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WON Big Fish Challenge Update
WON Big Fish Challenge: Week 7


WON Staff Writer

SAN CLEMENTE — Almost every species represented in the WON Big Fish Challenge hit the scale at one of the many official weigh stations in Week 7, but only one can stand as a new category leader.

THE NEW LINGCOD leader in the WON Big Fish Challenge is this 11.25 pounder caught in Week 7 by Tim Buck.

Tim Buck’s 11.25-pound lingcod bumped off the 8 pounder that was holding the top spot, and with only a couple weeks left in the 10-week event, he’s in a pretty good spot to take home one of the six (one for each species category) grand prize packages. Buck was fishing aboard the Mighty Sammy at Catalina when the ling-o-saur hit a live mackerel fished on a dropper-loop. The fish was weighed in at Alamitos Fuel Dock in Long Beach.

Other notable fish weighed in include a 27.8-pound yellow caught by Valerie Hanzus, a 30.8-pound halibut by former BFC grand-prize winner, Gabe Caliendo and a 4.6-pound barracuda caught by Daniel Michel. While none of these fish bumped off a leader, they all scored a weekly prize package for being the biggest of each species weighed in. With Week 7 tabbed as the week the biggest of the bonito/barracuda category will win a Penn Fathom 2-speed reel, it’s going to be pretty sweet for Michel. Not bad for a four-and-a-half-pound barrie.

To jump aboard for the final stretch, see the rules, prize lists and updates, visit WONBigFish.com

WON Big Fish Challenge: Week 6


WON Staff Writer

SAN CLEMENTE — Week 6 of the annual WON Big Fish Challenge closed with only one of the six category leaders getting bumped off, but it was a biggie. Zack Scott was fishing aboard the Purist out of 22nd Street Landing when he hauled in a 59.64-pound white seabass off the Santa Barbara coast which now stands as the leader in the category.

THE NEW OVERALL LEADER in the white seabass category is Zack Scott, who weighed in this 59.64-pound white seabass. This one bumped the previous leader by 10 pounds, which had held the top spot since Week 1 of the WON Big Fish Challenge.

That tanker shot past the 49.6 pounder weighed in by former BFC grand-prize winner, Chip Cone, back in Week 1 of the event. There was serious chatter around the WON office suggesting that fish could end up leading wire-to-wire.

There were actually several nice seabass weighed in this week including a 43.6-pound ghost stuck by kayak angler, Bill Gehring. While a vanilla 10.8-pound yellowtail was also weighed in last week, it was the only forkie turned in by a BFC competitor so it was good enough for a weekly prize package. It’s a great example of why participants should always weigh in their catch, even if it won’t contend for a grand prize.

For the final weeks of the BFC (it started in Week 5), a 2-speed Penn Fathom reel will be awarded to the largest qualifying bonito in Week 7, white seabass in Week 8 and halibut and lingcod in Weeks 9 and 10.

For more info, prize lists, registration (you can enter any time and fish whenever you want) and rules, visit WONBigFish.com.

WON Big Fish Challenge: Week 5


WON Staff Writer

SAN CLEMENTE — We’ve passed the halfway point of the WON Big Fish Challenge, and anglers are currently shooting it out in Week 6 with four weeks to go. So far, in the 2019 installment of the popular event, it looks like this year may have more lead changes from one week to the next. Only a couple species categories have had the same leader for multiple weeks.

THE NEW LEADER in the Big Fish Challenge yellowtail category is Ulisses Figueroa who caught this 33.6 pounder out of L.A. Harbor Sportfishing in Week 5 of the 10-week event.

As of Week 5, there is a new leader in the tuna category. The top spot is now held by BFC regular (and former grand prize package winner) Cori Husband who stuck a 238.4 pounder on a Yummy Flyer deployed at the 43. That fish bumped off the 226 that led after Week 4 which was caught by another former tuna grand prize winner, Neil Barbour.

Husband also briefly led the yellowtail category in Week 5 with a 27.02-pound mossback, but several bigger were weighed in including a 33.6 weighed in by another former BFC grand prize winner, Ulisses Figueroa, who was fishing out of L.A. Harbor Sportfishing aboard the Marsea.

Leaders of the other species categories survived the week, but they are far from safe. For more info, prize lists, registration (you can enter any time and fish whenever you want) and rules, visit WONBigFish.com.

WON Big Fish Challenge: Week 4


WON Staff Writer

SAN CLEMENTE — Week 4 of the WON Big Fish Challenge (BFC) is now in the rear view mirror, and there has been some musical chairs going on among the overall leaders of some species categories.

This includes the tuna category where San Diego angler Neil Barbour shot to the top with a 226-pound bluefin caught board the private vessel, Easy Access. He used a popper to fool that one out at the 9 Mile Bank, and he registered the catch at the official weigh station at Dana Landing. Barbour was the grand prize winner in that category back in the inaugural BFC.

NEIL BARBOUR WITH the new overall leader in the tuna category in the WON Big Fish Challenge. He won a grand prize in that category in the first running of the event a few years ago.

Jonny Hogan took over the overall lead in the halibut department with a 42.88-pound flattie he stuck while bounce-balling near Tajiguas Beach. He weighed his fish in at Hook, Line and Sinker in Santa Barbara.

After no lingcod were weighed in over the first two weeks of the event, a small one claimed the spot in Week 3 only to be bumped off by new leader Jim Williams who caught an 8-pounder. It’s safe to say that fish isn’t safe to stay, and could be bumped off in short order. It was still good for a weekly prize package, as the top fish registered of each species is every week, so it’s always a good idea to weigh in even if it’s not good enough for the top spot.

We are in Week 5 which is the halfway point of the popular annual event, but anglers can enter at any time. There were certainly late-entrees in recent years that ended up making a strong showing including taking one of six (one per species category) grand prizes. To sign up, see rules, prize lists and leaderboard updates, visit WONBigFish.com.

WON Big Fish Challenge: Week 3


WON Staff Writer

SAN CLEMENTE — Week 3 of the WON Big Fish Challenge has come and gone without much change on the overall leaderboard. The only new addition was an eminently beatable 5.20-pound lingcod. The door is wide open for most of the 6 species categories and it’s not too late to enter to take your shot at one or more $5,000 prize packs on offer for this 10-week contest. Visit WONBigFish.com to sign up or for more information.

CORI HUSBAND, WHO won the tuna category of the Big Fish Challenge a few years back, currently leads the yellowtail category with this 24.40-pound forkie.

Before we return to the overall leaderboard, first, the Week 3 catches. The best of the week was Jonny Anderson’s 16.80-pound yellowtail caught on a trolled Rapala at the Coronados, where the forkie bite was stratospheric. Robert Fleek also got into that action with an 11.40-pound yellow he fooled with a blue and green iron.

Adam Larson stopped by the San Diego Marlin Club to weigh an 8-pound-even bonito, caught of course at the Coronados where these little tuna have been mixed in with the yellows.

Next we have that 5.20-pound lingcod, mistakenly previously reported as a Week 2 catch. That was not the case, but in any event this fish — the first weighed in the category — is the current lingcod leader. It was caught aboard the Stardust out of SEA Landing in Santa Barbara by “Seabassman.”

Now, a look at the rest of the overall leaderboard — remember, at the end of 10 weeks, each one of these categories is worth a spectacular $5,000 prize package. Bill Parks still holds the top tuna spot on the strength of his 87.00-pound bluefin caught during Week 2.

Cori Husband’s 24.40-pound yellowtail, also caught during Week 2, continues to lead that category, as does Kyle Tapia’s 14.53-pound Week 2 halibut.

Chip Cone, a past BFC tuna champion, was edged out of the tuna lead in Week 2, but he still holds the white seabass category with a respectable 49.60-pound fish, which could be tough to beat.

Finally, Alex Plambeck is still atop the bonito/barracuda category with his impressive Week 1, 10.80-pound bonito.

The WON Big Fish Challenge leaderboard updates dynamically as new fish are added, so stop by the website at WONBigFish.com and follow the action as it plays out. Several species categories are up for grabs, so remember, entering this 10-week contest that’s only one-third of the way to the finish line is only $10 per species or $40 all-in.

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

WON Big Fish Challenge: Week 2


WON Staff Writer

SAN CLEMENTE — The door closed on Week 2 of the WON Big Fish Challenge with the top spots in vacant (after Week 1) species categories claimed, and some of the jostling between leading catches that makes this annual, 10-week event so exciting.

We predicted the Week 1 tuna leader would get bumped off in short order, and exactly that happened when Bill Parks weighed in an 87-pound bluefin. Not shy with details, Parks said the tuna was caught off Clemente Ridge on a Dana Wharf Rod and Reel Club 1.5-day charter aboard the Fortune. It ate a fly-lined sardine on a Gamakatsu Nautilus circle hook, and the fight took 40 minutes. Week 1 tuna leader – and last year’s grand prize winner in that category – Chip Cone fell just short with an 83.6 he tamed offshore with a Daiwa Saltist and a Daiwa SP Minnow on the business end. He does still lead in the white seabass column with the one he caught last week that fell just short of the 50 pound mark.

THERE'S A NEW leader in the WON Big Fish Challenge Tuna category. This 87-pound bluefin was caught by Bill Parks on a 1.5-day trip aboard the Fortune. It won’t be enough to hold the top spot, so get signed up at WONBigFish.com and run him down!

The yellowtail category is now lead by Cori Husband who won the tuna grand prize in the event a few years ago. The forkie she turned in this week is a beatable 24.4 pounds, but it was good for a weekly prize package that goes to the top fish in each of the six categories each week. She also caught a 24.2-pound white seabass this week.

The big halibut in the Challenge is now a 14.53 pounder caught by Kyle Tapia who weighed in for Week 2 at Hook, Line and Sinker in Santa Barbara.

Adam Larson turned in a very respectable 8-pound bonito, but it wasn’t enough to pass up the 10-plus weighed in last week to top the Bonito/Barracuda category that was added prior to the 2018 Big Fish Challenge.

To get involved, visit WONBigFish.com and register, pay the reasonably entry fee ($10 per species, or $40 for all six), read the rules, follow the leader board, check out the prize lists and read the long lists of conveniently-located official weigh stations. Then, you fish when you want, as often as you want. You’re going to fish anyway, might as well take a shot at huge prizes!

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

WON Big Fish Challenge: Week 1


WON Staff Writer

SAN CLEMENTE — Week 1 of the annual WON Big Fish Challenge (BFC) is in the books, and there have already been a couple catches that will likely stand for a while. On one hand, at least anglers shooting for those species categories know what to gun for, and the rest are still wide open.


THE WON BIG FISH CHALLENGE is underway and Week 1 is in the books. Chip Cone won the tuna grand prize last year, and he’s already set the bar high in the white seabass category with this tanker.

Captain Chip Cone came out of the gates with a 49.6-pound white seabass that won’t be easy to beat, but the way fishing has been for ghosts lately, plenty of BFC competitors will be able to take their hacks at it. Cone was fishing aboard the Alexandria and registered his catch at Dana Point Fuel Dock, one of many conveniently-located official weigh-in spots along the coast. He was using a Daiwa Saltist 20 paired with a 8-foot, medium-heavy Daiwa Proteus with a squid on the business end when this fish played ball at Catalina. Cone won the grand prize in the event’s tuna category last year.

Another BFC returner, Alex Plambeck turned in a torpedo bonito that tipped the official scale at Dana Point Fuel Dock at 10.8 pounds setting another lofty high-water mark. Plambeck was in Orange County offshore waters and tamed the bonehead with a Daiwa Lexa/Proteus rod setup.

The first entry in the tuna category was a 32.2-pound bluefin hauled aboard the Tomahawk by Tom Donohue and weighed in at H&M Landing. This catch took place during the WON San Diego Offshore Jackpot, and a sardine on 40-pound is what closed the deal. Needless to say, this catch will likely get bumped off as early as Week 2, but Donohue – like each angler with the big fish each week – will receive a weekly prize package along with Cone and Plambeck, and he has the rest of the 10-week event to climb back up the leaderboard.

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.

ALEX PLAMBECK TOOK a commanding lead in the bonito/barracuda category that was added last year. This one went 10.8 pounds and was put down with a Daiwa Lexa/Proteus combo.

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