in this case, both Cloud Nine and Santana could not have been more understanding and graceful when given the news that they would not receive credit for one fish each. Both teams embodied the definition of sportsmanship and class by accepting the decision with no complaints or argument and both should be commended.

Over at Gricelda’s Smokehouse and the weigh station, day two and overall gamefish division winners were being determined. In the dorado division it was Private Reserve in 1st with a two-day total of 80.3 lbs, Reel Salty in 2nd with 68.4 lbs and Listo in 3rd for 63.2 lbs and jackpots worth $16,248.00.

Tuna division winners were 1st place team plus jackpots, Let’s Go with 79.8 lbs for $41,212.00. 2nd place team plus jackpots, Encantada with 69.6 lbs for $4,620.00. 3rd place team plus jackpots, Crudo with 65.2 lbs for $1,848.00.

Wahoo division winners were 1st place team plus jackpots, The Magnetic with 55.2 lbs and $23,936.00. 2nd place team plus jackpots, Carpe Diem with 41.4 lbs and $16,544.00.

When all was said and done, the 9th annual Pelagic Triple Crown of Fishing did not disappoint. Here are some of the highlights from the two days of action packed, high stakes fishing:

• Congratulations to Captain Javier “Perico” Alarcon and the entire Cloud Nine team on a hard-earned victory. This team had finished in 2nd place three years in a row but kept at it and never lost sight of their ultimate team goal of Grand Champion. Cloud Nine will have their name engraved on the new Triple Crown Perpetual trophy, joining the eight previous champions. This trophy will remain in Cabo San Lucas, on display at Baja Cantina, to be enjoyed throughout the year.

• Congratulations to Top Overall Angler Hernando Gonzalez and to team Santana on a very competitive 2nd place finish. Hernando released 29 striped marlin to take home the Top Angler Trophy. It is not easy to have a fish disqualified in any tournament, especially when that one fish is the difference between winning and finishing in 2nd place. This team showed pure sportsmanship, class, and grace accepting the final decision. They will be back next year in pursuit of the overall victory.

• Congratulations to team Private Reserve on winning 1st place in the dorado division and to their lady angler, Esmeralda Ruiz, for winning the Top Lady Angler Trophy. Not only did Captain Rudy Jimenez bring two nice dorado to the scales, he also guided Esmeralda to eight striped marlin releases.

• Congratulations to Finn Gunderson and team Suerchingo for taking Top Jr. Angler honors. Finn has been after this trophy for several years and earned it this year with 21 striped marlin releases. This team also finished in 5th place overall and were in the thick of it right until the end. Fantastic effort and we are sure to see Finn and his team again next year.

• Congratulations to Captain Jose Avila and team La Chingona on a valiant 3rd place effort. They were right there down the stretch, battling it out for the victory with the other top teams. With 3600 points, they just fell short in the final minutes on day two.

Thank you to all our dedicated teams on another competitive tournament in Cabo San Lucas. This event would not have been possible without the loyalty and continued support from our teams. We are very much looking forward to our 10th anniversary and we hope to see you all June 6 – 9, 2024 in Cabo, for what will be a very special year.