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Fishing News


September 22

Our season for the ages continues, and I’m running out of superlatives and expletives to describe it. But describe it we must, so onward we go …

Another rarity appears

(cue theme music)

There were several billfish tournaments this weekend, and we’ll get to those in a moment, but the real story of the weekend – as it has been all season – is the continued presence of exotics in our waters. At least three, and probably more, wahoo were landed this weekend by both private boaters and cattle boats. At this rate of capture, they hardly bear mentioning any more. John Noble, fishing in the ILTT on LIVELY ONE, released the first shortbill spearfish seen in our waters this season (that’s it at right). LIVELY ONE doubled down on the exotics Saturday, as they also released what is believed to be a 200-lb-class blue marlin – one of at least five solid blue marlin sighting from the weekend. It’s just amazing stuff, and it keeps getting better.

For the last weekend of the open tournament season, there were three events contested – the Pesky out of Avalon and the ILTT and Charity Heart tournaments out of San Diego. I haven’t heard the results out of the Heart event, but the ILTT was won by OSPREY with a pair of released striped marlin by Wayne Slahor and Jim Konzai. Slahor also took Top Angler honors for his effort. Second place was OLD BLUE followed by LIVELY ONE in third. It sounds like most of the action centered on the 9-Mile Bank.

The theme of this years Pesky, or properly the Los Pescadores Next To Avalon Invitational Not So Light Tackle Billfish Derby, was “Looking for Elvis”, and there was no lack of suspects – I haven’t seen so many bad Elvi since my last trip to Vegas. Fortunately, good as the costumes were, the fishing was even better.

A total of six marlin were released, all striped and all coming from the ridge off the East End of Catalina. Chris Halliday of TURTLE was High Angler with one release that won based on all the bonus points that can be scored. His team also took High Team honors with a pair of releases. Second place angler was Alyson Gillett of BOUNDER with Mike Tikunoff of SOUND INVESTMENT, each with a single marlin release.

Just a little bling

While they didn’t score in the tournament, KEA KAI nonetheless had an eventful weekend. During the Thursday pre-fish, Aaron Grose released a marlin on the 152 that they were able to fit with one of the Great Marlin Race satellite tags – that’s a shot of the tag to the left. On Friday, something big – and presumably blue – hit one of their trolling lines and spooled them in 15 seconds flat – quicker than they could get the boat turned around. I’m telling ya, it’s one of those seasons.

In other billfish news, the first swordfish of the season has finally been caught – but this ain’t your daddy’s swordfish. ANDREYA was trolling home from Avalon Sunday, marlin spread deployed “just in case”. As they passed through the Shipping Lanes, something hits a black and purple lure. Figuring it to be a tuna or small marlin, you can imagine their surprise to find it is … a 34.2-lb swordfish!. The pint-sized prize was in over its head and quickly dispatched, scoring the First Swordfish flag for angler Nate Schill.

Some have questioned the propriety of keeping such a petite swordfish, but I’d remind everyone that unlike marlin, swordfish are a commercially harvested species with no size limit. In the end, it’s the angler’s call, and I’m sure it’ll taste great on the grill. Personally, though, I’d have let it go and forced them to sew me a release flag … ;-)

Off the water this weekend, the AVP beach volleyball tour concluded its season with the AVP Championships on the sand at Huntington Beach. In keeping with a chanpionship mentality, both the mens and womens top seeds were victorious. Casey Patterson and Jake Gibb defeated Tri Bourne and John Hyden while Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross beat Heather Hughes and Whitney Pavlik to complete their perfect season.

Long-time readers of the FN or MarlinBlog know we’re huge fans of the AVP (particularly the womens’ bracket), but it’s disappointing to see the state of the sport now. Just six years ago, the tour consisted of 18 stops, played on stadium courts packed with fans and was riding a wave of new fans from the Olympics. Now, there are only seven events, played on courts surrounded by free bleachers that could hold but a few hundred fans and, as one media outlet pointed out, most of those seats were empty. A sad state of affairs that I hope finds a reversal, as it’s a great sport!

Running north

In the last update we included the results of the Channel Island Billfish Tournament; the release by Andrew Dal Pozzo on HYDROCARBON, shown at right, was part of that event. What makes this marlin important is that it was caught well north of the rest released this year – almost up to Santa Cruz Island. We’ve had years where the warm water ran so far north that the marlin passed the 17 north of Santa Barbara Island and were caught on the Footprint Bank and 153 in the lee of Santa Cruz, and this could certainly be another one.

Remember, while striped marlin enjoy warm water and are still widespread throughout the Catalina Bight, their preference is 68 deg F – warm enough for them, but cool enough for the baitfish they crave. The 68-deg isotherm has already moved far north of us, and there’s every reason to believe the marlin followed it – when was the last time you saw any baitfish out there? We shall see …

I have this terrible feeling that I’m leaving out something important, but my addled brain just does’t remember what it is. And, as the great Vin Scully says, “It’s tiiiime for Dodger baseball!”. If I remember what it is, we’ll cover it Thursday …

One Comment

  1. Frank Sullivan says:

    There is NO doubt that there are marlin on the back side of Anacapa. I hooked and lost 2 there on the last day of the CIBFT, and last Sunday I saw one jumper e/o the Foot Print and Skip Miser saw a jumper just off of the Anacapa Light!