Hot Rod Team Victorious in Cabo Summer Slam

Third annual event heads to Mexico for great fishing

2016 Cabo Summer Slam Pelagic Gear winning team Hot Rod
Hot Rod released 20 striped marlin in two days to win the tournament.Courtesy of PELAGIC / Mario Bañaga

Thirty-two teams engaged in a high-seas battle for bragging rights and $100,000 in cash and prizes during the Cabo Summer Slam, presented by Pelagic. And while the focus was squarely on the billfish release division — targeting blue, black and striped marlin plus sailfish — teams could also score big with the heaviest tuna, mahimahi and wahoo in the game fish categories.

There were 71 billfish released on Day One, with Turning to the Right and Capt. Ty Valli leading the way with seven striped marlin and a sailfish let go to win the daily cash jackpot. Day Two brought excellent fishing conditions, with many boats running to the ledges and seamounts that surround Cabo San Lucas.

2016 Cabo Summer Slam Pelagic Gear winning team Hot Rod
Another look at Hot Rod.Courtesy of PELAGIC / Mario Bañaga

By the call for lines out on Day Two, the fleet had released 93 striped marlin. Hot Rod had the hot hand and scored a total of 2,000 release points from 20 marlin (13 on Day Two alone) to pocket $10,935, along with a full day's charter on the brand new 33-foot Magnum from Mag Bay Yachts and the Picante Fleet. Expedition was second with 1,300 points and Nice Ride settled for third; they posted 1,200 release points.

The Tejas team, appropriately from Texas, made the most of their second day and returned to weigh a 97.6-pound yellowfin tuna along with a 41.1-pound wahoo, winning nearly $26,000 as a result of their two first-place fish. They also took home a free entry to the 2016 Bisbee's East Cape Offshore Tournament. Team What a Journey had the biggest mahimahi at 25.6 pounds. For the tournament, there were 164 billfish releases.

2016 Cabo Summer Slam Pelagic Gear the arch los arcos
The arch near the entrance to the harbor is a distinctive Cabo San Lucas landmark.Courtesy of PELAGIC / Mario Bañaga
2016 Cabo Summer Slam Pelagic Gear sunrise
Sunrise in the background, Hooray in the foreground.Courtesy of PELAGIC / Mario Bañaga
2016 Cabo Summer Slam Pelagic Gear shotgun start
The fleet charges offshore during the shotgun start.Courtesy of PELAGIC / Mario Bañaga
2016 Cabo Summer Slam Pelagic Gear shotgun start
Go Deeper roars out of the harbor, heading for the deep blue.Courtesy of PELAGIC / Mario Bañaga
2016 Cabo Summer Slam Pelagic Gear baiting a striped marlin
El Diablo baits a striped marlin off the bow. This unique style of fishing has the angler casting live baits to cruising marlin, which are often spotted from the tower.Courtesy of PELAGIC / Mario Bañaga
2016 Cabo Summer Slam Pelagic Gear striped marlin jumping
A feisty striped marlin takes to the air. Note the distinctive tall dorsal fin and beautiful coloration.Courtesy of PELAGIC / Mario Bañaga
2016 Cabo Summer Slam Pelagic Gear striped marlin jumping from the bow
An angler battles a stripey from the bow.Courtesy of PELAGIC / Mario Bañaga
2016 Cabo Summer Slam Pelagic Gear marina sunrise
Tejas, a 42 Yellowfin, prepares for the day's fishing.Courtesy of PELAGIC / Mario Bañaga
2016 Cabo Summer Slam Pelagic Gear Tejas yellowfin tuna winner
The Tejas team and their winning yellowfin tuna.Courtesy of PELAGIC / Mario Bañaga
2016 Cabo Summer Slam Pelagic Gear team Tejas
Tejas won first place in the tuna and wahoo categories.Courtesy of PELAGIC / Mario Bañaga
2016 Cabo Summer Slam Pelagic Gear mahimahi winner
Team What a Ride boated the biggest mahimahi of the tournament.Courtesy of PELAGIC / Mario Bañaga