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August 7

Pardon me if I start to sound like a cooking show, but tonight’s report is gonna taste a whole lot like slumgullion – you won’t think there’s much there, but you’ll be full when you’re through. So pull on the the old feedbag and enjoy the midweek edition of the SCMO Fishing News …

(cue tasty theme music)

I’ve got a whole lot of little stuff this week, so I’m just going to dump it out stream-of-consciousness style. Those of you who remember the MarlinBlog fondly will appreciate it. The rest of you have been warned …

Seeing triple …

Not a lot of fishing reports coming our way, but it was pretty snotty the last few days and you have to figure that’s playing a role. It sounds like the tuna bite goes on more or less unabated, with a wide variety of spots continuing to spit out yellowfin tuna, bluefin tuna, yellowtail and dorado. The one marlin report we received was from OSPREY, who released one yesterday outside the 9-Mile Bank.

Speaking of marlin – the first update to the 2014 Billfish Release Board was made earlier today. Five releases are on the board, with two claimed. For those who don’t know, we put all released marlin on the board, but if you report it to us directly, or take the time to update any missing information, we’ll enter you in a season’s end drawing for SCMO swag. One in ten releases are winners …

The same weather that kicked up the waves blew out the SST charts as well, so I won’t waste your time with that.

If you’ve been following these reports for any time, you know that the Home Office staff loves us some opah. Heck, just do a search for it and see! I’m not sure if it’s the fact that they rare or freakish or no one really knows how to target them – or a combination of the three – but we always smile when an opah catch report crosses our desk.

So just imagine the rise it got when this picture arrived. Taken on the rail of the long-range charter boat EXCEL, it’s three opah – 151-, 180- and 124-lbs, respectively. As amazing as this story is, it gets even better – while fishing down at San Martin, the EXCEL anglers had 5 opah on the hook simultaneously. You could enjoy a lifetime of fishing and never see that again.

As interesting as the opah story is, there’s a compelling social media twist to it as well. Back on August 1st, the EXCEL crew posted the picture to their Facebook page. They have 21,000 people who like their page, which isn’t bad, but managed to get over 8.500 of them to like the picture and another 2,300 to share it. Given the draconian way Facebook controls who sees what these days, that’s amazing.

You have the power …

“Facebook controls what I see? What do you mean??”, I see you ask. Because you’re reading this, I can make two assumptions about you – you like fishing and you came here via Facebook. Over on the evil F-word, we have over 1,200 people who like the SCMO page. You’d think that means that when I crank out an update like this, those 1,200 people would see it on their News Feed … and you’d be wrong. No, FB has their proprietary algorithms that look at a number of factors in the post and determine what percentage of those who like the page will actually see the post. For us, it ranges from 100 to 400, depending on how many of the magic buttons we hit.

Of course, Facebook is more than happy to share my post far and wide if I will only “boost” it – FB-speak for pay them blood money to tweak the formula. So, with each Fishing News update, I slip them a twenty and magically I appear on 7,000 news feeds. Somewhat shameful for a site that’s “always free, and always will be.” But they’re a business, and businesses need to turn something that resembles a profit, so they get you hooked with the free stuff and once they have their hooks in you, start looking for your dollars.

Which brings us back to the EXCEL opah pic. How do you get anything you post to get that sort of penetration? Certainly not with money – but with participation. When those eyeballs that are shown an item tell their fingers to do something about it, it alters the algorithm. So, when we post something you like, you have the power to help it get seen. Hit the “Like” button, leave a “Comment” and, most importantly, “Share” it with your friends. Like that old shampoo commercial where one person tells two people, who tell two people, and so on, you have far more power to help us spread the good word than even money can. I thank you in advance for any help you choose to provide.

Seriously – who can say no to him?

On Monday, we reported the results of the HIBT, but the end of the tournament wasn’t the end of the story. Since 2011, the tourney has partnered with Stanford University to create The Great Marlin Race, in which marlin tagged with electronic tags are tracked over time to see where they go. After joining forces with the IGFA last year, the GMR has been expanded to include other events and other species – and that includes this years Master Angler Billfish Tournament. The sponsoring Balboa Angling Club is looking for donations to fund the electronic tags, and has turned to social media to help. They’re hoping to raise $9,000 to purchase two tags and are using the Crowdrise online fundraising site to help draw in sponsors. They’re currently about one-third of the way to their goal – if you’d like to help, please visit the MABT fundraising site, or you can visit the IGFA’s GMR page to learn more about the event.

So long as you have your wallet out anyway …

The drought has hit all of California pretty hard, but nowhere harder than Catalina Island. It may be surrounded by water, but every drop used for drinking must be produced on the island or tanked in. That creates a problem for the 3,000 thirsty residents of the island – among them, the famous herd of bison. Normally, these former big-screen extras are on their own to forage for food and water, but this year the Catalina Island Conservancy, the organization tasked with managing the wild portions of the island, have been providing food and water to the bison. This isn’t cheap, as you might imagine, and they’re hoping that like-minded individuals might be willing to donate and help defray the costs. Please visit their Bison Project page to learn more and make a donation.

I’ve run out of space and breath and haven’t even talked about this weekend’s Manhattan Beach Open beach volleyball tournament. I’ll probably have something to say about that, but I’ll definitely have both the results of the ongoing White Marlin Open and the weekend wrap-up when we meet again on Monday. See you there!

2 Years Ago …

August 9, 2012

Worried that there’d be a midweek lull? Hardly. We have fishing news of the very best kind, along with a look to what should be a crowded fishing weekend and my take on the best parts of the Olympics. Stick around and join us, won’t you?

(cue enthusiastic theme music)

Follow the yellow brick … er, thermocline …

The weather has been the story this week, with temperatures in the Los Angeles Basin topping 100 degrees in many places. On the water, that’s meant calm and balmy days, once the morning fog burns off. The chatter makes it sound like there’s a few boats working in the Catalina Bight, but they like the marlin are scattered. In fact, we didn’t hear of anyone having any success until our own HOOKER got the job done just before noon today. They were working northwest of the 267 at 19/50 when a marlin came up in the jig spread. It was interested, but not enough to take one, so Kathy Ecklund dropped back a mackerel and got it’s attention. As I said to my dad later, it’s just like riding a bicycle – you remember what to do. It’s the first release for the King Harbor Marlin Club, and one of the first for the region – but you can bet far from the last.

You’ve heard me talk many times about the “marlin freeway” and how any successful SoCal offshore season depends on a solid, consistent band of warm water from the south. Well, the skies cleared long enough to get a decent SST picture and lookie what we have here – a freeway wide enough to drive a fleet through. Any wonder they’re catching marlin on the 267?

If you’ve been watching any of the coverage, then you know it’s been a great Olympics for Team USA, particularly for womens team sports. Now I could talk about the gymnastics team winning a team gold or the soccer team avenging their World Cup loss to Japan or the water polo team winning the gold medal for the first time ever. But we both know that around the Home Office, there’s only one sport and one team that matters

When Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings last graced the Olympic beach volleyball sands, they were playing slap-and-tickle with President Bush and winning their second consecutive gold medal at the Beijing Games four years ago. Life has not been easy for the beach’s most successful team the last few years, however. Taking time off to start families, Kerri gave birth to a pair of boys while Misty’s plans were derailed by a torn Achilles tendon suffered on “Dancing With The Stars”. Kerri returned to the tour with a new partner only to have the AVP implode, leaving teams forced to compete overseas for the points necessary to punch your ticket to the 2012 Olympics. Misty, meanwhile, fully recovered but restless, decided she had more to prove in the game and reached out to the only person she’d consider closing out her Olympic career with – Kerri.

One last time for all the old times

They played together this year on the FIVB international circuit, but looked anything but invincible, and arrived in London as the top American team yet only ranked third in the tournament. But May-Walsh have always played their best under the bright lights, and they shook off slow starts (and their first set loss in three Olympics) to reach the final, where they faced the other American team, Jen Kessy and April Ross. On paper, it should have been a close match but let’s face it – the Sporting Gods weren’t going to let this end any other way than with Kerri crying and Misty dancing and the world celebrating a gold medal in their final match as a team.

So the story of the greatest women’s beach volleyball team in history has been told. Misty will finally get the chance to be Mrs. Treanor and sit with the rest of the players’ wives at Dodger Stadium. Kerri will go on with a new partner, most likely either the woman she jilted to reteam with Misty (Nicole Branaugh) or one of the ones who’s heart she just broke (April Ross). There’s no reason to believe she won’t win many more matches and go on to be the greatest female player in history. But she’ll never top where she was last night, arm in arm with Misty atop the medal stand as the anthem played and the tears flowed.

As a lifetime resident of the South Bay, I’ve been fortunate enough to follow their career from the start, and I’ve loved every minute of it. Thank you, ladies – it’s been an amazing ride …

I haven’t been following the other pelagics as closely as I probably could, but I know that the offshore banks in northern Mexican waters are still kicking out bluefin tuna, and our local spots have dorado – if you can find paddies. If you need to fill the freezer – and if you don’t, you need a bigger freezer – the opportunity remains.

Because we’ve been at this for a while, I have a pretty large selection of previous entries to tap during the midweek report for our “Years Ago” feature. I always enjoy seeing how the fishing and methods have changed, plus how we as people, this as a site and myself as an author have grown, learn and improved. As such, I chuckled when I saw the rant I was on in this particular post. That was a tough point in the life of SCMO. We’d seen a lot of competitors fall by the wayside, but it was becoming obvious that the stakes were getting higher, and the level of effort required to compete – both in terms of time and money – were more than I was willing to invest.

Since then, I’ve come to grips with what SCMO is – a niche site where quality will always have to make up for quantity. But the salient points of my rant remain true. This site, big or small, will always live or die on the efforts of our visitors. We don’t have a staff, and we won’t be hiring one any time soon. No magazine editor is going to ride in to run the place, and we’ll never have our own graphics design company. But we have – and have always had – what the others can’t buy – loyal, knowledgable readers.

When I mentioned last week that I was looking for people to join the info ping network, I got a dozen new members. My phone blew up today with text messages about the HOOKER catch. When someone posts a question in the forums, I may not get 25 replies, but I’ll get 5 good answers from people who actually know what the hell they’re talking about.

So thank you – thanks for all that you’ve done, and all you’ll continue to do as we enjoy what is looking to be an epic season.

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