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July 26

So, I waited an extra day to publish this report, figuring it would give folks who were on the water this weekend a little more time to file their Trip Report. Lotta good that did … more to follow.

This is how it goes sometimes. For the last few weeks, I’ve been having to do a song and dance in each report, talking about sports, current events or whatever just to fill the space since there wasn’t any real fishing news to report. So now that I have a lot of really good sports stuff to talk about, what happens? They catch the first local marlin … go figure.

That’s right – unless you’ve been under a rock the last few days, you should already know that the first local striped marlin of the year has been caught. You didn’t know? Man, you need to check in at the War Room more often!

Back in mid-June, CLUB TED landed the first rod-and-reel swordfish of the season. At the time, we mentioned that CT is a boat we usually only hear of at tourney time, where’ they’ve been successful in the past. Well, we’re hearing about them again. Friday, while trolling 5 miles off Church Rock, they caught the first marlin of the year. A jig fish, the stripey was released to fight another day. As you might imagine several other boats pounded the area pretty hard over the weekend, but the CLUB TED fish was the only one I heard of being caught.

The area off Church Rock has always been a good producer. Heck, I even got three there last year. I’m told the water was up to 71 degrees, as well, so it’s a sure bet that this one fish wasn’t traveling by himself …

Well, he did it. After 21 days and 2000 miles, Lance Armstrong rolled into Paris Sunday and won the Tour de France – his mind-boggling seventh consecutive victory. As someone who has followed the Tour for twenty years – and written about it here for the last few – I’m out of superlatives. Many feared that the Armstrong tank was empty and that this might be a simply farewell ride on the way to retirement. His competitors openly debated who would win this year’s tour, totally discounting the possibility of a repeat by Lance.

That bravado lasted all of one stage. After he took a minimum of a full minute out of all of his main rivals in the initial time trial, everyone else was relegated to the fight for second – and they knew it. He solidified his lead in the Alps, held it in the Pyrenees, and padded it in the final time trial of his career – which he naturally won. It was his most dominating performance yet.

Take a good look at this champion, because you are not likely to see another like him in a very long time. Au revoir, Lance … au revoir, bonne chance et merci!

Sign that we’re on the wrong track #1: I understand that there is a reality TV craze these days and programmers aren’t smart enough to know when enough is too much, but there are currently two programs running on American TV where talent contests are being run by bands to replace members who died … sick!

Obviously, everybody’s thoughts are on marlin right now, but it’s worth mentioning that a lot of swordfish are being seen currently spread over a wide distribution of area. Unfortunately, as is often the case at this point in the season, they don’t seem to be biting. Makes CLUB TED’s accomplishments all the more amazing …

Well, if the Tour de France is done, then I must be done, too. I’m happy to say I completed the commitment – 21 day, a total of 263+ miles ridden. Actually, I’m rather amazed. Last Thursday, I pulled a calf muscle bad enough that I couldn’t walk for two days. The good news was that while I couldn’t walk, I could ride. The motion of pedaling didn’t move the muscle in any bad directions, so it was actually much less painful to ride than walk. I was able to use that to my advantage, putting in nearly 60 miles in the last three days, including 35 on Saturday.

While my numbers pale compared to the real Tour, I have a whole new respect for the riders. Just the idea of hauling your butt onto a bike every day – without fail – is a challenge. I did it for an hour; I can’t imagine what it’s like to do it for 4 to 6. But the exercise does me good, and the marlin whose a$$es I kick later this season will pay the price …

Sign that we’re on the wrong track #2: Many news papers are refusing to run the Doonesbury comic strip because of what they consider to be unacceptable language. The phrase in question? "Turd blossom". I’m serious. Have we really gotten this politically correct? Pathetic …

Since I was somewhat limited in my mobility this weekend, I figured I might as well be immobile somewhere with a view. I spent most of the weekend enjoying the matches at the AVP Hermosa Beach Open. I enjoy the men’s game, but I must admit beach volleyball is the one sport where I actually enjoy watching the women more than the men. It might have something to do with the uniforms.

Last season, we shared with you the front side of Rachel Wacholder, so it’s only fair that this year we feature the other side. Gotta love those little suits – so few places to put the players names. It gives you a built-in excuse to stare at their butts …

For the record, the men’s tourney was won by Casey Jennings and Fuerbringer, while Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh (Casey’s fiancee’ – big weekend for that pair!) won the women’s side over Elaine Youngs and our own Rachel Wacholder. If you’ve never seen one of these events, I heartily recommend you come out the next time they’re at a beach near you!

Well, now that the first marlin have been caught there are two things that will happen, and they are as predictable as the tides. First, we’ll get a run of new (and returning) members, all hoping to get the latest information on where to go next. Second, we’ll get absolutely no Trip Reports, at least not until the various club’s First Fish flags go.

So I guess this is a pretty good time for my annual "Why It’s Important That You File Trip Reports" speech. There are other sites out there where you can read about how private boaters did on their successful trips. We were the first, of course, but like most good ideas it spread quickly. Most of those sites are bigger than ours, so the number of people who can provide reports is also larger. Unfortunately, those sites also tend to be rather widely focused, so the reports they get can be about a lot of different kinds of fish and fishing.

SCMO, on the other hand, has a very narrow focus – billfish. Sure, we’ll chase a tuna now and then, and we’ll even tell you where to go to get them if there’s nothing else happening. But at the end of the day, we’re about marlin and swordfish. Obviously, that means we pull from a much smaller group of anglers. That’s why it’s so important that those few who do go out take the time to provide a report.

Here’s how it ought to work. Boat ‘A’, no doubt using the predictions from our Thursday Fishing News, heads out Friday night and works off Church Rock. They release a pair of marlin over the weekend, and can’t wait to get back on the beach to share the news at SCMO via their Trip Report. That’s great, and we value the information. But let’s say Boat ‘B’ decides to work the Avalon Bank for the weekend but sees nothing, and Boat ‘C’ pounds up and down the ridge between the East End and the 277, stopping to bait some feeders on the 152. When they get home, they have nothing to brag about, but they still possess vital information. When you’re pulling together the details on what’s happening, knowing where the fish aren’t is just as valuable as where they are – particularly if you factor in the cost of fuel! So it is just as important that the crews of Boats ‘B’ and ‘C’ file their reports as it is for Boat ‘A’ to share their success.

I say this every year, and have no choice but to say it again – the only way this place can be the resource we all want it to be is if we all pool our information. I know you guys are going out, and I know you’re reading these reports – it’s only fair that you do your part by filing your Trip Reports. I’d be thrilled if even half the MNAC members would faithfully file Trip Reports … particularly if it’s the right half … :-) Of course, I’d be happy if we could just get the MNAC members who post their reports at other sites to simply post them here, too, but I guess that a topic for another day’s rant …

All the signs make it sound like the place to be is off the East End of Catalina from the Slide to Church Rock and down the ridge to the 152. Some of us have to work for a living; if you don’t, or just gotta play hookey, get on out there … but don’t forget to let us know how you do!

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