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A 305-pound Blue Marlin earns 4 local men top spot in world-renowned fishing tournament


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IDAHO FALLS – Every fisherman loves a good fish story, and this one is 100% true.

Jared Ostermiller, JC Siddoway, Cade Carter and Ben Rydalch returned to eastern Idaho last week after catching a 305-pound Blue Marlin in the 41st annual Bisbee’s Black & Blue Tournament in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico (the same contest depicted in the Netflix show, “Blue Miracle”).

The catch earned the hunting and fishing buddies second place in the entire competition and each of them walked away with a hefty cash prize. They didn’t want to reveal how much.

Siddoway, who initially hooked the fish and organized the trip, tells it’s the biggest fish he’s ever caught and he’s thrilled four boys from eastern Idaho were able to take one of the top spots in a competition that attracts anglers from all over the world.

“We had reporters asking us what people would say if we asked them what the odds were of some Idaho boys taking second in the Bisbee. I said, ‘If you tell them we’re from Idaho, I’d say the odds are pretty good. We know how to get things done here.'”

siddoways catch
Jared Ostermiller and another crew member next to their prize-winning Blue Marlin. | Jared Ostermiller

Though Siddoway has fished the waters of Cabo San Lucas since he was a teenager, this was his first time participating in the competition and he thought it would be fun to put a team together with his buddies.

The three-day event began on Oct. 20 and went through Oct. 22. The tournament began with a shotgun start every morning at 8 a.m. and went until 5 p.m. Many teams, including his own, got out earlier in the day to fish for bait.

Siddoway and his team began each day with six lines in the water. Throughout the day, they’d rotate from rod to rod, working the water the entire time.

At the end of day one, Ostermiller says they didn’t catch a thing. Day two wasn’t successful either.

“As discouraging as that could’ve become at times, both JC and Cade from the beginning of the trip never acted like there was any possibility that we wouldn’t catch a fish,” Ostermiller explains. “Because JC had put the trip together, we all owed JC some money.”

Several times during the trip, Ostermiller and Rydalch asked Siddoway how much they owed him and whether he wanted the money now or later.

“He repeatedly said, ‘We’ll take it out of the winnings,'” Ostermiller recalls. “I don’t want it written that Ben and I were doubters cause no good fishermen are doubters. We were all thinking there’s a possibility but JC and Cade were phenomenally positive that we’re gonna get one.”

hooking a blue marlin
JC Siddoway hooks a Blue Marlin. | Jared Ostermiller

Day three of the tournament got underway just as it had the two days prior. Each of them started working the water and at 11:40 a.m., Siddoway hooked a Blue Marlin. The attempt to land it would result in a battle that lasted 2 hours and 40 minutes.

“I fought it for a little over an hour and then we swapped. Cade reeled on it for about 45 minutes and then we swapped back again. I thought I’d recovered enough that I could finish it up, but after about 10 minutes my arms were like noodles,” says Siddoway.

He was ultimately able to catch it with the aid of a harness around his shoulders and officially landed the prize-winning fish at 2:15 p.m.

The fish that earned first place was caught by a team out of Mexico during the first day. No catches had been reported by any team on day two, so Siddoway and his teammates weren’t immediately aware their catch would qualify for second place.

They hurried back to the bay as fast as they could because every fisherman knows a prize catch can lose weight if it’s not taken care of quickly.

As they docked at the marina, Ostermiller says they walked through a cheering crowd.

“I honestly felt like that might be what it feels like to be a professional football player coming out of the tunnel. People were so hyped about it. It was so crazy!” Ostermiller says.

They gathered around a scale where the fish was weighed and when tournament officials announced the weight, Ostermiller says the crowd erupted in applause and cheers.

Fireworks during the 41st annual Bisbee’s Black and Blue Tournament in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. | Jared Ostermiller

Confetti rockets were shot off and mardi gras beads were thrown into the audience. It’s a day that Ostermiller and the rest of his team will never forget.

What makes the win even more significant to Ostermiller is the fact that their small boat captained by Paulo Torres was competing against wealthy people on yachts with state-of-the-art equipment.

“We get a simple guide, we’re on a simple boat and we take second place in what felt like a David and Goliath (victory),” says Ostermiller.

Ostermiller and Siddoway say they haven’t received their cash prize yet and they haven’t even thought about what they’re going to use it for, but they’re considering doing the competition again next year.

“Part of me feels like I need to go fishing again next year to show that it wasn’t just luck,” Siddoway says.

Though they’re happy to have taken second place, Ostermiller and Siddoway say they’re just grateful for the experience and the memories they now share as a group. The entire trip still would’ve been worth it even if they didn’t win, they say.

For Siddoway, the one thing that’s stayed with him throughout the entire trip is something he’s heard his dad tell him hundreds of times from the time he first picked up a fishing rod.

“You’ll never catch a fish unless your line’s in the water,” Siddoway remembers his dad saying. “My dad drilled that in my head over and over and over. That applies to a lot of things in life, not just fishing. We just went for it and it worked out.”

The entire crew. | Courtesy Jared Ostermiller