A team competing in the three-day Bisbee’s Black & Blue jackpot fishing tournament of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico wrestled an 800-pound marlin onto their boat, but missed out on a $1 million payday by about nine minutes.

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It took only one day — including nine minutes of sheer angst — for the world’s richest marlin-fishing competition to produce Hollywood-style drama and extreme disappointment. Eight large marlin were weighed Wednesday, for considerable riches, during the first day of the three-day Bisbee’s Black & Blue jackpot tournament off Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. But what does not show in the standings was by far the largest marlin, an 800-pound beast, that took five hours to land and was brought to the scale nine minutes past the 9 p.m. deadline, disqualifying a catch that would have netted a team from Texas more than $430,000.



_What’s more disappointing for Team Great Escape is that if no other team beats that weight during the remainder of the competition — and marlin that large are rarely caught off Cabo San Lucas — the catch would have been worth $1 million or more.

“I’m not in that good of shape. I should have worked out,” Carl Riley, the angler who fought the blue marlin, told a Pisces Sportfishing representative during the late weigh-in. “I just want a massage and to go to bed.”

The fishermen, who comprise one of 103 teams vying for more than $2 million in prize money, were aware that a 599-pound marlin, caught earlier Wednesday aboard the vessel Reelaxe, was the fish to beat when the 800-pounder struck a large lure being trolled behind the boat.

It was about 3 p.m. and the team was more than 20 miles north of Cabo in the Sea of Cortez. Time should not have been a factor but Riley and the crew did not count on the marlin dying at great depth during the fight.

Because the person fighting the fish cannot accept assistance from teammates, Riley was saddled with the task of reeling in 800 pounds of dead weight against an opposing current, and many times felt like giving up.

When the marlin was finally aboard, the team had only an hour to get back in the darkness. Word had spread of the giant marlin coming shore and about 1,000 people gathered around the dock-side scale.

“I spoke to the crew on the phone and was told, ‘It’s a really big fish — 700 or 800 pounds,’ ” Tracy Ehrenberg, general manager of the Pisces fleet, said on the landing’s blog.

Tournament director Wayne Bisbee was among those on the dock, official time piece in hand.

“We willed them to go faster and imagined we would see their lights at any second,” wrote Ehrenberg, whose business charters the Great Escape. “But it was not to be. The 9 p.m. deadline came and the fish was disqualified. The boat came into view nine minutes after 9 to everybody’s dismay… well, except the team that was now in first place.”_