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WON Big Fish Update
WON Big Fish Challenge Week 9

Final round underway! 


theleadinghalibut
THE LEADING HALIBUT in the WON Big Fish Challenge was caught way back in Week 2!


BY MIKE STEVENS

WON Staff Writer


SAN CLEMENTE — You all really let me down in Week 9. Zero fish of any species weighed in in the second-to-last week of the Big Fish Challenge. What was it? Back to school? Didn’t bother because your fish wouldn’t compete for the overall lead in any of the SIX species categories?


Did you forget about the weekly prize packages that go out for the top fish in each species for the week? Look at it this way, that rat yellowtail, barely-legal barracuda or white seabass, football yellowfin, 2-pound ling or 22-and-a-half inch halibut would have scored you a weekly prize if you would have weighed them in!


Anyway, the final week is now underway and it will all wrap up on Friday, Sept. 6. The leader of each species category at that point will be invited to Western Outdoor News headquarters, hopefully with a truck, to pick up his/her incredible grand prize package and tell us how much they love they event. They always do.


A quick overview of the grand prizes that will be awarded to the six winners — which at this point would include a repeat winner from last year —reveals the following scores: $500 cash from Mercury Out­boards, an Avet reel, Costa sunglasses, a Global Fish Mount of each winning fish, a Lowrance Hook2 unit, Plano tackle bag, an assortment of Rapala lures, HI-SEAS mono and fluoro, a Yo-Zuri lure package, Izorline mono, Gamakatsu hooks, a pair of Fred Hall Show passes, a subscription to 976Bite.com and Terrafin, an overnight trip, Engel hard and soft coolers, Fishworks clothing and gift certificate, an event-branded artist print from Studio Abachar, Kill Fish bamboo gaff, prize pack from Hogan’s Bait and Tackle, $500 gift certificate for Quality Performance Marine and Winn Grips overwraps and grip sleeves.


All for a maximum entry investment of 40 bucks (for all species, otherwise, $10 per species) which covers you for all 10 weeks, when you’re going fishing anyway. It’s the fishing no brainers of all no brainers.


To see how it works and check out the prize lists, visit WONBigFish.com, and be ready to join this incredibly popular event next summer!




WON Big Fish Challenge Update


New lingcod leader after week 8


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THE NEW LINGCOD leader is Ron Folgner who was fishing aboard his own boat, Hot Rail, when he connected with this 18.28 pounder. Folgner is in the driver’s seat in that species category with less than two weeks to go, and he was a grand prize winner last year’s Big Fish Challenge.


 

BY MIKE STEVENS

WON Staff Writer


SAN CLEMENTE — Didn’t everyone assume Week 8 would be the “the week of the lingcod?” With late-summer surface fishing making all the headlines, a couple big lingies dominated the second-to-last week of the 3rd Annual WON Big Fish Challenge.


WON Charter regular Wade Wells leapt into the top spot in the lingcod species category with a 10 pounder he caught aboard the Stardust out of Sea Landing. His spot atop the totem pole didn’t last for long, as former Grand-Prize winner Ron Folgner popped an 18.28-pound ling-o-saur aboard his own boat, Hot Rail. He was using a mackerel on a dropper loop along the Santa Barbara coast, and he weighed his fish in at Hook Line and Sinker.


Another solid fish hitting an official scale in Week 9 was the 23-pound halibut caught by a BFC participant who fished a private boat off Marina del Rey. Well short of the 42-pound leader in the halibut category that was caught back in Week 2, but he’ll score a nice weekly prize package for the biggest fish in a category for the week.


We are in the home stretch of this popular 10-week summer event, but if you are fishing the salt any time in the next weekend and want to get in and attempt a Hail Mary at the buzzer (it’s happened in previous Big Fish Challenge events), you can get in there for only a few bucks.


To register, check the leaderboard, read rules and the prize lists and submit a catch (once you’ve entered), visit WONBigFish.com.




WON Big Fish Challenge Update

Overall leaders rest easy after Week 7


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THIS 24.10-POUND YELLOW caught by Alex Plambeck was not enough to bump off the leader in that species category, but he will score a weekly prize package for that fish. Just two weeks left!


BY MIKE STEVENS

WON Staff Writer


SAN CLEMENTE — In a bit of a shock, no anglers participating in the 3rd Annual WON Big Fish Challenge bumped any of the overall leaders atop any of the six species categories in Week 7. Maybe everyone is trying to get on dorado while the gettin’s good? Regardless, the overall leaders certainly didn’t mind not sweating it out for a few days, but Week 8 is currently underway, and they might not be safe for long.


The biggest fish registered for Week 7 was a 24.10-pound yellow­tail ripped from a San Clemente Island kelp paddy by private boater Alex Plambeck. Not enough to unseat the 35.4-pound leader, but good enough for a nice weekly prize package. Plambeck weighed in his fish at the Dana Point Fuel Dock.


Another private boater, Mike Bardin turned in a 17.25-pound forkie at Ken’s Custom Reel in Oceanside. He caught that one on a paddy of his own off North San Diego County, and he fooled the fish with a sardine fly-lined on 30-pound P-Line.


We are in the home stretch of this popular 10-week summer event, but if you are fishing the salt any time in the next two weeks and want to get in and attempt a Hail Mary at the buzzer (it’s happened in previous Big Fish Challenge events), you can get in there for only a few bucks.


To register, check the leaderboard, read rules and the prize lists and submit a catch (once you’ve entered), visit WONBigFish.com.




WON Big Fish Challenge Week 6


Long-standing bonito/barracuda leader bumped off


thenewleader
THE NEW LEADER in the bonito/barracuda species category is Bennett Salvay who used a Yo-Zuri plug to troll up this offshore bonito. The previous leader of the category had stood at the top of the list since Week 1.


BY MIKE STEVENS

WON Staff Writer


SAN CLEMENTE — Another week, another new overall leader in a species category as Week 6 of the WON Big Fish Challenge is in the books. Anglers are already battling in Week 7, and there is still time to register and take part in the last few weeks of this popular “every man” fishing event.


There was only one new overall leader this week, but it’s a significant one since the same angler has held the top spot since Week 1. Skyler Fabozzi’s 7.94-pound barracuda was entered in the first week of the 2018 Challenge, and it was recently bumped off by the 8.2-pound bonito weighed in at CISCO’s by Bennett Salvay. He has been very active in this third installment of the Big Fish Challenge, and he caught this bonehead while trolling Yo-Zuri plug offshore from his boat, Profishent. The bonito/barracuda species category is a new slot added for this summer’s 10-week event.


Other notable submissions in Week 6 include a 26-pound halibut landed by BFC-veteran Scott Sawa who took home a grand prize in the inaugural event. He caught this flatty in Santa Monica Bay and weighed it in at 22nd Street Landing in San Pedro, and he will receive a weekly prize pack for catching the biggest fish in a species category.


A 13.6-pound yellowtail caught by angler “Gary” aka “TeamFunHunt3” didn’t have a chance to reach the top of the yellowtail totem pole, but as the big yellow for the week, he will get a prize pack as well. He also stuck a 23.4-pound halibut that was second only to Sawa’s big flattie.


Anglers can enter the WON Big Fish Challenge at any time during the event. Of course, the earlier the better as it gives you more time. To register, check the leaderboard, read rules and the prize lists and submit a catch (once you’ve entered), visit WONBigFish.com. Signing up is easy, inexpensive, and a no brainer if you are fishing salt­-water anyway!





WON Big Fish Challenge Week 5

New seabass and lingcod leaders at event’s halfway point


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THE NEW WHITE SEABASS leader is Corey Scott who weighed in this 48.1-pound fish in Week 5. There is also a new lingcod leader. Visit WONBigFish.com for leaderboards, prize lists, rules and registration.


BY MIKE STEVENS

WON Staff Writer


SAN CLEMENTE — It seems like each installment of the annual 10-week WON Big Fish Challenge has its own characteristic separating it from the others. We’ve just closed the book on the Week 5 midway point of the 2018 Challenge, and it feels like its specific attribute is a new overall leader (or multiple) almost every week.


The lingcod top spot was destined to go down after a new leader showed up at the end of Week 4 with a measly 4 pounder weighed in by BFC veteran, Scott Sawa. The new ling-o-saur high-water mark was set in Week 5 when Jim Williams crushed the Sawa fish with the 18-pound model he stuck at Catalina on a live mackerel. He weighed in his fish at 22nd Street Landing. Week 5 was tabbed as the lingcod week in terms of which angler scored an Avet reel to go along with a weekly prize package for his catch, so Williams’ catch was well tied.


The white-seabass overall leader has been bumped off in each of the last three weeks. In Week 5, Corey “Seabass Man” Scott was fishing aboard the Stardust out of Sea Landing at the Channel Islands when he knuckled down on a 48.1-pound tanker, beating the previous leader which was a respectable 45.9-pound ghost.


Another notable fish hitting one of the many official Big Fish Challenge weigh stations was a 134-pound bluefin tuna weighed in by Alex Plambeck at Dana Landing. His fish fell well short of the 182.2-pound leader in the tuna category, but he’ll receive a nice weekly prize package for his efforts.


Anglers can enter the WON Big Fish Challenge at any time during the event. Of course, the earlier the better as it gives you more time. To register, check the leaderboard, read the rules and the prize lists and submit a catch (once you’ve entered), visit WONBigFish.com. Signing up is easy, inexpensive, and a no brainer if you are fishing salt­-water this summer anyway!




Big Fish Challenge Week 4:


Three new overall leaders set eyes on grand prizes


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THE NEW LEADER IN THE TUNA category is Charles Cone with this 182.2 pounder he caught in Week 4. Grand prizes go to the top fish in six categories after the 10-week event, half of which is still in front of us. See rules, prize lists and registration info at WONBigFish.com.


BY MIKE STEVENS

WON Staff Writer


SAN CLEMENTE — The fourth week of the 10-week WON Big Fish Challenge is in the books, and that round featured a new leader in half of the six species categories.


Charles Cone’s kite-caught 182.2-pound bluefin blew away the previous leader and put Cone in the driver’s seat for the grand-prize package in that category with five weeks to go in the Challenge. He caught the fish on the private boat, Afishionado and registered it at Dana Point Fuel Dock.


A winner in the inaugural Big Fish Challenge two years ago, Scott Sawa took the lead last week with a 5-pound lingcod caught off his kayak on a live mackerel in Santa Monica Bay before weighing in the fish at 22nd Street Landing in San Pedro. A decent fish, but it’s safe to say a bigger one is going to be caught sooner than later.


In the competitive white seabass category, a 45.90-pound tanker eclipsed the existing leader by less than a pound and moved angler Tyler Grossi to the top spot. That was a dropper-loop fish caught in the Santa Barbara Channel.


Bennett Salvay holds the top spot in the yellowtail category with a 35.4, and he turned in a 29.6 in Week 4 which was the biggest forkie that round, so he’ll be sent a weekly prize package for that. Those prizes go to the biggest of each species, each week.


The leader in the Bonito/Barracuda species category has stood since Week 1 of the Challenge, and that’s a 7.94-pound barrie caught by Skyler Fabozzi. A respectable but beatable specimen, but if anybody might be running away with this thing early, it could be kayak angler Jorge Villegas who set the high-halibut mark with a 43-pound flattie he caught back in Week 2.


We have now reached the half-way point of the WON Big Fish Challenge with sportboat guys, kayak anglers and private boaters shooting it out in Week 5 right now. Over the first two years of the event, the overall leaders changes hands plenty of times.


Anglers can enter the WON Big Fish Challenge at any time during the event. Of course, the earlier the better as it gives you more time. To register, check the leaderboard, read rules and the prize lists and submit a catch (once you’ve entered), visit WONBigFish.com. Signing up is easy, inexpensive, and a no brainer if you are fishing salt­water this summer anyway!




WON Big Fish Challenge


Week 3 update


newyellowtailleaderwk3
THE NEW YELLOWTAIL leader in the WON Big Fish Challenge is this 35.4 pounder caught by Bennett Salvay at the Channel Islands.


SAN CLEMENTE — Week 3 of the Big Fish Challenge is in the books, and it featured a couple new overall leaders and a fish that missed the top spot by a half pound. The white seabass category has been the one to watch, with the leader changing several times per week thus far. Anglers are already out there shooting it out in Week 4.


Corey Scott became the new overall leader in the white seabass category with a 45.3-pound tanker he caught off the Santa Barbara coast off the private boat, Purist. That has been a hotly-contested species category where WON readers have seen the top spot occupied by a 19 pounder, then a 28.5 in the first couple weeks of the Challenge. That being said, and given the fact that we are in the midst of Week 4 as you read this, it looks like there is already a new white seabass leader coming up.


Now that’s just the word and it’s not official yet, but, for what it’s worth, he and all the anglers registering the top fish in each species will be getting a nice weekly prize package, and that is the case for the duration of the 10-week event.


The yellowtail category also has a new leader. Bennett Salvay stuck a 35.4-pound mossback that bumped off the 32 pounder weighed in by kayak angler Chris Blevins in Week 2. Salvay was fishing the outer Channel Islands with a live squid aboard Profishent and he weighed the fish in at CISCOS. He will also score an Avet reel with the biggest yellow caught in Week 3. In Week 4, the Avet will go to the top fish in a different category.


Also aboard Profishent in Week 3 was Daniel Salvay who weighed in a 42.4-pound halibut that fell just over a half-pound short of the 43 pounder caught by Big Fish Challenge regular Jorge Villegas in Week 3. A heartbreaking scenario, but Salvay will score that weekly prize, and it looks like he spends plenty of time on the water and can do a lot of damage with more than half of the event still ahead of him. A kayak angler, Villegas sat atop two species categories when the dust settled on the inaugural Big Fish Challenge earning him a pair of grand prize packages.


A reminder, anglers can enter the WON Big Fish Challenge at any time during the event. Of course, the earlier the better as it gives you more time. To register, check the leaderboard, read rules and the prize lists and submit fish (once you’ve entered), visit WONBigFish.com. Signing up is easy, inexpensive, and a no brainer if you are fishing saltwater this summer anyway!




WON Big Fish Challenge Week 2


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BACK AT THE TOP — Jorge Villegas, winner of the 2016 white seabass and halibut categories, has staked a strong claim towards repeating his halibut win with this beautiful 43 pounder.


BY PAUL LEBOWITZ

WON Staff Writer


SAN CLEMENTE — A familiar face has vaulted to the top of the halibut leaderboard as the race for the top spot in six species categories enters its third week.

Before we get to that, there’s still plenty of contest left. The WON Big Fish Challenge runs through September 6. It’s only $10 per species to enter, or $40 for all six categories. The prize packs are worth more than $5,000. There’s one for each species category. They have to be seen to be believed. Sign up! You’re going fishing anyway.


Back to that familiar face and a recap of the week 2 action that spanned July 6 to July 12. Kayak angler Jorge Villegas, winner of the halibut and white seabass categories in 2016, weighed a hefty 43-pound halibut at 22 nd Street Landing. It was caught in Santa Monica Bay using a live mackerel. Villegas is back in a familiar place, leading the category.


The largest yellowtail of week 2 was another nice fish, a 32-pound yellowtail caught by kayak angler Chris Blevins at La Jolla using a live mackerel, taking a huge lead.


Ed Uchio topped the bonito / barracuda division for week 2 with a 7.6-pound skinny caught at the Horseshoe while trolling a live sardine. Skyler Fabozzi still leads the overall the contest with a 7.94-pound barracuda.


It didn’t take much of a lingcod to win the week. Ulisses Figueroa weighed in a 4 pounder caught on a dropper looped live sardine. It is the category leader in the clubhouse, but could be surpassed any time.


Bennett Salvay caught the heaviest white seabass of week 2, a 19.2 pounder landed at the outer islands using live squid on a sliding sinker rig. It leads the overall contest.


No tuna were weighed in for week 2, meaning week one’s 23 pounder is still in the lead.


For more information including prize lists, leaderboards, rules and registration, visit WONBigFish.com.




WON Big Fish Challenge Week 1


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THE WON BIG FISH CHALLENGE is underway with nine weeks to go. Skyler Fabozzi is a participant, and he weighed in this 11.4-pound white seabass at Hook, Line and Sinker in Santa Barbara to take the early lead in that species category. Sportboat, kayak and private boat anglers can sign up for the Challenge at any time during the 10-week event, but getting in early increases your odds. Visit WONBigFish.com for more information and to sign up.


BY MIKE STEVENS

WON Staff Writer


SAN CLEMENTE — The 3rd annual WON Big Fish Challenge is off and running, and opening week had official entries in the tuna, yellowtail, halibut and in the new bonito/barracuda category, but they were all weights that will likely be beaten over the next two months of the Challenge.


Still, anglers only need to submit the largest fish of each of the six species in each week to score a nice weekly prize, and it usually doesn’t take a monster to do exactly that!


Currently, the weekly prize boxes include a tournament t-shirt from Fishworks, Hi-SEAS fluorocarbon leader wheels, Gamakatsu hooks, Big Hammer swimbaits and the very popular Winn Grips rod wraps.


It being the first week, the leaderboard was populated with multiple catches, including a pair from Skyler Fabozzi, who now leads in the white seabass category (11.4 pounds) as well as in the bonito/barracuda (7.94 pound ’cuda). A very beatable 6.5-pound yellowtail caught by Kaden Caliendo aboard Aqua Pazza took the weekly prize for that species, but you can bet on a new yellowtail leader as early as Week 2.


When the dust settles after Week 10, the angler that caught the biggest fish in each species category will receive an incredible grand prize package. Competitors can fish from sportboats, kayaks, private boats, pretty much anything. You can enter the Big Fish Challenge at any time, but you have the best shot at winning by getting in early. Entry is simple and inexpensive: $10 per species or $40 gets you “all in” for every category, then you just fish when you want.


You’re fishing anyway, so, signing up and taking a shot at great prizes is a no brainer!


For more information including prize lists, leaderboards, rules and registration, visit WONBigFish.com.


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