S C M O
Advertise Your Product at SCMO
S C M O
The Offshore Angler's Online Home ©
Fishing News

 

August 28

White Cove Pier …

Raise your hand if you’re still above water …

Well, that was fun, wasn’t it? Hurricane Marie, who never got within 500 miles of the California coastline, nevertheless put on a show of power yesterday that continues – albeit abated – as we speak. It was initially believed that south-facing coastal sections, like Malibu Beach and Los Angeles Harbor, would get the brunt of the action, and they did see some amazing waves. But it was Catalina Island – the north side, at that – that absorbed the brunt of the damage.

Surfers will be talking about yesterday’s surf for a very long time. From 25-ft waves at Newport‘s Wedge, to surfable waves _inside_ the LA breakwater, to Laird Hamilton and others shooting the gap at the Malibu Pier, the scenes of yesterday’s action are epic. Those who know say it’s the biggest surf event in SoCal in forty years. But for all the power, there was relatively little damage, as most areas had prepared with berms and barricades and the like.

… Catalina Boatyard

The same cannot be said for Catalina Island, where swells wrapped around the east end of the island and pounded the lee shoreline. Every pier from Avalon to Long Point suffered damage, and the harbor was closed for a time to all traffic, including Catalina Express ferry service. In fact, the 6:30 boat out of Long Beach had to turn back once it realized the surge in Avalon Harbor made it impossible to tie up and offload passengers. The media was waiting for them back on shore, and they had quite a story to tell.

It appears that the worst damage happened at the Catalina Boatyard, a mile east of Avalon at Pebbly Beach. As you can see at right, boats under repair were knocked off their stands and anything not tied down was tossed about – including two-ton boulders. Damage assessments were still being made at our deadline, but all of the businesses located in that cluster suffered flooding and damage to some extent.

Pounding up some purple

For obvious reasons, there weren’t a lot of boats out the last few days, but those that were reported weather conditions better than expected. You can see from the latest SST chart that the warm water continues to rush unabated into the Catalina bight. That makes sense because, as we noted in an earlier report, while a hurricane generates a great deal of wave energy, it has no real impact on the currents. One item of note on the chart are the purple regions of significantly colder water along the shoreline. Notice that each is in a region of south-facing coastline; I suspect those reflect the cooling generated by all the pounding surf. Impressive display, Mother Nature …

We’re into what would normally be tournament season, but with the loss of all three professional events, it feels a little hollow. I never fished any of the “money” tournaments, and was not a fan of weighing dead marlin anyway, but I do miss the energy they brought. With those events gone, it’s more important than ever that we support the tournaments that remain.

There are two upcoming events I want to talk about tonight, and unfortunately, they’re running concurrently. The San Diego Marlin Club’s Gene Grimes Memorial Invitational Light Tackle Tournament has been around forever – I’m not sure how many years, but it was in existence when I first started fishing marlin 40 years ago. A club event, teams score points towards a perpetual trophy awarded to the high club. Now I will say that I think their point system needs to be revamped to encourage more released fish, but they do encourage the use of circle hooks and a portion of their entry fees support charity, with this year’s charity being the American Cancer Society. Visit the Marlin Club website for entry forms, rules and details.

And then there’s the Pesky. I suppose you could fish both events, but the ridicule you’d receive from the Pesky fleet might make you regret the decision. We’ve talked at length about the Pesky before, both here and at the now-defunct MarlinBlog, so if you don’t understand what it’s all about by now, I can’t help you. I can tell you that there will be a lot of damned good fishermen in it, and if the marlin stay as far north as they have so far, the release numbers will be phenomenal. Two things I can guarantee you won’t see, though – dead marlin and circle hooks. It’s just the Pesky way. If you’re interested, pop over to the Pesky tournament page, which is more or less SFW …

This weekend is the Labor Day holiday, and weather or not, there’ll be a lot of boats out there. Traditionally marking the end of summer, it’s also one of three weekends (along with Memorial Day and Fourth of July) when the “casual boaters” tend to hit the water in droves. Keep that in mind as you see that Sea-Ray obviously on autopilot approach your lure spread … chances are good that no one is home, and if they are, they have no idea that slicing right off your stern isn’t necessarily considered a friendly act.

I’ll finish tonight with a look back at another storm that caused far more damage than our little Marie. Katrina caught everyone off guard with her ferocity, and lives were both lost and changes forever. We did a charity auction here at SCMO that I still consider one of our finest moments – I pray we never have to do another …

9 Years Ago …

August 30, 2005

OK – everybody take a deep breath, ‘cuz we’ve got a lot of ground to cover …

Before we start talking about all the great fishing and wonderful times we’re having, let’s take a moment to think about a lot of folks who aren’t having a very good time right about now. Hurricane Katrina came ashore yesterday with all the fury we feared, and now there are hundred dead and thousands whose lives have been damaged. Eighty percent of New Orleans is underwater and is liable to remain that way for weeks; Biloxi is basically gone; huge numbers of people are homeless. In one of those sickly ironic twists, the remnants of the storm are currently pounding the Ohio River Valley with rain – where does it go once it falls? Down the Mississippi to New Orleans. Say a prayer to the god of your choice to look out for these folks …

The local marlin scene blew wide open this weekend, whit a lot of fish being taken in a lot of places. For the San Diego fleet, the places to be were the 9-Mile Bank and the 178. At least a dozen fish were caught there, and I’m happy to report that some of them were released. Unfortunately, the news was not so good for all those folks who made the run down south, and the fishing tailed off while the weather remained nasty. As one captain put it, "I’m on the Finger, and it’s giving me the finger …"

Among the more interesting stories to make their way up from the southern grounds was one of an angler hooking and losing a black – not striped, black – marlin. They were fishing 115 miles below Point Loma and hooked what they presumed was a bigeye tuna – until it broke off and was seen greyhounding with the lure in it’s mouth.

For the northern fleet, this weekend was finally our time to get in the game for real. Much of the Saturday action was located below Pyramid Head, and several boats were successful there. The action was spread over a wide area from the Head to the 289 to the 43 and down the ridge.

Ironically, while the "secret dope" sent a lot of boats offshore, those without connections were forced to fend for themselves closer to home – and many did just as well! DON JUAN landed a marlin on the 14, and several were taken on the 267. I think what this shows is that right now, the fish are flooding the area and there’s no "wrong" places – just look for the boats!

We all learned a valuable lesson on Saturday about the power of these fish when Ross Stotesbury on CRACKER JACK lost two fingers on his left hand while leadering a marlin. Apparently, the fish headed under the boat, and I can only assume he took the wrong wrap while trying to keep it out of the running gear. Roddy and others who have experience with the bigger blacks and blues have warned me before to not underestimate the power of these relatively small marlin, and hopefully it’s a lesson we’ll al remember. Guess it’s time to order that snooter …

Attention volleyball fans – Rachel and EY knocked off Misty and Kerri this weekend in Boulder. That means the two teams have split the last 6 events, setting up a real rivalry, and giving us all a reason to watch. Like their being hotties wasn’t enough to get our attention …

I heard of at least one swordfish being weighed in at Avalon and another hooked and lost. In a twist on the normal scheme of things, a swordfish boat hooked a marlin and handed it off to a sportfisher!

Americans are survivors. With all the tragedy in the Gulf Coast, it’s good to see there’s at least one guy whit his priorities set – wading through chest-deep water, he’s towing a door on which sets his two prize possessions – his ol’ lady and his beers …

The Churchmouse is the first major tourney of the year and is a favorite due to its lack of some of the slick polish of the other money events. For a while, it was looking like another thing it would lack was fish, but the weekend action changed that. Eighty-seven boats headed out of Avalon for two days of fishing, and on Monday the action seemed to be split between the ridges of the 181 and 182, and the 152 and 277. Day One saw a total of 18 fish released for 27 hookups, with several boats having released two including defending champion EGGCESSIVE. Today, most of the action was closer to Catalina as the boats pounded the ridge from the East End to the 277 pretty hard. By the 4pm lines out call 30 fish had been released with over 40 hooked. You never know until the banquet, but I believe DONNA C (skippered by MNAC member Kenny Knight) is the winner with 3 releases.

I’m happy to say that the hot fishing wasn’t limited to the tourney boats, as our own HOOKER released a pair yesterday near the 152, and Chris Badsey reported releasing two jigfish today. Unfortunately, while once again provided great pictures (including the one above), he neglected to tell me where he was.

Sorry if this report lacks the creative flair you’ve come to love, but I spent 6 hours in meetings with software vendors today and have another 8 hours lined up tomorrow. That’ll beat the enthusiasm right out of you. I’m off to bed – hopefully to dream of marlin!

Comments are closed.