Poco Bueno winners come from near and far
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PORT O'CONNOR - A California man who flew in for the event and someone and a young Texan were among those that caught winning fish at the 43rd Poco Bueno tournament over the weekend.
David Tucker and Ryan Smith might have vastly different life experiences, but both men love to fish.
Of the thousands that made their way to Port O'Connor for Poco Bueno, fishing was their commonality. If people were not lucky enough to be invited to the tournament, they waited on the docks and dry ground to see what the offshore fisherman brought back.
Tucker caught a 111-pound yellowfin tuna about 60 miles off shore, where the water was nearly 4,300-feet deep. He wasn't going to give up the specifics of his spot, but noted he nearly lost the fish.
"It went straight down, and it almost fooled us," Tucker said of the tuna, which is the biggest he's ever caught. "We couldn't stop the fish for a while. It got tired and we backed down on it. We fought it to the surface."
Every man on Tucker Tales had a nickname, from Mad Dog Ed, to Cocoa Puffs, Bossman and more. Tucker's was Stazowazo in honor of his brother and best friend who died.
His past only came up when he mentioned the dichotomy between himself and one of the men on his boat who is a corrections officer.
"We're all friends, and we pre-fished 548 miles in the six days before the tournament," Tucker said, in appreciation for his crew. "We covered another 350 during the tournament."
Tucker's tuna was half a pound bigger than the tuna the crew of the Motsumi brought in Saturday afternoon. Motsumi was the first boat in Saturday, yet they bagged the biggest wahoo at 60 pounds, and the second largest tuna.
The fly fishing segment had its fourth different winner in the four years it has been part of Poco Bueno. Monte Richardson and Trey Dyer combined to win on board Picafly with 28.60 points. The inshore competition also had a new winner as Team Mutt & Jeff edged Spotty Memories by .05 points, 46.35 to 46.30 points, to win.
But the buzz was all about the seven men aboard Dona Ken, the boat that hauled in the massive marlin.
Smith, 18, caught the winning marlin. Outside of fishing track and field was the only other sport that truly interested Smith in high school. He gave up athletics so he could focus on his debating skills - as he competed in three events at the Texas Forensic Association state tournament in March.
Smith and the rest of the crew on Dona Ken came in at 6:15 p.m. Saturday, 45 minutes before the deadline. But before Dona Ken came in, rumors swirled around on shore that someone had caught a blue marlin.
John Williams, 27, heard the rumors as well. Though he has only been invited to compete in Poco Bueno once, back when he was in high school, the Victoria resident has a handful of friends that were in the competition.
"It's good they got a couple marlins in," Williams said. "There have been years they haven't brought in anything."
Lupe Sanchez captained Leveled Out, a Port O'Connor based boat, which brought in a pair of dolphins and a wahoo. The boat weighed the dolphin, but deemed the wahoo too small to weigh-in.
That didn't stop the boat from making a good meal out of it.
Though their dolphins were not as big the 45-pound whopper the boat Birdie Time brought in to win the dolphin competition, Sanchez couldn't complain. With a big grin, he called his 2012 Poco Bueno experience awesome.
A big part of participating, he added, making the most of the experience, not the catch.
"I guess this all boils down to, fun," Williams said, comparing offshore fishing to gambling. "Out there, it's 90 percent luck. It's just where you are. ... You never know what you're gonna catch. It's a different ball game out there."