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November 6, 2013

Norman team has big fish story

NORMAN — A fishing team made up of five Norman residents recently came home with third place and pockets full of cash at a fishing tournament in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Team “Sooner Reelin” of Norman competed against 105 teams from throughout the world in the Bisbee’s Black and Blue Marlin Tournament in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. They received just under $35,000 for their efforts.

“Not bad first effort for a bunch of dumb Okies,” said Blake Virgin, a Norman attorney who competed with team members Captain David Stockwell, James Long, Rob Robertson and Ryan Dennis.

Their boat, “Marlin Queen,” was captained by Chito Gomez.

“This was our first time, but I guess we’re not amateurs anymore,” said Stockwell, also a Norman attorney who put the trip and team together.

Stockwell said the boat’s captain thought they had a keeper when it hit.

“It was about 300 yards out and it only jumped once and then headed for the bottom,” Stockwell said. “It took James (Long) 85 minutes to reel it in.”

The event, first hosted in 1981, has been variously described as the world’s richest billfish tournament and the “Superbowl of fishing” by Sports Illustrated magazine.

Over the three-day period, only six qualifying marlin were boated by the more than 400 fishermen. Team Sooner Reelin’ landed a 342-pound black marlin after a fight of one hour and 20 minutes to garner third-place overall in the event, beating out Japanese angler Takagi’s blue marlin by 17 pounds.

The winning team won the tournament with a 774 pound marlin caught by Linda Williams. Her team brought home more than $368,000. Second place was won by Martha McNabb with a 525-pound marlin.

Stockwell said when they exited the boat with their fish, they were met by a CNN camera crew and camera flashes.

“We were like rock stars down there,” he said.

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