The fishing was good this past year, though the weather did play havoc with some of the fishing tournaments. The Vixen team was fortunate to win the spring, Mississippi Gulf Coast Big Game Club’s Jeff Alexander tournament. This qualifies us to fish the Offshore World Championship down in Quepos, Costa Rica next April. Dr. Don Benefield’s team won the fall tournament and is also eligible to go.
While the seas were relatively calm for the Spring Tournament, the fall tournament was delayed by a week due to a tropical storm. Schedule conflicts prevented the Vixen team from fishing it, though I’m not sure we would have wanted to. The seas were still rough and many teams opted out of the rescheduled tournament. But Benefield’s team braved eight foot seas and spent the night getting pounded to catch two blue marlin and win the tournament. Tough guys!
Front: Steven Kuljis, Brittany Wilem, Frank Wilem, Eric Gill
Back: Todd Rosetti, Ken Cook
Last year, 67 teams from all over the world fished qualifying events for the chance to compete in this tournament. We are excited and feel honored to be going. Over the years, Mississippi has been well represented at this event. Jimmy Taylor, Wendell Lee, Mike McDermott, Tim Magee, and the Cheeseburger team, which did quite well last year, are a few of those that I have fished with.
For years, IGFA, the International Game Fish Association, was the driving force behind this tournament with Rolex as one of the key sponsors. In 2006, the Vixen teams won back to back Big Game Club tournaments and fielded two teams, with some 26 Mississippians including spouses, to fish the IGFA World Championship in Cabo San Lucas.
*** [Pub. in the Sun Herald on Jan. 5, 2014, p . 6B] ***
Some teams come there to fish hard, others to play. Those that are serious about it come a week or so before the tournament to pre-fish. Those that come to play, arrive in time for the free margaritas in the lobby of the headquarters hotel, the Finnistera. While we caught our share of striped marlin and a wahoo or two, we sure didn’t finish in the money. But we made Mississippi proud… perhaps proud isn’t the best description. Rather, let’s just say we represented the State in great numbers at places such as the Office and the Giggling Marlin.
The Office is a restaurant and bar out on the sand beach and the Giggling Marlin is where you can get hung upside down by your feet (like a fish) and have your picture taken. Out team also discovered Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo Cantina which opened in the early 90’s with MTV coverage of Van Halen playing there. The name is an abbreviation of “Cabo Wobble” which is what most customers do as they leave.
One of our team members, I won’t say who but he has a sports coat made from those purple Crown Royal bags, liked the place so much he stayed there most of the night drinking his beloved Crown from a fishbowl-sized glass and then wobbled straight to the boat to fish the next day. He’s a tough guy.
I haven’t been back to Cabo since so I’m not sure the place is the same. And I’m not saying that we were the reason the tournament had to be moved to Costa Rica but I suspect we were a factor. This year, our team is focused on fishing in hopes that the tournament can remain in Quepos.
Disclaimer: Frank Wilem is an author, speaker, and all around funny and entertaining guy. On this blog, his stories are based on his real life experiences, often with a satirical twist.
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