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Fishing News


September 2

It’s Tuesday evening as I write the beginning of what will become a special double edition of the Fishing News. I already lost one day to the recently completed holiday weekend, and this coming Friday I’ll be fishing the first of two tournaments, meaning I’m on the boat tomorrow morning at 6AM. Since I don’t know for sure just what sort of access I’ll have later in the week, I’m staging things now for one big bonus sized Fishing News.

No JOKERs they – that’s a wahoo!

There was a whole lotta fishing action this weekend, but I have no choice but to cover two catches of note …

You have to sympathize with Eric Kim, because we’ve all been there. He’s out with his friends on JOKER Saturday, and the fishing is hot – yellowfin tuna are hitting the deck. It’s smiles all around – all but Eric, who was 0-for-3 on the big tuna. As they moved from one spot to another, inside and below the 267, they dragged lures – one being a Rapala X-Rap. When the X-Rap went off his friends, figuring it to be a dorado, nodded to Eric, “Take it, dude”.

That’s when a trip Eric would rather not remember became one he’ll never forget. It wasn’t a dorado, and it wasn’t a tuna. It was a wahoo! At the Balboa Angling Club scales, Eric’s prize weighed in at 50.1-lbs. It’s believed to be the first one ever weighed at the BAC, and one of very few ever caught in Southern California waters. Enjoy the moment, JOKER crew – you’ve done something the rest of us likely never will.

A couple of lessons come to mind from this fish. First, assume nothing this year. Clearly, anything that can be caught will be caught in our crazy fall fishery – I’m waiting for the spearfish.

The second lesson is a cautionary tale about the role of social media. Other sites that shall remain nameless blew up Saturday night with the news of this catch, and were completely wrong. You’d have thought from their “reports” that the thing was caught by an ISIS operative. So the lesson is the value of a moderated, digested fishing report in a world full of lightning quick scattershot posts. Good thing you have one right here …

I’ve moaned more than I probably should about not getting in any water time this season. Work, travel and life itself have conspired to keep me on the beach, so when Hurricane Marie caused the cancellation of my first trip last week, I was more than a little irritated. Consolation came in the form of an invite to join my brother in a one-day run on his 24-ft Skipjack SEAHAWK.

Hello, old friend …

We headed for the 152, figuring that while we’d heard of no action there, it was central enough that it would be a good staging point once the radio reports came in. We’d gotten a late start, and by sunrise hadn’t yet reached the high spot. I’m taking full credit for the decision to stop short and drop in the lures, because it was not a half hour later that my outrigger line went off. Before I could establish the fight it was off, but just as quick the other rigger popped. Rick grabbed the rod, figuring like JOKER that was a dorado, but his voice raised two octaves when the marlin made its first jump.

Rick and I are both experienced marlin anglers and crewmen, but we were on a boat that had never even hooked a billfish, and we’d not yet had a chance to discuss roles or where things were. Fortunately, SEAHAWK is a well equipped little fighter, and everything we needed was in reach. Half an hour later, and after a momentary scare with the outdrive, I had the leader in one hand and the bill in the other. I’ve said it many times before, but I’ll repeat it – I like to catch marlin, but I love the experience of releasing them even more. I’m embarrassed to say that the only thing we really messed up in the whole process ws the pictures – we got several of me releasing it, but none of Rick! But, my brother has the skunk off his boat and I got to walk a marlin. All said, a pretty special Sunday.

At this point it’s still early, but I know that among those releasing marlin this weekend were Mike Hansen on KAWAKAWA at the 172, Bruce Collins on MAKAIRA at the 43, and Patrick Tooley on BILLFISH at the 277. I’m aware of release off the Can Dump on Saturday and another off the Palisades, but I don’t have additional details on those yet. More as it comes …

Kate Upton is famous for a lot of things. She’s famous for being “discovered” at a dancing at a sporting event. She’s famous for appearing on multiple covers of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. And now she’s famous for her recently-leaked ability to hand-bra both of her impressive assets while simultaneously flipping a double bird. Kate is one of a large number of celebrities whose iCloud accounts were hacked … allegedly … and the pictures therein spread all over the Internet.

So here’s the one thing I don’t understand … well, two things. The first is why on earth she would be dating Justin Verlander, but I don’t expect there’s a reasonable answer to that. The real thing is why, in such a transparent, insecure world, you would ever allow pictures like that to be taken – you just know that somehow, some way they’ll become public. Of course, having made the stupid decision to take the pictures, please don’t compound it by denying they’re you or making snarky comments, the way Mary Elizabeth Winstead did, only to have it thrown back in her face …

Winstead, via Twitter:”To those of you looking at photos I took with my husband years ago in the privacy of our home, hope you feel great about yourselves.”

Twitter respondant: “”Stop posing nude on camera, dummy. Your husband not know what you look like nude? #LessonLearned”

Mother Nature’s wrath

Learned? I doubt it. But schooled indeed …

We talked earlier about Hurricane Marie and her trail of destruction; Sunday afternoon, I got a chance to see it up close and personal. Returning to Huntington Harbour, we could see that the last 50 or so feet of the southern break wall had been blown out by the waves, and the marker at the end was at a precarious angle. Remember, this is a storm that never came within 500 miles of land. You really don’t want to mess with Mother Nature …

The edible pelagics were once again the story this weekend, and there were far more boats pursuing them than marlin. The bite was so widespread and so wide open that Rick and I were legitimately disappointed that we were unable to back up his marlin with a freezer full of tuna. While there was a lot reported off the East End and down the ridge, most of the action was much further south. Out at the 43, the yellowfin tuna were plentiful and limits were easily had, while closer to the beach there was a nice bite 10 miles off of Oceanside. But truthfully, once again any high spot or kelp was likely holding fish.

I’ll be fishing this weekend in the King Harbor Marlin Club’s annual Marlin Tournament, one of a number of club events that happen in September. Most of the events are run by clubs located in the local marlin area; KHMC’s Redondo Beach home port puts it at the northern edge of the bunch. But there’s one event that sees the plight of the KHMC and think, “How cute” …

The Channel Islands Billfish Tournament will be held for the 44th time from September 13 through 17. The long length of the event is a nod to the distance the combatants must go just to get to the marlin ground, running from Channel Islands Harbor south. Once a strictly swordfish event, the great Ted Naftzger landed a 443-lber in the 1875 edition. Today, marlin is the targeted species, but the competition is no less stiff, as several of the competitors are among the best marlin boats in SoCal. If you’re based out of Channel Islands, or are willing to make the run up for the start, this is the event for you. You can email for more information, or visit the tournament website.

That’s all I’m going to add to this report for now, but assuming I have connectivity Wednesday or Thursday night, I’ll come back and add more. In the meantime, I’ll be posting to the Facebook page and Trip Reporter as applicable, so follow along!

5 Years Ago …

SEptember 3, 2009

It’s the last holiday weekend of the summer, and the best week of the year to catch a SoCal marlin.  So what are you waiting for?  Oh, yeah – you’re waiting for the Fishing News!

(cue theme music)

Running for daylight!

It’s the middle of the week, and the middle of the SoCal tourney calendar, so there’s not a lot of information to pass along.  Most boats are still working the band inside of San Clemente Island between the 289 and the Mackerel Bank.  Several marlin were caught there yesterday and today, with BRAVADO and CRISTINA LYNN among those scoring.  If you haven’t made it out to SCI yet, you can do so vicariously through the shot at right, which one of the pair of marlin released by KNOCK DOWN over the weekend.  The other marlin action has been very much a random, hit-and-miss thing, with the most intriguing report we received was of a marlin caught this morning only 6 miles out of Newport Harbor by a boat headed for the 43 on a tuna trip.

Speaking of tuna, there’s still an amazing tuna run going off on the southern banks.  How epic is it?  Anglers have so much variety that they’re able to target their favorite species, and are getting frustrated when others jump on their hook (“Not another goddamn yellowfin tuna … I want a yellowtail!”).  The north end of the 1010 Trench is a veritable smorgasbord, with albacore, yellowtail and both yellowfin and bluefin tuna being caught.  The 213 sounds like the best place for nice albacore, and the 302, 371 and 425 the best bets for yellowfin tuna.  One problem consistent across  most of the hot spots have been schools of skipjack that jump your baits and force you to relocate.  Most large kelps are holding dorado and yellowtail, and those who’ve drifted down to the 43 from the San Clemente fleet report that’s the case at the 43 as well.  This sounds like a great weekend to fill the freezer for the winter!

I’m not aware of any tournaments running this weekend, so it’s a good last chance to spend some quality time with the family – on or off the water – before we hit the heart of the tourney season.  There will be two or three a week through the end of the month, so this might be your last chance to take a deep breath.  If you’re still looking for an event to fish, may I humbly make a couple of recommendations – the King Harbor Marlin Club Marlin Tournament on the 11th and 12th, and the Pesky on 18th and 19th.  I’ll be fishing both, and can vouch for each being a great event and a fun time.  Tell ‘em I sent you – it won’t get you anything, but maybe the Tourney Chair will pay my tab at the Marlin Club …

Peter’s pride …

We’ve been on something of a themed photo kick here at SCMO lately. Over in the MarlinBlog, our recent eye candy posts have all been water-related, and in the Fishing News we’ve been looking for shots of pretty girls and billfish. I have another example here, with a picture of Katherine Bristow and her blue marlin, tagged and ready for release. If Katherine seems familiar to you, it might be the namesake boat she’s fishing on, KATHERINE B, or her father, Peter Bristow. Peter and both Katherine’s B are enjoying another fine season in the waters around Madeira – if you haven’t been following the story over in the MarlinNut Forums, then you’ve really been missing out!

The mapping process associated with the Marine Life Protection Agency is slowly grinding to its conclusion, and along the way throwing the recreational fisherman under the bus.  I wrote about it today in the MarlinBlog, but if you haven’t been involved in the process, now is the time.

Good news from our friends to the south.  Hurricane Jimena, which at one point was rated a dangerous Category 4 storm, made landfall this week on the Baja peninsula but did limited damage.  The storm passed just west of Cabo San Lucas, but because of its relatively small diameter the winds in town were manageable.  They’re still repairing the damaged roads from last year’s storms, so it’s good to hear they won’t have to start over.

That’s it for now.  No report on Monday – hey, even the Home Office staff gets the holiday off.  After last weekend’s lure debacle I’m not sure I’ll be let back on a boat, but if I get offshore you can look for a Trip Report with all the details.  And if you are fortunate to get on the water this weekend, we’d sure love it if you do the same!  Have a safe and fun Labor Day weekend, everyone!

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