By Dawn Messina
The Invitational Poco Bueno founded in 1969 by Walter W. Fondren III and some of his closest friends. Fondren, who left a distinguished legacy, became the founding chairman of the Coastal Conservation Association in 1977, now the CCA. Poco is a Fondren family-run fishing tournament that includes offshore and inshore divisions.
Fondren saw Poco Bueno as a way to draw attention to the incredible resources that Port O’Connor offered the recreational angler. The name Poco Bueno in Spanish roughly translates to “It’s Okay.”
Thirteen boats registered for that first Poco, which ended in bad weather so a big party and trap-shooting off the dock took place. Rumor has it that in the early days of Poco, it was a wild four-day party that included strippers, flown in by oil and gas executives, and an endless supply of high dollar liquor. Today, over 50 years later, Poco Bueno is family friendly and attracts some of the most prestigious boat owners, their families, captains and crew members from across the United States to fish the offshore tournament.
In 1985, an inshore division was added in order to accommodate the overwhelming desire of redfish and trout anglers to participate in all of the festivities. With the growing popularity of fly fishing on the Texas coast, a fly fishing division was added in 2009.
In the years since that first Tournament, Poco Bueno has grown to include over 100 offshore and inshore boats. Through the years, it has kept its original spirit – groups of friends gathering to promote the sport of offshore and inshore fishing in and around Port O’Connor.
Walter Fondren IV, who is following in his dad’s footsteps, now acts as director of the legendary Poco Bueno billfish tournament, which continues to be an invitational only, family-run tournament.
This year, taking top spot by one-pound was Hasta Luego, Capt. Dee Wallace, crew and angler Justin Aguilar from San Antonio with a 575-pound blue marlin. Second place was taken by Mojo, Capt. Brian Phillips with a 574-pound marlin and third place went to Lady Adele with their 508-pound marlin. Fourth place was Honky Tonk at 452-pounds, fifth place was Done Deal at 421-pounds, Over the Limit took seventh with a 393-pound fish and seventh place was Whoo Dat at 389-pounds.
Taking top spot for the inshore master angler division was Ken Lester and Brant Boone with 57.15-pounds. The fly-fishing master angler award went to Camp Baily and Corby Robertson with 34.8-pounds.