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Fishing News


July 28

We promised an epic weekend of fishing and while it may not have risen to that lofty height, I suspect it’s one a lot of people won’t forget for a long time. Why? Jump onboard this careening hulk of journalism we call the Monday edition of the SCMO Fishing News and find out …

(cue freaky stormy theme music)

Rod hanging out the laundry

The weekend actually got off to an early start when we received word from Allan Sheridan that he’d fought and lost a swordfish only 7 miles out of Newport earlier in the day. His only comment? “So sore …” Well, if there was anyone still planning to watch from the beach, that was enough to get them headed offshore. To say that there were a lot of boats out this weekend just doesn’t cut it – one response to our Sunday night Info Ping email reported there were over 100 boats on the 14-Mile Bank on Saturday. “Every float tube, Bayliner and river deck boat was out,” the respondent said. Tuna fever will do that sometimes …

We’ll get to the edible pelagics in a minute, but let’s start with the billfish action. Sheridan’s near miss Friday was just the opening salvo, as a pair of marlin were released on Saturday. CHRONIC, taking its chances on the 14-Mile Bank, released a striped marlin early Saturday morning (and no doubt contributed to the 100-boat suction pump) after it took a well-placed drop back bait. Meanwhile, out towards the Avalon Bank, Rod Halperin and JANICE O were looking to get in on the tuna bite when a stripy came up in the pattern. As they slowed to try and bait it, the marlin hit a sinking tuna feather and the fight was on. Berkeley Andrews got the successful release 40 minutes later.

Savez-vous où le marlin sont?

A recurring theme in our final season will be a look back at things that were and how they’ve changed. A lot of people make a living off the local fishing industry, and many of the recreational anglers making news in our reports are in the business as representatives or entrepreneurs. Back in 2008, the SoCal waters were introduced to a creative – and ambitious – new fishing business with the arrival of the PACIFIC PROVIDER, a North Pacific fishing boat converted into a 156-ft luxury mothership. The concept seemed good, if pricey – you buy a membership in the Eastern Pacific Yacht Club and use the PP like an ocean-going timeshare when she arrived in exotic fishing spots up and down the coast.

Alas, the PROVIDER arrived just as something else made itself known – the Great Recession. It’s economic breath knocked out of it, the PP struggled on for a few years, most of that time for sale, before disappearing from view. So you can imagine the surprise of SCMO regular Rob Webster when he found himself standing on a beach in Saint-Tropez staring out at the anchored PACIFIC PROVIDER. Turns out now she’s a dive support ship, the cranes once used to launch sport fishers now hoisting mini subs in and out of the water. You can follow her ongoing adventures here.

A couple of quick tips of the SCMO cap for the weekend’s sporting accomplishments: Vincenzo Nibali for coming home first in the Tour de France, surviving a grueling event that saw most of the favorites crash out in the first week and a half; Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross for their victory in the FIVB World Series of Beach Volleyball in Long Beach (we knew they’d be good, but they’ve won 7 of the first 11 events they’ve entered – yikes!); and the Dodgers for a three-game sweep of the hated Giants up north. Enjoy the taillights, GiantsFan …

Back out on the water, the red-hot bite continued for tuna and the other eating fish. Both yellowfin and bluefin tuna continue to bite, with the schools mixing such that some stops bring both types. It continues to be a widely spread bite with most of the high spots producing. That said, most of the reports we received were from the 289, 277, 209 and 302. Lots of troll fish were taken, but it was pretty easy to get the fish to take bait, particularly the yellowfin tuna. Many reports indicated that yellowfin, yellowtail and dorado could often be caught on the same stop. My favorite report was of one private boat sitting on a tuna school for two hours and finally having to drive away from it, having worn themselves out.

Too close to home …

While the hot fishing is unusual enough, Sunday saw a weather event seldom seen around here. For the last month, we’ve been seeing moist air from the south pulled into the region, resulting in higher temperatures and humidity. Normally when we see these conditions, thunderstorms can pop up over the deserts of inland Southern California, often causing serious flash flooding. Yesterday, however one of these dangerous storms appeared over the local waters and raked the coast from Catalina to Santa Monica.

I was out running errands when the skies darkened, and I got that strange feeling you get after too many years on the water that tells you “head for port”. We got 45 minutes of hard rain here in Redondo, with the droplets the size of grapes and sounding like hail on cars and roofs. We were fortunate, however, in that all we got was rain and a little thunder. Two lighting strikes injured those who couldn’t find shelter – a golfer in Avalon and a group of beachgoers in Venice where, sadly, one died. I didn’t know it at the time, but a lighting strike hit a house not four blocks from the Home Office, knocking out power and no doubt scaring the hell out of folks.

That’s the latest from here for now. Thursday we’ll be back with a preview of the weekend and a look at what passes for the local marlin tournament season.

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