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October 16

Not going to lie to you – this update will probably be a little more shallow than usual. I’m beat from having to defend my decision to talk about the dead blue marlin in the last update, and I’m still worn down from the Release Rant the week before. So, you’ll just have to accept whatever the portion of my brain that is still functional can produce …

Perfect placement

Truth be told, part of my exhaustion comes from this never-ending season. Look back through prior years and you’ll see that more often than not, we’re already done by this time. But don’t tell the fish – they’re having none of it. And with water in the Catalina Bight still a balmy 74-degrees, I don’t think they’re going anywhere anytime soon …

We covered the BADCO blue marlin in our last update, and mentioned that while it was the first one to be landed, it was far from the first to be hooked – nor would it be the last. Tuesday evening, Gus Chabre on SUBCHASER released an estimated 300-lb blue marlin on the 152. But there is so much more to the story …

When Steve Lassley took BAD COMPANY XL out on Monday, he did so targeting big fish – swordfish or blue marlin – and they brought tackle to match. For SUBCHASER, it was a completely different deal. Gus hooked his marlin Tuesday afternoon on 20-lb dacron tackle, hoping the fish would serve as his qualifier for the Tuna Club. As a result, he fought the marlin for nearly 5 hours before it was leadered. Sadly, they were unable to tag the fish – a requirement if it is to be used as a qualifier. Nonetheless, subduing a 300-lb blue marlin on such overmatched and unforgiving tackle is a significant achievement.

The amazing blue marlin stories have been getting all the attention, but the striped marlin bite has quietly remained hot both north and south. As you’d expect for a late fall midweek, there weren’t a huge number of boats plying the waters, but that didn’t stop some of them from posting big numbers. Angler Marc Bacon, fishing on Warren Gunter’s xJEWEL LURE, released a pair of marlin Tuesday near the 152. They backed it up by releasing two of the three jig fish in a triple hookup; I presume it was one release for each of them.

Also releasing a marlin on Tuesday was Jock Albright on KEA KAI; I’m not sure where they got the baitfish but we know it left with some extra jewelry in the form of a Great Marlin Race PSAT. That’s Ryan Griffin’s great shot above showing a successful tag placement.

To the south, the action they’ve seen for the last month seems to be continuing. Mark Cernich released released a marlin yesterday while fishing on SPORTY GAME off San Onofre, and the 9-Mile Bank was friendly to SEA TREK IV with one release and DOS HERMANOS with two. One correction from last week – we had SNOOPER with three released when it was in fact THUMPER.

Bit of an upgrade

These reports have always been more than just fishing, as I tend to pull my other interests into the mix. Whether my favorite beach volleyball girls or Florida Marlins baseball or the Tour de France, I’ve always added a little color to what can sometimes otherwise be a pretty dry read.

My latest time-consuming interest has been architectural touring, with an emphasis on Frank Lloyd Wright and some of his mid-century modern contemporaries. In the last two years, I’ve spent more and more time – and money – traveling to tour various sites around the country. The process generates memories, of course, but also more tangible photographs, many of which I’ve shared here and on Facebook.

Once upon a time, I rocked a Canon AE-1P SLR with a full set of lenses – it was a great camera for capturing action from the auto races I frequented at the time to my fishing adventures. As technology drove photography from 35mm film to 32gb SD cards, I made the leap to digital, but in a lightweight fashion. I knew that more often than not, I let the program mode of the AE-1P do all the work for me, and with even the simplest DSLR being hideously expensive, I opted for a series of point-and-shoot cameras, leading up to my current PowerShot SX-120. It’s a great little camera, about as powerful a unit as you can fit in your pocket, but as I asked it to do more and more I became less satisfied with the results.

Why do I tell you this? Because, with my next Wright tour starting in less than two weeks, I’ve made the leap back to real cameras – a Canon D70 DSLR with a sweet 28-155mm zoom. Not only will I get much better pictures on my tours, but you’ll get better shots when I’m on the water. It might be a while before I start cranking out ones like the one above – I just need to get my stuff together before the tour starts! If anyone knows a way to get really good with a new camera in a hurry, I’d love to hear it.

One more thing on the camera – while checking out the new rig, I got a wave of nostalgia and decided to pull out the AE-1P, which has languished at the back of a closet for more than a decade. When I opened it, I found it in great condition – and with an exposed role of 400 speed film floating around the case! Assuming I can even find someplace that will develop film any more, it will be very interesting to see what’s on that roll …

When Hurricane Odile roared through the tip of the Baja peninsula last month, leaving a trail of significant destruction in her wake, few outside Los Cabos thought they could be ready for the first of the big marlin tournaments, at that point less than a month away. But someone clearly forgot to ask the local residents and the many ex-pats living and working in the area. Led by Wayne Bisbee and their charity relief effort, they’ve done a fantastic job of bringing life back to the region.

The first event of the fall Cabo season, the Los Cabos Billfish Tournament, started on time yesterday with 14 teams blasting out into the blue Pacific. After two days of fishing, a total of 17 billfish have been caught, with a single qualifying blue marlin that tipped the scales at 365-lbs. There’s one more day of fishing tomorrow; we’ll have the results next week. This weekend also sees the two fishing days of the Bisbee’s Los Cabos Offshore Tournament, and we should have details on that one as well.

I was cruising Facebook for late breaking news when I stumbled across this picture from Brett Crane of Crane Lures. Yes, those are three wahoo cruising just outside the mid-channel oil rigs just off Long Beach. Any more questions other than … what the hell?!?

As we fade out tonight, a look back a decade to a season much different than this one …

10 Years Ago …

October 18, 2004

"It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas …"

What the heck is this wet stuff coming out of the sky? Could this be rain? Being from SoCal, I’ve never actually seen rain, but I’ve heard the stories …

Wasn’t it just a couple of weeks ago we were trolling for tournament fish wearing nothing but short pants? Now, seemingly overnight, it’s winter. The first band of a major storm has rolled through Southern California, and the main body of a big Aleutian storm is expected to hit tomorrow.

You know the old saying – the marlin clear out with the first winter storm. This is pretty early, but it is a big, cold storm. I don’t think it bodes well for anyone hoping to pad their count or compete for last fish of the season.

In spite of the impending weather, several boats actually took a shot at the marlin this weekend. As you might imagine, they didn’t find any success. The "fleet" – such as it was – tried to work off of Carlsbad, but the weather was tough enough to pin several of the smaller boats in Oceanside and Dana Point. Just wait until the usual cast of characters file their Trip Reports – they should be interesting …

Wow … I’ll tell you one place that is hot right now – the baseball playoffs. I just saw David Ortiz win the game for the Red Sox in the 15th inning to send the series back to New York, then a couple of minutes later saw Jeff Kent hit a three-run walkoff homer for the Astros. Not as good as watching the Fish battle the Cubbies last year, but pretty amazing anyway!

Our season might be winding down, but down Cabo way things are just getting started. The Bisbee’s Los Cabos Offshore Invitational ended yesterday, and the Black and Blue starts tomorrow. SCMO will be well-represented in the big one, and we should have some great reports in the War Room – if any of them can make it past the bar …


  1. Gary Graham says:

    in a word

    Dont leave home without him

    Keyboard issues

  2. MarlinNut says:

    Awesome – thanks, Gary!