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Fishing News


September 15

The weather is hot and the fishing is hotter, and we’ll have all of that in this update of the Fishing News. But first, a little damage control …

(cue theme music)

We’re into the peak of the tournament season, and we’ve got a lot of ground to cover. Before we begin, however, there’s one item I need to take care of.

In our last update, I spoke at length about the proper handling of billfish. To illustrate my point, I used a picture with modifications and comments that, in retrospect, were unnecessarily hurtful and opinionated. I took a lot of heat for it this weekend, mostly justified, and want now to publicly apologize.

What the anglers did was wrong. Pulling a marlin into the cockpit for a pre-release photo is unjustified whether it is here or Cabo or wherever. I stand by that belief, and I have billfish science on my side. It is a hot button item for me, one that I have written about repeatedly in the past. Because this incident happened in our waters, and was compounded by the widespread distribution of the photo, it was an appropriate teachable moment for me to use to help educate the billfish anglers who frequent the site.

But that’s where I should have stopped. It was reasonable for me to say, “this is wrong, this is why, this is what you should do”, but to go beyond that wrong on my part. I should have simply taken the photo and placed a black stripe across the faces. The picture would have stood for itself with no need for any additional commentary on my part, either via the image selected to blur the faces or the statements that I made to accompany them. That additional commentary not only caused a lot of unnecessary drama but undercut the very message I was attempting to make regarding the proper treatment of billfish.

I am neither a PETA supporter nor a tree hugger, but for fifteen years I have worked to educate the thousands of anglers who visit the site on the proper treatment of the resource. Sometimes, I let my enthusiasm for the mission overwhelm my sense of common decency and this was one such case. For that, I sincerely apologize, not only to the three individuals pictured but to anyone – and there were many – who thought I went too far.

With that, let’s move on, and hopefully do a better job in the future.

Dangerous visitor

While we enjoyed a weekend of tournament fishing, our neighbors to the south had a very rough Sunday. Hurricane Odile, a Category 3 storm came ashore right on top of Cabo San Lucas last night. We’re still getting details on the damage, but while it is substantial it doesn’t look unrecoverable. I’ve not heard any reports of deaths or significant injuries yet, but they are inevitable Keep the good people of Baja California Sur in your prayers.

Looking at the 5 Day track, Odile should be a tropical depression somewhere over the northern part of the Sea of Cortez by Friday, when the next round of tournaments kick off. That’s good news, in that we won’t get another repeat of Hurricane Marie and her waves, but we should be seeing an impact to the weather nonetheless. Something to keep an eye on if you’re going to be offshore.

There were two billfish tournaments this weekend, organized by a pair of South Coast fishing clubs. While the Balboa Angling Club’s Master Angler Billfish Tournament may have big numbers and big history, it was the Oceanside Anglers Club’s Billfish Tournament where the big news was made. Angler Brent Thalisinos, fishing on REEL NICE N EASY off the East End of Catalina Island, released an estimated 400-lb blue marlin yesterday morning. Yes, blue marlin. We’d been hearing reports that blues were being seen by spotter planes, and with whale sharks, manta rays and even wahoo seen in the SoCal waters, this isn’t a complete shock. What it is, however, is an amazing story – and the tournament winning fish.

See you in six months …

In the MABT, the 49-boat fleet was spread far and wide, from the 172 in the north to the 371 in the south and out to the 43 in the west. Weather conditions were difficult, particularly for the northern fleet, and the marlin fishing was surprisingly pedestrian. The MABT is a light tackle tournament, and in normal year sight fishermen will be throwing mackerel on 12-lb tackle or lighter, hoping to pull in a winning baitfish. But there’s been scant few sight marlin caught this year, leaving the door open for the lure guys to have a shot in the MABT.

In the end, it was one of those sight fishermen, Jock Albright on KEA KAI, who won the event with a baitfish released on 12-kb tackle up at the Osborn Bank. Second place went to Bill Buchanan on POCO LOCO for his 16-lb release, and in third was Rod Halperin of HOOKED with his 20-lb jigfish. Top team for the event was Los Pescadores #1.

The HOOKED release, which is shown at right, is particularly important because it, along with a second marlin released by Brian Fox on CHARISMA, were tagged with popup satellite tags, the first two SoCal fish to take part in the IGFA’s Great Marlin Race. We should hear in about six months where these two fish have been when the tags surface. Stay tuned …

I have a lot more to say, like talking about the Pesky being sold out or the whale shark spotted in SoCal waters, but I just got word that Dave Brackmann is spearheading a relief effort for those affected by Hurricane Odile, and I’ve volunteered to research online crowd funding options. Frankly, that’s a hell of a lot important than this, so I’m signing off now. When we have the plan in place, you can bet that you’ll hear about it.


  1. Geoff H. says:

    http://www.crowdride.com is the platform by which we raised $4,500 in less than two weeks for the Great Marlin Race Tag. Your relief efforts for Cabo hurricane damage can be done through crowdrise.com.

  2. Steve Mras says:

    Only 8 boats in the MABT? I think DAC had 8 boats alone?

    Also, Blackfin hooked a blue marlin on 16 lb drop back. They spent 1.5 hours on it, got to the knot of the double line before eventually breaking off. Estimated it at 400 lbs.