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Tuesday, December 02, 2014
Two-fish weigh-in for 2015
Friday, April 20, 2018
2018 Catalina WSB Tourney is back!

White sea bass showing at both ends of Catalina
White seabass at Catalina’s west and east ends.


It’s game on, two weeks before the islands-only tourney, May 16-17 at Two Harbors, Catalina


With a two-fish weigh-in new this year, the islands-only WON/Yamaha Catalina White Seabass Championship will be an interesting tourney over the weekend of May 16-17. It looked like it was going to be a yellowtail dominated event. That was until last week when squid was made by private boats and used at the west and east ends (before the nasty weather) the island gave up easy  one-fish per angler daily limits of while seabass in the traditional shallow areas.

Without question, this is a different year for white seabass. Squid is not on the coast in any large amounts so far, and there has not, and likely will not be that coastal tanker frenzy. The islands will be the dominate white seabass spots because of the squid.

Last week was the first decent catch of school-size seabass at Catalina. There have been some bigger fish. Six pack sportfisher Options has taken at least two in recent weeks over 30 pounds. The east and west end schoolie WSB bites on the candy bait are indicating that when fish are targeted in good conditions, they are showing. The issue lately is lack of pressure and lack of squid. Best news of all: squid is now floating for PBers and light boats, at least at the east end based on reports we are getting. The WSB bite at the west end is legit too, and that indicates the WSB population is spread out at the usual spots. All that was needed was some pressure on them, and the squid. 

With the epic yellowtail bite, and now the white seabass showing with a feew 30 pounders taken, there will be some interesting theories on how to win the annual event. Will it be two yellows, a big seabass and a yellow, or perhaps a couple of 30-pound halibut? The bigger white seabass are the best way to win, but the top 5 teams will likely do some mixing of species to claim those money spots at the of the board. While the overall five spots are determined by two fish, the optionals will be won by the  SINGLE biggest fish by the teams.

As a side note, Global fish mounts will be awarding TWO mounts. One mount is coming to Catalina and goes to the team with the biggest white sea bass. Then a certificate is being awarded to the team for the biggest overall fish. Of course, that team will get $1,000 from Yamaha, plus any other money a team might get in the optionals (if they enter them) and for possibly finishing 1st through 5th in there two-fish weigh-in

The event costs $100 to enter as the early bird May 1 deadline for $75 entries has passed. You can enter for $100 a person online at by credit card  but NOT for  optionals. Now, the optionals can be paid only by bank or personal check or cash onsite at check-in on Saturday morning.  Remember: For the first year ever, those with a Yamaha-powered boat get a free entry, now worth $100 for an individual. So, a three-man “Yamaha” team would pay $200 at check-in.

If there is a question of adding people, whatever, just bring cash to check-in and we’ll settle it all, enter the people and figure out the nine optionals. No credit cards at Catalina, just cash. No reliable internet. See the schedule for the check-in and weigh-in times.

Okay, here’s the fun part! There are some great ways to win besides having the biggest two-fish and placing 1st through fifth. There are the NINE optionals ($100, $300 and $300 for all three species) for some serious bucks. And, when you get there at check-in, you get a Yamaha visor, San Pedro Bait gift discount coupons, Big Hammer swimbaits, a bunch of Gamakatsu hooks, a Sport Chalet gift card for $5, Hi-Seas fluoro, and a very cool PIER event T-shirt, They just came in and they are the best shirts of any event we have ever had. The white seabass rendering looks like the real thing.

There is Cousins/Avet/Costa casting contest on the beach during check-in, then a short meeting with four quick big-item drawings, then we all board boats for the flare gun start at both sides of the isthmus. Once teams ht the road at 11:15, teams are free to fish anywhere but the coast. Note: Teams can leave their boats at any time. Go get dinner, snooze in a hotel room, camp on the beach, go to a “mother ship.”

After weigh-in on Sunday slated from 10 to noon, there will be a BBQ and a TON of drawings and the cash giveaway. Don’t miss it. Not many teams returned last year and that meant most people won reels, rods, Foodsavers, Options trips, Plano tackle boxes, rods, reels and more. And, and there is the retail drawing for a Furuno fish unit, one of two given away at the BBQ, and , the $1,000 Yamaha Big Fish Giveaway.

Call Pat McDonell, the tourney director at (949) 366-0256 at WON, or  e-mail me at To sign up online with a credit card for $100 a person, go to (WON events). Or,just show up with cash at check-in at Two Harbors for the entry and options. Cash always works.

The prizes are in, the fantastic PIER WSB event shirts are in, as are the Yamaha visors, Gamakatsu hooks, TWO Furuno GPA/fish finder units, the Sport Chalet gift cards, a monster number of Plano tackle boxes. 12 Avet reels, six Costa sunglasses, six Cousins rods, Promar nets, Grundens outwear $300 value certificates, several Terrafin gift certificates, High-Seas fluoro coils at check-in, plus your tickets for the barbecue. It’s all ready. As for the white seabass? They are here, and more are coming. The yellowtail are big and biting, so there will be plenty of action at Catalina.



To see the online 16-page flip-page preview to t he event (cover above) click on this link. Enjoy!

PREVIEW: Two-fish weigh-in new this year, with more time to fish, great prizes, paydowns to fifth, nine optionals and a great venue at Two Harbors in the all-islands format where yellowtail and halibut will figure in strongly in the weigh-ins



TWO HARBORS, Catalina Island — The annual WON/Yamaha Catalina White Seabass Tournament at Two Harbors is slated for May 16-17 and there are no changes in schedule from last year when we had an earlier check-in and release, a flare gun start on both sides of the Isthmus and an all-islands format. More time to fish was appreciated, and the earlier release for teams after the short meeting was more relaxed and the flare gun start was exciting to be in and see from the start boat.

 WSB, halibut and yellows are all eligible species in the two-fish weigh-in for the overall, paying down to fifth place. Again, you can weigh in TWO fish — any of the three eligible species of WSB, yellowtail and halibut. The nine optionals, $100, $200 and $300 for all three species for a total of 9 payouts) remains a one-fish weigh-in, with the usual 90 percent payback. There was more than $15,000 in those nine optional pots last year.

The flare gun start: Will again be an exciting start to the fishing!

What has also been added for 2015 along with the 2-fish weigh-in is the Yamaha $1,000 Big Fish Payout. You may not win the tourney with your big fish, but it will win the optional money (if you are entered there) and you’ll get that $1,000, and a beautiful Cousins rod, one of six to be given away that weekend.

And, there is a special early bird sign-up reduced fee. Any anglers who sign up by May 1 pay only $75. After May 1, the regular $100 per angler fee kicks in. The outboard must be the main engine(s) and be fished in the tourney.

The two-fish weigh-in has been well-received, as It makes the tourney more of a skill game.

Last year, Team 17 on the Freeloader III, with buddies Jim Jameson and Nate Chisholm taking a 36.5-pound WSB (and 19.6-pound yellowtail for their optional), claimed the title and top money/prizes of $7,740. Six teams out of 38 participating shared over $20,000 and then there was the $15,000 in drawing prizes.

Speaking of changes, last tear we instituted a few of them to benefit anglers. Until last year, check-in Saturday was three-hours later, the captains meeting was longer with lunch, and teams could leave as soon as they got to their boats. It was a mess at the dock and a scramble.

So, last year check-in was two hours earlier, there was a half-hour meeting, a few drawings, and a “shotgun” start on both sides of the island by 11:15. The teams appreciated the extra time and the exciting start, one that that was more fair and less of a frustrating scramble to the boats.

This year the prize packages and gifts will be considerable. When teams arrive at Two Harbors they will be given events shirts from Pier Institute (The art on the white sea bass is pretty amazing, the best we've ever seen) and sponsor hats, a spool of fluorocarbon, Gamakatsu hooks, a team number, a set of Big Hammer plastics and a drawing tickets for a ton of items, ranging from Cousins rods, Avet (10) reels, Plano tackle boxes, two Options Sportfishing trips, six pairs of Costa sunglasses and more. Much more.

Two Furuno combo units will be given away, one in the final drawing, the other in a Furuno Retail Drawing among those who bring receipts from WON supporting retailers. See the list in the related story. Also, there is also the annual Avet/Cousins Casting Contest during check-in. The winner at 10 a.m. before the quick Captains’ Meeting before the teams head off will receive a Cousins rod and Avet reel.

When the dust settles the next day and the weigh-ins are conducted and results tabulated before the BBQ awards ceremony, there will be some serious money doled out. The payouts are first place through fifth, starting with $5,000 for first, and then $1,500, $500, $300 and $200 for a total $7,500 payout, based on 225 anglers which is what usually attract if the weather and fishing at the islands is decent.

Again, unless Catalina slips into the sea, we will not postpone, move or cancel the event. So don’t call us if the weather kicks up. Catalina is a sort of marine weather eddy anyway, and projected weather patterns for the SoCal Bight and outer islands are often no applicable. Plus, there is the lee side of the island.

Anyway, there’s some serious money up for grabs with the overall money, $7,500, and $15,000 to $20,000i n the optionals. Then there are the drawings both days (most on Sunday at the awards
BBQ, the Avet/Cousins Casting Contest Saturday morning, and the barbecue on Sunday.

An abbreviated version of the entry form is above. Mail it or fax it. Information is below.

To download a full size entry form CLICK HERE.

2015 White Seabass Championship Schedule


Check-in 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m,:Teams receive wristbands, welcome bags with product, drawing tickets, team numbers at two Harbors Avet/Costa/Cousins Casting Contest 7 a.m, to 10. Finals begin at 9:45. No exceptions, so cast early.

Captains meeting: Rules and four high-end drawings starts at 10 a.m, Teams. Coffee and bagels will be available. After half-hour meeting 10-10:30 a.m., teams are released for start area at 10:30. Important:

Flare Gun Start: At 10:30, all teams head to outside the marina areas to official start boats with teams holding up those numbers as they go by the official start boat to check in. Do Not fish yet: Theflare gun start is willbe between 11and 11:30 a.m.To weigh in fish, you must check in at start boat by showing that number.

Boundaries: Note: only islands are open to fishing. The coast is off limits.


Weigh-in: 10 to noon. Two fish (any combination of WSB, YT or Halibut) can be weighed in for aggregate weigh for overall standings. Biggest single fish in the optionals.

Awards:BBQ begins at noon or at beach after weigh-in.Awards starts at 1 p.m, or as soon as we tabulate results.

Note: 90 percent of the drawings will be conducted on Sunday.


How to sign up, deadlines, contacts

It’s the same as any year. There are three ways, but be aware of the free Yamaha entry deal, and the May 1 early bird deadline, and the  May 17 deadline for personal checks, and this important part: No optionals can be paid by credit card at any time, only team entry.

1)Online at under the WON Events tab on the home page. Click, scroll down to the WSB area. You cannot sign up for optionals by credit card. Just your entry. If you sign up by May 1, it’s $75 a person. $100 after that. If you have a Yamaha powered boat in the event, cut your entry fee by one person’s fee, $75 or $100. If you enter by credit card online at, you must fill out and fax your team entry info, attention  Pat McDonell, at (949) 366-0804.

2)2) Enter by mail. With a personal check or bank check. Fill out the form, and mail it. The address is on the entry form. Make checks out to Western Outdoors. With a personal or certified bank check, you CAN add optionals and pay us with that check. (Personal checks are no longer accepted after April 17). Add up your team members at $75 or $100 each, add your optional amounts and put that total on the check.

3)Pay at Two Harbors at Catalina at check-in. $100 a person, optionals by cash only. No credit cards. Again, there is One free individual entry for the team if you are fishing on a Yamaha powered boat.

For information: email   Pat McDonell at or call him at (949) 366-0256.  


One angler on a Yamaha-powered boat competing in the event gets a free entry, a $75 or $100 discount for being a Yamaha customer

The Western Outdoor News annual Catalina White Seabass Championship is title sponsored by Yamaha, and in addition to providing $3,000 toward the first place prize, and $1,000 for the BIG FISH PRIZE for the biggest overall white seabass, halibut or yellowtail, they are also kicking in a free entry to any owner of a Yamaha powered boat entered in the tourney.


This offer does not include, a kicker engine, but must be the main engines.So what the means is that a two-man team can compete for as little at $75 if they are fishing in a Yamaha powered boat and they sign up early.


Drawings, special awards, casting contest, early bird discount, optional payouts, $1,000 big fish award from Yamaha, overall paydowns to fifth place and more at the new venue

TWO HARBORS -- The ways to win at the WON/YamahaWhite Seabass Championship Catalina kick in the first time you arrive for check-in at Two Harbors on Saturday, May 16 at 7 a.m. and it just keeps getting better the longer the event goes on.

There’s more ways to win money an prizes than every before, a better early bird deal on signing up, a free entry for a Yamaha powered team, a better venue, a better schedule, more freedom to fish the areas you want and some great drawing prizes.

The event boasts an all-islands, all-coast format, with way more fishing time for inshore teams or those heading to islands, an earlier check-in, an exciting flare gun start, a $1,000 Yamaha drawing for the single biggest fish, and paydowns to fifth place plus nine optionals of $100, $200 and $300 for WSB, yellowtail and halibut with a 90 percent payback. Plus there’s prizes, plus a BBQ lunch, an early bird discount on the entry and a tackle shop dealer incentive drawing for a $1,000 Furuno combo unit.

The payouts for top teams participating in the optionals and overall are often $15,000 to $25,000. It could be much higher this year.

So, here’s the ways to win!

-Be the champ! Overall paydowns from first place to fifth for biggest. Two-fish aggregate with WSB, yellowtail or halibut eligible.

-The champions will do some serious damage. They will, walk away with first place money, approximately $5,000. That amount is based on 225 anglers participating.

-Nine optionals, all three eligible species of yellowtail, WSB and halibut, $100, $200 and $300 with a 90 percent payback. Single fish.

-$1,000 Yamaha outboards Big Fish award:Single biggest fish earns a grand. And Cousins is kicking in a beautiful WSB-action rod.

Grand Prize Drawing: In addition to regular drawings for Avet reels,Costa Sunglasses, Promar nets, Cousins rods and much more, there is the fantastic drawing for Furuno's new Chart Plotter/Fish Finder GP1670 F unit worth $1,000. Just bring us a receipt for $25 or more in purchases during the months of April and May before the event from participating tackle shops in SoCal, and you’re are in a drawing for the Furuno unit. The receipt with your name on it is your drawing ticket.

Another unit from Furuno will be the grand prize drawing prize among all anglers!

-- PIER Institute is a sponsor of the tourney once again, and will offering not only free event t-shirts, but a $5,000 award to the first tourney team during the event that brings in a fish that has one of their electronic tags.

- Avet/Cousins Casting Contest. The champ wins the rod/reel combo with about $700 retail. 7 to 9:45 Saturday on the beach. You must cast by 9:45 to be eligible.

Hubbs-Sea World, PIER Institute again support WSB fishery and tournament

Help the two programs collect more scientific data from wire and electronic tags while fishing in the tourney

Hubbs-Sea World and PIER Institute, leaders in the scientific community in research on the white seabass, will be again sponsors of the Catalina event.

PIER Institute (see their informational ad in this supplement) is providing the event t-shirts to the first 130 anglers to sign up and will pay $5,000 as a reward to the first electronic tag to be turned in at the tourney. So look for them. They are surgically implanted buy are visible.

Hubbs-Sea World will again be at the Pier at Two Harbors, scanning fish brought to the pier by teams. They are looking for the binary wire tags in the gill plate area before being sent to the dozen grow-out facilities.

Also, if teams do not have theior fish heads scanned, they drop off the heads at a number of coastal businesses and they will be checked for the wire tags. This information is critical to the white sea bass hatchery program.


History of the white seabass hatchery and growout system: The OREHP began in 1982 with legislation (Assembly Bill 1414) authored by California Assemblyman Larry Stirling. Initially, research was focused on California halibut and white seabass; however, research eventually focused exclusively on white seabass because of the depressed condition of the stock and its higher value to both the recreational and commercial fisheries.

The OREHP is funded through the sale of ocean enhancement stamps on CDFW sport and commercial fishing licenses. The stamps are required for all saltwater anglers fishing south of Point Arguello, California (Santa Barbara County). Additional funding comes from the Federal Sportfish Restoration Act (SFRA).

It is managed by CDFW with the assistance of an advisory panel consisting of academic and management agency scientists, representatives of both commercial and recreational fishing groups, and the aquaculture industry. Members of the panel provide policy direction, review research proposals, and recommend allocation of funds for OREP.


-Teams are made up of two or more anglers. No Limit.

-Fishable areas are all islands. The coast is off-limits

-Biggest aggregate weight of 2 fish wins in overall, 1st through 5th place, and biggest single fish counts in each of the 9 optional jackpots. Overall (1st to 5th) eligible fish are white seabass, halibut and yellowtail.

-Single biggest fish among all three species in the tourney wins $1,000 Yamaha Big Fish Contest.

-Bring only two fish to the scale on the beach unless you are in the optionals.

-Fish are weighed only once.

-Weigh-in is from 10 to noon or until all waiting teams have been logged in at the scale.

-Checks will be issued by WON accounting a week to two weeks after the event, the amount for each angler determined by percentages agreed to on those forms at the awards ceremony

-Entries are $100 per angler. $75 before May 2. All signups, additions and optionals must be paid in cash at Catalina. All anglers on all boats MUST be registered and be paid up as a team member -- including charter captains and crew. No exceptions.

-All decisions by the tournament director are final, and he has the right to refuse any signups, and the right to disqualify any team for verbal or physical abuse of staff, or breaking the rules.

-All teams must check in, and show their number to the staff start boat before the 11 a.m. to 11:15 flare gun starts on both harbors (Cat and the Isthmus (Two Harbors).

-No team may have a white seabass aboard their boats unless its fins are clipped.

-All teams who win money are subject to a possible lie detector test after the event, and all monies will be withheld from any affected teams until the results of the test are known.

-All team must sign a waiver, and must be aware that the dangers of fishing in boats are inherent, and that all decisions concerning safety are personal choices. It is up to all teams to adhere to all safety regulations, and to make proper personal choices

-Teams can bring fish to the scale on the beach from 10 to noon Sunday from either harbor. The tournament is not responsible for providing shuttle service at Cat Harbor.

-Teams are responsible for knowing the schedule and all rules.

This "long version" of the entry form can be found in Western Outdoor News or by going to the home page of this website and clicking on the WON Events tab, and then going to the tourney site. Remember, May 1  was the Early Bird Deadline for the $75 fee, and if you fish with a Yamaha-powered boat, you get one free entry.  Note that on the entry form, that you are on a Yamaha boat.

Director, Pat McDonell

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