A Class Act
LaVentana BCS, July 10, 2009.
GR Tarr has just won the 4th
World Cup Invitational, showing his true talent and abilities amongst a field of
First prize is 2000$, and when I award him the money, he accepts, then speaks in
fluent Spanish, that he is donating the money to the local kindergarten to help
with needed projects.
Now I don’t know about you, but here’s a guy who hasn’t worked in 6 months,
spent a good chunk of change to get here and compete, and he graciously gives it
to kids who need it much more than him.
THAT’S what I call a class act!
2nd place Max Gardin of Brazil, followed suit and
committed his 1200$ cash prize to the school as well.
Chris Woods of Australia gave his choice of
prizes to his son Jack, who grabbed the Daryl Wong hybrid like it was a 5lb bag
This years meet was the highest attendance yet, with 27 divers from 3 countries,
and half a dozen states showing up to see who could grab the prize money, and a
place on the perpetual trophy alongside names like Ian Puckeridge,
Mark Healey, and now
Tim Hatler and his crew at Palapas Ventana really stepped up this year and
showed what it’s about, with excellent service, great accommodations, fantastic
food, and true Baja hospitality. Palapas Ventana was also this years only gold
sponsor, as pelaj bailed on they’re commitment.
This years sponsors included not only Palapas Ventana, but Riffe international,
JBL, Kiger Construction, Sea Sniper, Imersion, HSD, Florida Freedivers and Rob
Allen, Daryl Wong, Hammerhead, Pelagic, Dakine, Dees flashers, Pelaj, and
I want to thank all the sponsors for they’re continued support at this event,
and can honestly say all the gear got a thorough examination by the divers, and
great exposure for some new products.
For those that are unfamiliar with this meet, it is a 5 day event, with the
third day being a rest day for dive, fun, relax, whatever you feel like.
The quick rundown on rules is:
5 fish per day, with only 1 per species per day allowed.
2 fish per species allowed for submission during the event, and no upgrading
Pelagic fish only, with 1 billfish per diver allowed for the entire meet.
The tournament pretty much started out with GR taking the lead, and never
letting up. Second place was traded
off between a couple of divers, but no one was able to pull it together and
Total fish submitted was about 120 for the 4 days of comp, with good counts of
Wahoo pushing the 50lb mark.
Amberjack were fairly abundant, although deeper, and big AJ went 50lb and
Lots of Dorado, some up to 35lbs, along with Toro, Milkfish, Skipjack tuna, and
Roosters winding up the usual suspect list.
Diving in this meet is not what most people think of when they hear Bluewater
It takes strategy, and the ability to find fish in several ocean regions, from
surface hunting in the shallows for jacks, to deep drops into the thermocline
looking for the AJ and tuna. You never know what your going to run into, as I
spotted striped marlin at 50ft, as well as yellowtail at 90, but they were
inconsistent, and not there tournament days. Divers must think about what
they’re seeing, as its possible to shoot a small to medium fish on one day, but
decide not to submit and take the chance of landing a larger one later in the
90% of the fish was a sold and the proceeds went to the local kindergarten to
help with projects needed, along with the money donated by GR and Max,
20Fathoms, and Palapas, we raised somewhere in the neighborhood of 6,000$ USD. I
understand they will be building a playground, installing a small AC unit, and
whatever else we can do with the funds to help this school out.
The pangeros get into the action as well, since they stand to win two cash
prizes. 1 is for most points put on they’re boat, and 1 is for favorite skipper.
This year, Enrique the goat hunter, won high boat, with Chameleon taking most
favorite! These guys work hard, and do they’re best to take care of the divers,
watching out for them, helping with gear, offering advice on best locale for
different species, and filleting fish at the end of the day. The boats are all
very similar in size and motors, although we had two with smaller motors this
year; it’s the luck of the draw as to what captain you wind up with each day. We
do a lottery draw the evening before to decide which captain you get, and there
are no secrets on where fish were taken the day before, as the captain’s stake
is at hand, so they have no qualms on taking you to the previous day’s hot spot!
Some of the big fish this year were, Glenn McGuire with a 35# dorado, Guy
Skinner with the big fish of the meet, a 55.5# rooster,
Chris Woods from AU with a 47.3# Wahoo, and
Dennis Haussler with a 50# AJ.
The weather was perfect, with light winds if any, water temps ran 77-82deg,
depending on where you were, and vis was usually 60ft plus, unless you dropped
into the thermocline, then temp and vis dropped significantly, but quite often
that’s where the jacks were, as well as some football sized yellowfin. Its so
tempting to keep going down, hoping for the random tuna or yellowtail, but being
on the bottom when the Wahoo cruise thru the top water can be disappointing at
There were several stories of a diver taking a small to medium Wahoo or AJ, then
15 minutes later, having 50-70lb fish kissing the end of they’re spear, and they
can’t shoot anymore as they’ve filled they’re 1 allowed for the day!!
Case in point: On the last day, John Perretti
shot a 20lb Wahoo, then had several in the 50-70lb class tease the hell out of
them, all the time he’s screaming at Glen and I that the Wahoo are all over
Of course by the time we got to where he was nothing there! This scenario was
played out many times over the tournament, and always made for good story at the
end of the day.
At the end of the days diving, fish were weighed in, iced down, and divers were
free to grab a cold beverage and relax under the shade tent, watching the weigh
in and telling story about that days diving.
GR and Brian found what he called Jurassic park, a section of reef that
according to him, the fish had never seen a diver before! HUGE pargo, world
record cabrilla, and UNREAL holes and cracks for them to take your gear into!
They went there during the rest day, and took some really nice pargo out, while
donating a bit of gear to the reef. I’m still not sure if they were on a secret
spot that no one else knows about, or whether it was Travisata, a well known
flat top off the south end of the island. I think he found an extension to it,
and next trip hope to get there and see what its about.
The awards party was outstanding! Lovely Shannita took care of all the
statistics, and we had the Modelo girl on hand to tease the pangeros and divers
while handling the awards presentations!
There was a special presentation to the school in memory of Bonnie Row, a close
friend of ours that passed last year from cancer. I made a nice copper plaque
and money was donated by her friends to be used at the school in honor of her.
The plaque will be mounted after the work is done, and her memory will always
live on there.
We had GR and Max’s shining example of selflessness, the pangeros shooting
tequila, ALL the divers went home with something nice supplied by our sponsors,
beer pong, a game devised by Tim, and his NEW drinking game,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Ideas behind this is 1 diver, 1 pangero team up and see how long they can go
under the tap! Hopes were high, but being as the beer was VERY cold, most went
only 5-10 seconds. James Hardesy showed how its done, topping the field with a
30 second count!!
Turns out he’s no stranger to drinking games, and knew the secret to holding out
So in the end here’s how it ran out:
11 47.5 lb Rooster
2.Max Gardin 193
7 47 lb AJ
3.Mike McGuire 184
33 lb Wahoo
7 47 lb Wahoo
32 lb Rooster
6.Keith Love 140
7 31 lb Wahoo
7.Carlos Kiedel 139.9
6 33 lb Wahoo
6 40 lb Wahoo
9.James Hardesy 131
5 37 lb Wahoo
10.Dennis Haussler 129
7 50 lb AJ
11.Chris Nocera 118
6 32 lb Wahoo
4 42 lb AJ
56 lb Rooster
3 36 lb
15.Whitney Cardin 89
4 43 lb
16.Jeremy Caltras 83
4 27 lb Wahoo
17.Duke Spackman 73
25 lb Dorado
18.Bernie Finnerty 70
25 lb AJ
19.Bruce Hall 65
3 27 lb Wahoo
4 28 lb AJ
21.Chriastian Baker 58
22.James Mcollum 42
23.John Perretti 38
Lots of fish, lots of good stories, lots of good friends, good food, good
times,,,, that’s what this years World Cup was about!
Looks like next year will be June 21-25, so mark your calendar and get on the list to
attend this event. Contact me at email@example.com if your interested.
This meet is growing steadily, and with the help of Tim and his crew, turning
into a true world class event!!
See ya in La Ventana!!