|Fishing was tough for the WON/Mercury Channel Islands Shootout. There's no way to sugar coat it: the incredible white seabass and halibut fishing is in a transition period at the Channel Islands. The squid is certainly around--all the boats were jigging daylight squid full speed--but the fishing took a bit of a powder.
There were only three white seabass caught by sportboat anglers, the big one being a fish a little over 20 pounds that gave Rick Magana the victory. It also made Captain Shawn Steward on the Aloha Spirit the winning skipper an incredible four out of five Shootouts. Always humble, Steward brushed off the whole "we should just give you the first place trophy now" comments from customers and colleges leading up to the event. He might be "only" 36 years old, but he is an incredible fisherman who can do it all.
Evan Salvay took down the new private boat division with a big SBI halibut, while lady angler Donna Doornbos was the winner of the grand raffle prize, the Mercury 150 h.p. four-stroke engine.
Look for pictures and more details and a sponsors round up in the next two issues of WON. In the meantime, here's a picture of Chris Soronio enjoying that sacred Santa Cruz Island backdrop from the deck of the Sea Biscuit. The seabass ended up giving him third place to go with a huge raffle prize pack. Soronio's classic quote after the awards ceremony: "I'm dreaming!"
And to think a $80 ticket gave him a full day of fishing, killer goodie bag with Yo-Zuri and Mustad products galore to go with a shot at the winning all the cash, prizes and engine up for grabs.