2011 A Very Strange Year For The Catalina White Seabass Tourney...From the Director Pat McDonell: "Results are below of this year's event, but in 2012 (May 19-20) we will go back to the Catalina format. At this point there will be no dual weigh-in as in 2011 when the event was postponed had to be moved and reformatted. It just didn't capture the interest of the skiff guys or the kayakers. Too much distrust between boaters and kayakers.
And, unfortunately, even with the tourney moved back three weeks, we were still two weeks early on the bite, and that hurt the participation as well. Just a heads up, I spoke with Phillip Winter, the Two Harbors Harbormaster and marketing director for the Isthmus, and our WON/Yamaha Catalina dates for 2012 have been set for the weekend of May 19. with signups again on Saturday, and teams will be released to fish the islands or coast until Sunday. There will be no dual weigh-in or check-in, and it will be skiffs only.
If we did a kayak event, it will be kayaks only on the coast. For the WSB event at Catalina net year, we will have the same format and schedule and options as we've had over the years that has proved to be successful. Many thanks for those who still came and played after weather forced the postponement.
This year's results....congrats to all the winner. It was a small, but very tough field. Only the best teams came out to play.
38.5-pound flattie grabs top
spot, another earns
$200 a pound in optional jackpot
BY PAUL LEBOWITZ
WON Staff Writer
DANA POINT — Much better late than never. Forced to fish a few weeks later than planned, the weather-delayed 2011 WON/Yamaha Catalina White Seabass Tournament offered the interesting wrinkle of dual check-in stations.
With popular event site Two Harbors no longer available to host tournament headquarters, Dana Point Embarcadero graciously stepped up. Meanwhile, WON staffed a satellite scale at Two Harbors, giving teams the ultimate in flexibility — fish the island or stay local. Both strategies were effective.
"We had enthusiastic, top-grade anglers, serious fishermen who ended up with great weather. We said we'd have the White Seabass Tournament and we did. We tried to adapt, to keep it safe. Those who competed won a lot of prizes and a lot of money," WON tournament director Pat McDonell said.
Alex McKeaver, Chad Smith (middle) and Jim Moran, above, of Long Beach
came out on top, bringing a Hail Mary 38.5-pound halibut to the scale for first
place. Like the rest of the 35-team field, McKeaver's crew coped with a
Catalina seabass bite that fizzled overnight. McKeaver and friends searched
high and low, stopping to sample at least 10 separate spots. As time ran low,
McKeaver flipped a coin - should they stay put or make one last move?
"Chad called it. We slid in [to the new spot] and
got bit. When we saw the brown, we knew we were in the money," a jubilant
McKeaver said. The fish ate a live squid fished on a dropper loop two feet off
The lucrative reward for sticking it out was a prize
package including four beautiful Reactor Gravitron 2 watches, Costa sunglasses
for each team member, a Lowrance HDS7 Fishfinder / GPS / Chartplotter, a $400
certificate from Global Fish Mounts, an engraved cigar humidor, and $2,000 in
Yamaha cash for a glittery total of $7,000. It could have been much more -
McKeaver's team passed up the optional halibut jackpots.
Greg Trompas, above, and Kyle Witkowski of San Diego scored a
36-pound La Jolla yellowtail for second place. On Saturday, Trompas worried
they'd miss the afternoon bite, the same one he'd written about recently in
WON. They just made it - a trolled greenback splashed in at 4:05. Eight minutes
later he was pulling hard on a fish that buried itself deep in the kelp before
finally coming free.
The team won $1,500 in Yamaha cash for second place and
made a clean sweep of the yellowtail optionals, cashing in to the tune of
Team Rambunctious, above, brought a 30-pound seabass, the
heaviest of the tournament, to the scale at Two Harbors. Matt Potter, Jeff
Tiffany, Raymond Victorino, Jim Jameson, Sean Victorino, Pierre Jaspard and
Scott Christensen earned $1,000 Yamaha cash for third place, and the $100,
$200, and $300 white seabass optionals for the impressive total of $6,940, one
of the highest cash totals in the history of the tournament. It can pay to
compete in the optionals.
Team Rickdiculous (above), Rick Windbigler and Jim Dragoo of
Oceanside, Steve Honn of Temecula and Richard Beswick of El Cajon, had only two
bites during the tournament. The 3 a.m. special yielded a 27-pound island
yellowtail off the backside. There was no escape from the Owner Hook. The fish
earned $600 in Yamaha cash for fourth place.
Team Two-Timer rounded out the podium with a 24.5-pound
white seabass good for fifth and $400 in Yamaha cash. Tim Husband, Cori
Husband, Robert Perra, and Jake De Angeles fished the island.
The halibut optionals were split three ways. Jason Brooks
and Ivan Resnikoff captured the $100 optional with a 12.6-pound halibut worth
$1,440. The $200 optional yielded $720 for the 10.3-pound flatfish weighed by
Justin Leeds and Matt Winkelman.
The winners of the $300 optional had to be
coaxed to come forward. The magnificent fish that pulled it off for the
ferocious Team Assassin was a lightweight 5.5 pounds, but worth a solid $1,080
for Marty Wakefield, Scott Cazel and Matt Anderson - almost $200 a pound!
"It was one of those should have been here yesterday
situations. We had full seabass limits up to 30 pounds on Friday. We don't know
where the fish went. That's white seabass," Anderson said.
Three kayakers took a shot at the big money. James Benham
of Vista was the only one to tally a keeper, a 24-pound seabass caught early in
the competition. He released it in search of a bigger unit, a valid strategy
given the 30 pounds it took to land the white seabass optional, sacrificing the
modest payback a kayak division win would have delivered.
The WON/Yamaha tournament field was treated to a
well-stocked raffle. There were
sponsor's prize bags stuffed with Owner Hooks, Big Hammer Swimbaits,
spools of Seaguar Flourocarbon and gift cards from Sport Chalet and West
Marine; as well as drawings for 10 Graftech rods; gift certificates from SoCal
Ocean Sports (a pair of $250 gift certificates toward their service
department), Liquid Coast Highway
(a pair of $125 gift certificates toward online tackle or six-pack charters).
There were also 11 Avet reels, a Promar bait hotel, four Hydro Glow fishing lights; a dozen
pairs of Costa sunglasses, four more Reactor watches; and Plano's new FTO Elite
tackle packs and waterproof box and Terrafin annual memberships, the new Berkley aluminum pliers and much more.
Anglers who checked in at Two Harbors won
many of those raffle prizes; WON will be in touch!
The Pfleger Institute of Environmental Research Catalina
Seabass Fund provided shirts, hats and the promise of big money. Pfleger's
White Seabass Archival Tagging Project offered a $5,000 bounty to any
tournament team that caught one of their specially tagged fish. The tags are
still out there, worth $200 each.
The Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute, as it does annually,
checked the seabass for hatchery tags, possibly finding one at Catalina that
Team Rambunctious brought in that was smaller than their third place 30
pounder. The fish head will be taken back to Hubbs for the final word.
Parties are part of the fun. At check-in on Saturday at Dana, Spiderwire sponsored a knot-tying contest. There were free chips and sodas to munch on before th caotains meeting, the drawings and boat check after teams were released. Also part of the check-in festivities was Costa, Graftech/Avet Casting Contest, and
Brian Pifer of Mission Viejo and the Shannon Rose team based at Dana showed off his skills,
earning an Avet reel, Graftech rod and a pair of Costa shades in a five-way "cast-off."
On Sunday before the awards, Taco Surf (six locations on the coast) served up delicious Mexican
food — the company's restaurants reward anglers who flash their fishing
licenses with a 15 percent discount. The Automobile Club of Southern California
was in attendance, and offered free gifts for insurance quotes.
Another highlight: A trip for two to Hotel Rancho Leonero
enticed anglers to pitch in for the UASC / Coastside / Bob Fletcher MLPA
lawsuit, raising some $500 for the Ocean Access Protection Fund. And another
$1,000 was kicked in by Big Fish Tackle in Seal Beach. Great job guys!
Rescheduling adversity overcome! Next year it's back to
the traditional format.
"We're looking forward to returning to beautiful Two
Harbors next year with a single weigh-in. Now it's on to Ensenada for the
Yamaha/WON Hotel Coral Saltwater Championship, July 22-23.”
PLACE in the overall
standings was taken by Team Two Timer with a 24.5-pound white seabass caught
with time running out on the tournament at about 9 a.m. on Sunday morning. The team found tough fishing on
Saturday night around the East End so they went hunting for good conditions up
the island on Sunday morning. They
found a spot that looked
"pretty good" so they set up and scored this fish. Cori Husband
(pictured) lost a larger fish to a seal in this location, too. Left to right,
Tim and Cori Husband, Jake De Angeles and Rob Perry. PHOTO BY BOB DESTREMPS