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August 19

Go fishing … now …

That’s about as simple as I can make it. Everything I say after this will simply reinforce the point – drop what you’re doing and go fishing NOW.

You know, I hate to use superlatives – the best, the most, the greatest. But this is rapidly turning into a season to remember, with albacore, marlin, yellowfin and bluefin tuna, dorado and more all available at the same time. The word I keep hearing used to describe the action: epic.

Normally, the marlin bite slows during the week, as the lack of fishing pressure makes it hard to locate the fish. While the number of boats might have been down during the last few days, the amount of activity per boat remained amazingly high. Just today, HOOKER, KEN-DAN, WAIT-N-SEA and PESCADOR all released marlin, and many more boats saw action.

Probably the best quote of the week comes from my own father, who’s not normally the most quotable. "I had so many bites today I lost count," he said, describing the action today. "I’ve never had a day like this – every time I started up out of a jig strike, I had more action. I’ve had days when we caught more fish but not the action we had today."

The twin bites at the 181 / 182 and off Pukey Point stretched into the week, and both areas produced marlin releases in the first half of the week. The big news in the last 48 hours was a thick pack of fish roughly 8 miles offshore over La Jolla Canyon. This is the area where the 4 releases mentioned above occured. I wouldn’t assume, though, that this means this is the only place where the fish are. It sounds like pretty much every high spot from Catalina south is holding at least some marlin, even though there aren’t enough boats fishing to tell for sure. An example occured earlier this week when JOKER got an excuse-me release on the 277. They were only there because they were transiting to Avalon. I think that if you pick an area and work it this weekend, you’ll do ok. That’s important, since once the word gets out that the marlin are within 10 miles of the coast, every guy with a panga will be pounding the inner banks pretty hard.

I know that dorado are still being caught as bycatch by the marlin trollers, so I’d assume that the yellowtail are still available as well. Still no real action on the swordfish, but, interestingly, there was a large number of swordfish boats working this week on the 14-Mile Bank, even though there did not appear to be any great number of fish there. But they don’t work an area without a good reason …

As part of our grudging acceptance of the Sevenstrand Electronic Acoustic Lure (EAL), we’re putting together an EAL knowledgebase. Hey, if you’re gonna shell out $200 for the lure and $10 a day for the power, the least we can do is help you out. What we’re looking for in particular is any information regarding fishing with the lure (tips and tricks, where it works best, colors, sizes, etc) and information about the best deals for both lures and batteries. We’ve got a couple of threads going in the Marlin Club; you can post your information there, or email it to me.

The last few years have been tough for the Olympics. Drug scandals … bombings … terrorists. The Athens organizers were justifiably worried about the travails that could befall the 2004 Games, considering the issues in the world today.

I’m sorry to say, the first major controversy of the Games has arisen: volleyball dancers.

At the Olympics, each sport is managed by the international sanctioning body for that sport, with the international olympic committee as the overall controller. For volleyball, it’s the Switzerland-based Federation Internationale de Volleyball, or FIVB.

The FIVB recognized that it has one of the most TV-friendly events in beach volleyball, and wanted to capitalize on that by making the event as exciting as possible. To the FIVB, that meant including the same kind of on-court entertainment you find between points at any FIVB (or AVP, in America) event – hot, sexy dancers.

Unfortunately, not everyone sees things the same way, and the scantily clad dancers have found themselves at the center of a firestorm of controversy. The FIVB, to its credit, has held it’s ground. As a regular viewer of Olympic beach volleyball, I’m grateful.

Perhaps the most telling comments have come from the competitors themselves, particularly the women. They don’t have any problem with the dancers – they just want men dancers, too. Hey – fair’s fair …

Those of you who were with us last year know of my love of the Florida Marlins, and the joy I experienced when they won it all last fall. This season has been a little tougher, as the Marlins have slowly slid from front-runner to also-ran.

None of that mattered Monday night, however, as I shared the Marlins first (and only) local appearance with my brother and nephew. I’m happy to say the Marlins rallied to win with a pair of late-inning runs, and I was able to revel in the victory with new Marlins catcher Paul Lo Duca and those who still love him in LA. As you can see from the red circle at right, we had some pretty good seats, too! (Click on the picture to see it full size). The frosting on the cake came last night when a Lo Duca walk off Eric Gagne’ set up the game winning hit for the Marlins.

I’m happy to say I’ll be on HOOKER this weekend. I say that because I really thought I was going to be watching this one from the beach. When you’re retired, have a 46-ft Hatteras and 600 gallons of diesel, the clock and the calendar have little use. But through some combination of luck and begging, the boat’s coming in tomorrow to resupply – just long enough for me to jump on. I guess releasing a pair of marlin this week makes it easier to leave the fishing grounds for a while. So if you see us out there, or hanging somewhere on the hook, shout howdy!

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