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October 17 – Final Report

Well, it’s raining like hell here at the Home Office, and that can only mean one thing – time to write the last report of the season.

You’ve heard the old wife’s tale … the striped marlin turn tale and run south after the third winter storm of the season. Like most similar sayings, there’s a kernel of truth to be held. Certainly, the winter storms out of the Gulf of Alaska provide a fundamental change to the warm weather patterns of summer, and that means cooler surface temperatures. But I don’t think we really know enough about the marlin to make a general statement. I will say this … the marlin fishing got significantly worse after the big thunderstorm on Day 2 of the Zane Grey, and it never did recover. Fewer fish were seen, and those few didn’t want to chew. You can’t help but feel there’s a connection …

There are those who will tell you that there are still a few marlin out there, and there probably are. Only two problems with that – 1) most of the people doing the talking are folks in the business, meaning they have a vested interest in keeping hope alive and 2) none of those few fish that are still here seem to want to bite. That’s enough for me to de-line the reels and stow the rods.

Now there are some fish still being caught, if you’re willing to go far enough. Just ask Todd Fraser, standing next to his pending world record 382-lb Yellowfin Tuna, caught last week off Puerta Vallerta. Sounds like they had somewhat of a clusterf%$# with the local IGFA rep and the fish may have actually weighed as much as 410. But it’s enough for the 130-lb class record – one BFYFT!

Remember when we were off to that great start for swordfish? What the hell happened??

This’ll probably sound like a bad insurance commercial, but I do have some good marlin news … er, make that Marlin news. Joe Girardi has been hired to helm the Florida Marlins for next season. Man, the contrasts couldn’t me much stronger. We went from the the oldest manager in baseball (74) to the youngest (41), and from an aloof hands-off guy to a strict taskmaster. Frankly, I think the team could use a good ass-kicking, so maybe Joe is just the guy – after all, he’s got 3 rings from his days with the Yankees. Now if we can just get a real hitting coach …

Don’t forget – SCMO’s getting written up in the November issue of MARLIN Magazine!

My marlin season might be done, but that doesn’t end my marlin activities. I’ll be attending the public day of the International Billfish Symposium on November 2nd, and I urge you to do the same. There will be some great presentations that should interest all billfish anglers, capped by a photo/film presentation by Guy Harvey and Bill Boyce. Truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I know we’re trying to arrange a group to attend; check the Marlin Club for details – we’d love to have you join us!

You didn’t really think I’d let the last report of the season go without a little eye candy, did you? I couldn’t make my mind up on just one girl, so I bring you 12 – the 2005 USC Song Girls. Yeah, I saw the SC-Notre Dame game, but I know who the real Trojan athletes are …

Jesus – there’s another hurricane forming south of the Cayman Islands. If it reaches tropical storm strength – and it looks like it will – it’ll be named Wilma and will be the 21st named storm of the 2005 Atlantic Hurricane season. Amazing. And they say next year will be worse …

Well, that’s a wrap for 2005. Not the season I’d hoped it’d be, but better than it could. I think HOOKER ended up with 5 releases, unfortunately none of which were mine. But considering I only got to make three trips, I guess I can’t complain. Now it’s time for me to spend a few weeks away from the keyboard before launching into the usual winter upgrades. I have quite a few of them planned, too, so you all have something to look forward to next spring.

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