First Marlin Leads to $2.4M Payday

Before this week, the biggest fish Dave Sanchez had ever caught was a largemouth bass near his home in Kansas City, Mo. And he probably had to shell out a few bucks for that honor. His first marlin, however, earned his team on Frantic Pace a $2.396 million paycheck in the Bisbee’s Black & Blue tournament.

“I’m really starting to like this offshore fishing,” Sanchez said at the award ceremony. “We had a lot of fun, it was a great team effort and I’m just glad we ran across that fish.”

Catching that one almost didn’t happen as the snap swivel connection joining the main line to the lure leader opened and the 465-pound blue was held only by a ΒΌ-inch bend at the end of the snap. Mate Josh Temple noticed the pending situation and gently leadered the fish to the boat of Capt. Hercules “Herk” Marsella of Coral Springs, Fla., allowing Tony Berkowitz to plant the gaff. It wasn’t a large marlin by Black & Blue standards, but it happened to be the only qualifying marlin weighed during the 32nd annual tournament. Sanchez and his Frantic Pace team were entered across the board in all cash categories, and their payout was the second largest for a single team in Bisbee’s history.

Since no other marlin weighing more than the 300-pound minimum were recorded during the three days of fishing, Frantic Pace swept all the major cash awards, including the Top Tournament and Top Jackpot, and all Daily Jackpot levels. The total payout was $2,396,800.