Annual Catalina White Seabass Championship May 17-18 will see changes in its schedule to allow for more fishing, less waiting, another way to win money
and ..this year, all islands are eligible to be fished
...and ...there is a flare gun start at 11 a.m. Saturday in both harbors
THIS YEAR the event will have a flare gun start for all boats Saturday at 11 a.m. in both harbors. Teams will check in by running by the official start boats and showing their team numbers. Then after the flare gun goers off, it's off to fishing any of the Channel Islands. Only the coast is off-limits in 2014.
TWO HARBORS, Catalina Island — Do you fish on a Yamaha-powered sportfisher? If so, it may win your team $1,000 extra in Yamaha money at the awards ceremony at the annual WON/Yamaha Catalina Island White Seabass Championship. In addition, the tourney will have some added fishing time, with earlier check-in times Saturday and an earlier release for fishing, 10:30 a.m. instead of 1:30 as in past years.
The BIGGEST change is this: All islands are eligible to be fished.
“The basic format is the same as always, but the emphasis is on fishing time and less sitting around this year,” said director Pat McDonell of the tourney slated for Saturday and Sunday, May 17-18 at Two Harbors, Catalina Island.
As in all years, the biggest single fish places the teams first through fifth in paydowns.Weigh-in on the beach at the base of the pier is still 10 to noon on Sunday, and the entry is still $100 a person, with no limit to the number of anglers on a team. And as always, there are three optionals for three species, $100, $200 and $300 with a 90 percent payback for white seabass as well as the backup species of halibut and yellowtail. As always, all three species count in the overall standings.
What IS changed is that all islands are eligible to be fished. The coast is still off-limits.
The second most significant change in 2014 is the element of “time.” Instead of a 10 a.m.to noon check-in, there will be a 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. checkin/signin at Two Harbors tourney site at the grandstand,with welcome bags from sponsors. After the casting contest on the beach that ends at 10 a.m. sharp, there will be a HALF HOUR meeting to go over the rules, a few quick drawings and teams will be released to their boats at 10:30 a.m. and the shotgun start will commence at 11 a.m.
Say what?To ensure teams do not leave early, teams will be given 11 by 17 inch printed team numbers (their team number on the roster) and they will show those numbers to a release boat at the entrance to the harbors at Two Harbors and Cat Harbor. The boats will be released in two simultaneousflare gun starts at 11 a.m.
“We do it that way in Cabo, and it’s simple, fair, fun and dramatic. We will have two WON start boats on either side of the island for check-in. This way everyone leaves at the same time, and only boats that check-in by number will be allowed to weigh in.
“The emphasis will be on getting people fishing time starting on Saturday, and the awards and the raffles on Sunday after weigh-in,” said McDonell.
There is also another way to win, a $1,000 Yamaha outboard drawing at the awards; Each team on a Yamaha powered boat is eligible!
One other change is the distribution of prizes in drawings both days, and the barbecue. Four Avet Reels and four pairs of Costas will be doled out inm eight quick drawings, so teams will get their goodie bags, maybe win in the eight quick drawings, and then they are released to their boats at 10:30 a.m. for the 11 a.m. checkin on the water.The barbecue and 90 percent of the drawings prizes will be handled on Sunday at the awards held immediately after the scale closes. See the schedule.
Of course, the drawings and free gifts are a draw, but the bigger money will again come from the trio of team optional jackpots at $100, $200 and $300 for each species of halibut, seabass and yellowtail.The biggest fish takes the money in each of the nine jackpots.As in all jackpots, your team is only competing against those teams that have also entered those jackpots with you, and you can enter any of them in any combination. It’s as though there are 10 tournaments,” said McDonell. “There’s nine optional jackpots and the 10th is the overall race for first through fifth place that everyone is in.
Based on 75 teams participating, first place overall (WSB, yellow or halibut) will be $6,000 in cash and prizes, second is $1,500 and prizes, third place is $1,000 and payouts of $400 and $300, respectively for fourth and fifth place.
The $1,000 payoff for the outboard. Enter and fish on a Yamaha-powered boat and your team could split $1,000 after a drawing at the awards ceremony. All ”Yamaha” teams are entered in a drawing. It will be the next-to-last drawing at the tourney before a mega-tackle-trip raffle concludes the event.
Teams must be made up of at least two people (safety concerns) but teams can have as many team members as long as they have paid the $100 individual entry fee, and they are all on one boat.
Again, part of the tourney will be the Casting Contest for a great prize package on the beach from 7 a.m. to 10. You must cast by 9:45 to be eligible for the “cast-off.” If you have not cast by 9:45, you cannot cast.
“Last year we had a lot of late entrants. There will be a lineup to cast and at 9:45 the cast off will begin so the meeting will begin at exactly 10 a.m. So cast as early as you can,” said McDonell. “We are on a tight schedule to get you fishing.”
Conservation is paramount in the event, thus the single fish weigh-in for the overall, for all three species, which count equally.
Look for an entry form in WON,www.wonews.com and at tackle shops in SoCal. Call director Pat McDonell at (949) 366-0030, ext 33 for details or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q&A ON CATALINA
Tips and tactics for 2014 event
TWO HARBORS, Catalina Island — The countdown has started for the annual WON/Yamaha Catalina Island White Seabass Championship. Here’s a Q&A that might answer questions that are typical.
Can I fish the coast? No. It is an islands only event, like last year.
Can I have more than four people on my boat? Yes, you are not limited, but each person on the boat must pay a $100 entry fee.
Can I weigh in more than one fish? Only if you are in an optional for WSB, halibut or yellowtail. Otherwise, bring just one fish. If you are in optionals you can weigh those species. You can weigh in a fish for the overall, and one for any optional. It’s worth thinking about this a bit. No optionals” One fish to the scale. One halibut optional? Bring in any of the three eligible fish for the overall. So you can bring in, say, a WSB for the overall and a halibut for the optional. All three optionals entered? Bring in up to three fish, one of each.
Can I add to my optionals at check-in, or get into them for the first time when I check in? Sure. Add to them by check via mail, but after May 9 only certified bank checks are taken by mail or credit cards. Remember that on-site fees are to be paid in cash.
Did you get my entry? We’ll check, but likely we did, and all team captains get a packet in the mail if you enter by May 9. If you need to know, e-mail Denise at email@example.com.
Can I leave my boat to get some sleep? Yes, at any time. But you may lose your coveted fishing spot.
Will we get paid at Catalina by cash or check? No. All paperwork and info and percentages will be written down, and checks from WON accounting will go out a week to two weeks. All winnings are subject to U.S. taxes.
Can I keep a fish on my boat I caught the day before? Yes, but you MUST clip the fin or face a DQ. There will be a random boat check by staff before we release boats in the flare gun starts at both harbor entrances. There’s a bunch of questions we’ll answer at the check-in from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. at Two Harbors on Saturday.
Can I have a team member sit on the boat during the captain’s meeting? Yes. This is new for 2014. This is a rule change to facilitate a quicker release of teams on both sides of the isthmus. Only ONE team member will be released, and he will still be eligible for the drawings. With that rule, be aware there will be a logjam of people picking up team members. The flare gun start is at 11 a.m. and you have to check-in with your printed team number before the start or 30 minutes after in case you are taking your time).
Will any more rules change? All rules are subject to change, but it’s not likely. Also, the director has the final word on all decisions. If you can agree to that, welcome to the event! The rules are all designed to make it more fun, safer and fair. And they will be enforced to the letter.
Basic tourney info
Optionals, and What to fish for: The White Seabass Championship is just that, a White Seabass event. While yellowtail and halibut count equally in the weigh-in, nearly every top spot is taken by a white seabass. The halibut and yellowtail are there in case there are few, if any, biscuits (big WSB) around for the five top overall payout spots, and for the nine optional jackpots ($100, $200, $300 for all three species for a total of nine optionals and total possible pay-in of $1,800). And knowing you won’t win or finish high in the overall is when you start looking for a halibut, ANY legal halibut, if you are in the optionals for halibut. Or yellowtail. You only have to beat the other guys who are in any optionals with your team. It’s like a separate tourney, really.
Stay a while: How much time should be spend prefishing? Or at the island itself. You can come over to Two Harbors Saturday morning, check-in, go fishing all night, come to the awards for your winnings or a chance at the drawings, and then head home immediately. Exhausted. Or, you can treat the tourney like a four-day weekend with a purpose. Pre-fish a day or two, stay at the island (Avalon or Two Harbors) for the four days, fish the event and stick around until Monday morning after a good night’s sleep and cross the channel in glassy conditions.
Get some sleep: Fish all night, or not. You can leave the boat at any time and come back to it. Some teams fish the evening of Saturday, catch a fish, get some sleep and go at it in the gray light. But like the family Christmas party, “on your feet, lose your seat” applies to the best spots.
Use heavy line: For WSB, if you aren’t using at least 60-pound fluorcarbon leader and 65-pound braided line and a short leader, then you aren’t playing to win. Of course, light line can – and has – won the tourney. But the sad stories far outnumber them. Plan on hooking a big fish and landing it in a few minutes, or lose it to anchor lines, seals, sharp teeth (big white seabass have sharp teeth) or angling error.
Lodging: Two Harbors has limited lodging. There is camping, and there is the Banning house B&B (very nice with a dozen rooms) and on-board at the Two Harbor moorings, but that’s it. If you want a condo or hotel if the Banning house is full, Avalon is where you need to reserve a room. If you have a comfortable boat to sleep on with elbow room, I’d suggest hunkering down at Two Harbors, enjoy the quiet of the venue, eat at the restaurant and enjoy the bar scene without the run to Avalon. Your choice, but remember, Avalon hotels usually require two- or three-day minimums.
Where to moor: You can weigh fish from either side, but Cat Harbor is farther from the beach scale area. A shuttle is available at Two Harbors (Channel 9), but not Cat Harbor. It is primitive, and there is no guaranteed shuttle. Use at your own advantage and inconvenience. There will be a team check-in by team number (printed for you) at the 2 release boats at the harbor entrances. A few boats will be randomly checked at the dock or at the start boat. Director’s choice. If you have a fish aboard without a fin clipped or more than one angler aboard, you will be disqualified. Do not forget.
Look carefully at the fish: (This is tentative) Tagged fish with electronic gizmos worth $5,000 are swimming around. They are surgically attached, and one of our biggest sponsors/supporters Pfleger Institute normally pays $200 per returned tag. The first tagged fish brought to the scale during the tourney weigh-in wins a $5,000 award. You do not have to weigh that fish. If you do not, you can keep fishing, but you will be $5,000 richer. There’s also prize drawings for those who contribute to the broodstock WSB collection by Hubbs-Sea World. Call ’em up at Channel 72 before or during the event if you hook and gently net any size fish. They will take anything, and you get good karma marks for doing it.
Any more questions? Call director Pat McDonell at (949) 366-0030, extension 33, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Entering the event? Some reminders.
TWO HARBORS — The 2013 WON/Yamaha Catalina Island White Seabass Championship is back at Two Harbors, and entering as a team is simple. Sign up early and save money and hassle. Here are a few notes on signing up.
— You can sign up by contacting Pat McDonell at (949) 366-0030, extension 33 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
— Credit card fees keep us from taking optional jackpot payments online because we pay back 90 percent. We’d lose money on the deal. Sorry. Send a check in the mail, or pay optionals with cash onsite.
— We will accept a personal check received at WON offices before May 9.
— If deadlines are your Kryptonite, you CAN wait until you get there, sign up your team, add team members and get into optionals. At this point, It’s “cash only” for all entries when on-site checking in. Again, NO OPTIONALS can be paid by credit card. Sorry.
— There’s no limit on the number of team members; the minimum is two people, though, for safety reasons.
-- First place overall will earn $6,000 in Yamaha cash and sponsors’ prizes, second is $1,500 and prizes, third place earns $1,000 (based on 75 teams) and added last year to give more teams a shot at winning are payouts of $400 and $300, respectively, for fourth and fifth place.
-- There will be great prizes in eight quick drawings at the very short captains meeting with most drawings held at the awards ceremony on Sunday. It all starts Saturday at check-in from 7 to 10:30, and at the Sunday 10 a.m., to 12 noon weigh-in, and theawards at the beach venue
-- A big question mark is always live bait. There will be several light boats on hand, but there are no guarantees. You might want to embark from a harbor which has live squid in the receiver. Bring fresh dead squid as a backup.
If you have any questions, feel free to call director Pat McDonell at (949) 366-0030, extension 33 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have a question about your entry fees and payments, call Denise at (949) 366-0030, ext 25 or e-mail her at email@example.com.
To sign up online with a credit card, go to www.wonews.com and kick on WON EVENTS.
below is a printable entry form.....see you in Catalina!