Pat McDonell's Blog

WONews Column by Pat McDonell

Pat McDonell is the Editorial Director of Western
Outdoors Publications and has fished and hunted all over the world, from Brazil’s famed peacock bass waters to Morro Bay for albacore.

A graduate from San Diego State University in Journalism, he coordinates the staffs of the weekly newspaper and magazine. He was a founding member of United Anglers of SoCal. He’s an avid saltwater and freshwater angler and hunter. He is also the director of the annual Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot Tournament held each November in Cabo.  McDonell, 52, is married with two daughters and resides in Carlsbad.

Tanner bluefin on the O'95
FlatFalls get it done on 1 1/2-day run

 The brutal Tanner Bank weather was no deterrent for Capt. Rick Slavkin on 1 1/2-day trip Thursday that encountered a wide-open nighttime bluefin frenzy on the glow-in-the-dark FlatFalls

 THE MOMENT OF TRUTH for Brad Moreau is when the crew of the O’95 takes care of the tuna on the business side.  PHOTOS BY Pat McDonell (gaff) and Rick Ruzzamenti (holding fish).  


OCEANSIDE Oceanside 95 Capt. Rick Slavkin had some tough choices to make. The main one was simple. Be safe. The weather called for a small craft advisory for Wednesday night and building through the night, and when the captain held his meeting that night before they left Oceanside Harbor, he had to tell the 34 passengers that the Tanner Bank might not be in the cards.


“Safety is No. 1,” and I will try to get to the Tanner, but if it’s too rough, then we will stay inside and fish the porpoise for 20- to 30-pound yellowfin,” he said to the assembled group. There were some disappointed looks. The bluefin bite was epic a few days before, and the flat seas and perfect conditions at the Tanner the week before had accounted for some tall tales of great 100-pound bluefin, just a week before Thanksgiving. The squid were drawing the tuna to the nests, and it was a question of getting live and fresh dead squid, and drifting across the Tanner Bank, located 20 miles outside of San Clemente Island, which is 50 miles from Oceanside Harbor. It’s a long, brutal haul if weather is lousy.


“If it were any other boat but this 95 footer, I’d just say no, we’re not going to the Tanner tonight,” but the 95 is a big, heavy boat, so we will see. But we’ll be at the Tanner, if we can make it, by 10 or 11.”


So, there were four things facing the anglers: No live bait with no prospect of getting any on handoffs from boats coming from receivers at Long Beach or San Pedro. We were going to be the only ones there -- if we even made it. The weather was a killer: 10- to 12-foot swells, 30 to 40 knot winds. We had a full load of anglers, 34 at the rail. And, it would essentially be a half-day trip. Why? The day bite has been a pick and as I update this story here on Tuesday, the same holds true. The gray light and dusk/night bites have been when the fish were hot. So there was a small window of opportunity facing us.


Funny how things work out, and they did. The weather was lousy but manageable, and Capt. Slavkin, now in his third year at the O’95, kept plugging west, slowly. By 6 a.m. this angler was up, and realized Slavkin had put San Clemente Island in the rear view mirror. Destination Tanner was three hours ahead.


“I really didn’t think we’d make it, the affable captain said. “I did go a little to the extreme.” That was what Slavkin said at the end of the trip, and indeed he did. A lot of captains lately have stayed much later to get a solid shot at the bluefin at night. There were a lot of stoked anglers rubbing their eyes as the O’95 lurched over, down, and then up again over huge swells. When we arrived at the Tanner there were two groups: those eating breakfast, and those losing their “lunch.” Some recovered, some did not.


Amazingly, I felt great. Our galley cook Doug Untiedt was cranking out the assortment of tasty and quick breakfast burritos and burgers, and a hearty and tasty beef briscuit dinner, and as the weather settled, appetites soared for food and bluefin that were on a pick, as advertised. There was no sitting around mid morning on our drifts as fish were always under the boat as Slavkin leaned out of the wheelhouse and kept giving out numbers, “Three targets at 180” or a “Wolf pack at 220. Get those baits down.”


We had a fish almost immediately on the dead squid.


At this point, as the weather slowly backed off, the drift was always good. The fish were always stacking up, and more so as the day went on. Every able-bodied, non-puking angler was at the rail, and some were pretty green, but hell, bluefin …100 pounders …on a 1 ½-day were great incentive. The first angler to score at just after 10 a.m. on the first drift was Komron Aziz of Irvine, using 80-pound flouro, an 8-ounce torpedo up the line five to six feet with a rubber band. An experienced tuna angler, he would end up with two bluefin, his limit.


Soon after, the bites came here and there, one or two in each hour-long drift, a mix of rigs were used, the fresh dead on 4/0 circle hooks either sent down with the 6- to 8- to 12-ounce torpedo sinkers or a couple 3-ounce day glow sliding sinkers held up the line four or five feet by the flouro/top shot knot. Those were effective, but so were the day glow Shimano FlatFalls, the 200 or 250-gram heavies.


The hottest stick on the boat was Fallbrook landscaper and resident Pat Sovacool. He was fishing light line and smaller reels but he had the chops to do it. He hooked 8 fish on the trip, but had two fish he landed during the day on the fresh dead, then three (If I recall) on the FlatFall, the all-important day glow feature was charged up by pocket flashlight chargers a few people brought. A word to anglers: Buy them. They are quicker and produce a longer charge than conventional lights, and are about $5 at WalMart. A buddy that skipped my trip with the weather projection but went out the next night on the SD-based Tribute hooked and landed four on the FlatFalls using the WallMart charger I told him about. He was lending it out all trip when people saw how effective it was.


By dusk, the seas had calmed, relatively, and the fish were now stacking on the sonar, and Slavkin as few times said he had not see this kind of volume yet at the Tanner, and that is saying something as Capt. Slavkin has been killin’ the bluefin on every trip. Soon enough, the day glow Flat Falls were the lure of choice. Fresh bites up the rail, one, two or three were being called out. The fresh dead wasn’t working any more, the fishes’ bellies were glutted on it, we soon found.


“I think the fish were full, but they just got pissed off at the glowing FlatFalls,” said Slavkin. “I don’t know why. But it’s unbelievable the amount of monster fish we were getting.”



Drift after drift we picked up five, six or even eight hookups, although many were lost. No one lost their cool. Well, one angler did, upset he had lost a fish on 30-pound, despite the crewman’s best efforts over more than an hour. Slavkin finally had to step in and defend his crewman. We all now realized who “that guy” was on the trip. There’s always one. Turned out, the angler moved up to 50-pound, landed his fish with the help of the same crewman, and one passenger said, “Hey, are you going to apologize now to that crew guy? You should.”


That guy didn’t. What a tool. Lesson here. Don’t blame your crewman if you use 30-pound line or even 40 or 50 without the right rod or reel. To me, all you are doing is killing a fish (if you get spooled, you killed that fish) and screwing uop everyone else in a protracted fight.


The night bite went on an on, and we were waaay overdue. We should have headed back to Oceanside at 8 p.m. to make the 6 a.m. Friday return, but no one, not even the crew, the captain or the people still sick as dogs would whine. The bluefin were biting on the glow FlatFalls, and it was epic carnage. We put 22 feet on the deck, lost at least that many, and if we had gotten into them in the morning at daybreak, we might have doubled that because we would been dialed into the scene and what was working best in the dark.


The jackpot was won via a 118-pound bluefin by John Duquin who came with his friend Blake Smith. They are members of the SoCal Deaf Anglers Club and longtime WON subscribers. Great guys, and we as a group communicated with back slaps, hand signals and writing on napkins. It’s like fishing, you figure out what works. 

“We have fished over 40 years for tuna and bever have seen tuna this big,” Duquin wrote on a napkin for this reporter. “This 118 pounder the biggest in my lifetime, a great experience.”


JOHN DUQUIN with his 118 pounder., the biggest of the trip. 

The trip was summed up by Eric Dahlstrom of Beaumont, who had 103 and 102 pounders on the FlatFall. A fun guy, always laughing. Always pulling or working hard at the rail.


“These two fish are biggest I’ve ever caught, and I would not have caught ‘em if not for the captain. On any other boat we would have been off the water by 6:30 at night and headed home. Captain Rick is the man.”


If you prefer another explanation, Brad Moreau of Oceanside caught a nice 100 pounder. It put the hurt ion him, but he got it in. He hasn’t been fishing much these past years. His rehabbed shoulder is feeling better so he came with a buddy, Ron Dwinnell. Moreau at first balked at going because of the weather. Then he decided that if the weather did settle as promised, the prospect of a 1 ½-day bluefin tuna was too great a temptation. The gamble paid off.


“Crazy is as crazy does,” said Moreau.


Or, as Sovacool said it after catching his 5 bluefin, “Fun trip, but I’m burnt.”



Many thanks to the crew and Helgren’s Sportfishing Landing for a great trip. Capt. Rick Slavkin’s crew were among the best I’ve ever fished with and have great nicknames. They were Tommy Boy Horanyi, Doug Uniedt in the galley, Maurice “Snowball” Lopez, Daniel “Golf Ball” Tyler and Troy “Chowder” Stranko.


THE FIRST FISH of the day was by Komron Aziz of Irvine one fresh dead squid, 80 flouro with rubber banded 8-ounce torpedo sinker up the line.



ONE OF 5 BLUEFIN, two over 100 pounds, for Fallbrook resident and O’95 regular Patrick Sovacool. He was fishing for boat limits, as the personal limit is two.


THE NIGHTIME BITE was epic, and after this scene was shot, it got even crazier at the Tanner Bank on the Flatfall glow jigs. It was like a long range trip, except it was a 1 ½-day run. The fish were all in the 100-pound class. Biggest was 118.

PAT SOVACOOL shares the load of a 100-pound bluefin with crewmen Mauricio “Snowball” Lopez.

ERIC DAHLSTROM with his personal best bluefin on the glow 60-gram Flatfall.




















Shelter Island ramp details
Gimme Shelter


THE SHELTER ISLAND ramp will have the same footprint, but with a new wall offers 80 percent larger basin, and dock feet will increase from 120 to 550 feet. Construction will be over 10 months and likely begins in February.

If there was ever a facility that Trump would call part of our crumbling U.S. infrastructure, it is the Shelter Island Launch Ramp in San Diego Bay. Not that it’s high on his list. The ragged and dangerous facility on Shelter Island is ready for a $10 million plus makeover by the Port of San Diego with a mix of state grant funds from Boating and Waterways and WCB totaling $9.5 million and anything above that it’s the Port’s dime. Blessedly, it starts soon after the 150-plus boat San Diego Anglers Bay Bass Open concludes Jan. 21. I cannot wait, both for the tourney, and the makeover since I use that ramp 15 times a year on average. Super convenient, super inadequate, super popular.

I just got off the phone with Bill Melton, associate Port architect, a nice fellow who who this Thursday, Nov. 17 is hosting an informational open house for the Port at its Administration Building from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at 3165 Pacific Coast Highway. If I’m not at the Tanner Bank that day, I’ll be there.

The ramp’s 10-month construction will start within a month after the end of the Bay Bass tourney, and the state permit calls for a few key elements. Pay attention:

-The footprint of the facility based on the outer edge of rip-rap wall is the same, but the new, thjnner construction wall is such that the basin will be 80 percent larger. At low tide, now, the basin is ridiculously cramped when you have Ma and Pa Kettle launching their scow amid the buzz of jet skiers and tuna maniacs. Comical and dangerous. Yet we endure.

-Dockage has 120 linear feet now, 500 total when done. Yes! More space so the Kettles won’t ding my boat.

- While the project is projected for 10 months, it will take longer if the sea lions enter the area consistently. If they are in the construction area, all work stops. DO NOT feed them by tossing unused bait or fish carcasses near or in the basin, starting NOW.

- The permit calls for one lane to be open during construction. Don’t try it. Kayak launching at the beach will be prohibited. There are alternate spots to launch at Liberty Station, (kayaks only), and ramps at Chula Vista, National City at the new Pepper Park ramp, and Glorietta Bay (Coronados Island, limited parking for trailers). For a list of these alternates, go towww.portofsanddiego.ord/sibl That website will also have updates during construction.

Look, it’s gonna be a pain. But it’s progress.


As for the annual SD Bay tournament, here’s the info given to me by the hosting club, San Diego Anglers.

SAN DIEGO ANGLERS 22nd ANNUAL BAY BASS TOURNAMENT sponsored by TOWBOAT U.S. will be held at the Shelter Island launch ramp. $1500 first prize (sponsored by Fishermans landing Tackle) for the heaviest 3 bass sack (Sand, calicos or spotties in any combo). Pay down 25 spots. We also have a separate kayak division ($500 - First Place sponsored by Fast Lane Kayaks and Hobie) pay down 5 spots. BBQ and raffle to follow awards ceremony. $140 entry for team event and $65 for kayaks. For more info call Dwayne at 619-972-1503, Mike Kezele 619-733-9156, go to under the TOURNAMENT tab or like us on Facebook ...

Tuna records, great stories
After nine days in Cabo directing the Cabo Tuna Jackpot, now in its 18th year, I can reflect a little on the tourney and the nine events that are part of it over four days.

The tourney went off flawlessly. Yes, we had two protests, they were handled, and we moved on, as did the teams involved. The parties and other aspects of it are a moving target, but I can truly say the awards dinner on Saturday evening was the biggest improvement over 2015’s version. That is saying a lot because the tournament set records in payouts, and we were up by 25 teams over ’15.

MELINDA AND STEW WEBBER after the dinner where they won the $27,000 bid for the Florida trip to benefit Smiles In the picture is also director Past McDonell, left, and Smiles Foundation’s Dr. Jeff and Maribel Moses, together at right.

Now, to be honest, if all we did was have two shotgun starts, two weigh-ins and a meeting and parties at both ends, I can assure you my blood pressure would be normal right now, But, that is not the case. Planning and prep and meetings and 100 emails and calls all year does not guarantee a damn thing. Not in the U.S. and not in Mexico.

But, things work out, and you adapt. If you don’t you won’t last doing this stuff. This year the Cruise Line Pier was used as the awards venue. It is on the water, cool, yachts and partyboats and skiffs slip by and toot their horns, a light breeze cooled us down, and the scene is, well, “magical.” That is word used by Minerva Smith of Minerva’s Tackle who was again attending the dinner with her husband Bob Smith, who won a few years back on the Reel Quest.

The nine events? The sponsors and staff party on Tuesday, the check-in for the teams and the captains welcome party on Wednesday, the two shotgun starts, the Cabo Escape Charity party on the second start day, the two weigh-ins, the 500-person Friday Fiesta at Maria Corona restaurant in town, and the 750-person Yamaha Awards dinner. Yes, the motto is, Fish Hard, Party Harder. That motto I made up years ago is killing me.

But there is now a growing element to the event, but one that has always been there. There are the stories of the people, and their reasons for coming, or perhaps even winning. There is the charity effort through various fun contests and fundraisers.

The awards dinner the final night, Saturday, on the 100-yard long field-long concrete pier, honored the winning teams and raised $40,000 for The ways we raised money included: A silent auction, live auction of a Florida trip, t-shirt sales at the team check-in by Minerva, a Grand Raffle at $5 a ticket, a $20 PP charter on the party yacht Cabo Escape that donated the boat both days for the start, and sometimes people just wrote a check.

The back story on the Florida trip, organized by Dave Bultheis of Costa sunglasses again in cooperation with other attending sponsors is this: It was easily a $50,000 value in tackle and charters and free gear, and garnered a $27,000 winning bid by Stew and Melinda Webber, who also donate to the charities each year. Melinda is quite the businesswoman who recently sold her paper products company for several mil, and believe me, she is a great lady and they are quite the fun couple.

Stew is a chef and the happiest guy I know. Well, it turns out Stew, an Aussie, was born with a cleft pallet, was abandoned by his family at birth, and after corrective surgery, was adopted. He identifies with the children that are helped by the volunteers of, founded by Dr. Jeff Moses and his wife Maribel.

Of course, there was the money, but even when handing it out, and honoring the teams, there were the emotional back stories. The numbers: Six teams won money and split the $747,500, a record, as I mentioned.

Tu Corazon , the 2016 champs, were a Los Barriles-based group that called themselves Team America, named after the boat captain's niece that had died that morning of the first day's fishing, and with "a little Angel from above," said an emotional team captain Chuck Van Wormer, they caught a 298-pound yellowfin the first day of fishing Thursday. The team, captained by Van Wormer on the Tu Corazon, placed first in the overall standings over two days for $70,975, and won the first three day 1 tuna optionals to carry off $180,000.

The biggest money winners by far were on the Reel Quest, an annual contender and former champions led by Brad Stevenson and Dick Landfield who co-own the Cabo-based sport yacht and which is captained by Tyson Valli. Entered across the tuna board at $22,500, they won the first day's $10,000 tuna optional for $52,000 with a 161-pound tuna from the Finger Bank, then the next day stayed on the Pacific side and fished the Golden Gate Bank for four tuna, topped by a 274 pounder that placed second and swept the second day tuna options and all the boats that had hoped to cash in.

The total prize money for the Reel Quest gang was $331,950, a record single team payout for the 18-year-old tourney. One of the “glitches” was that I had the fake/giant check wrong on stage by about $60,000. Look, I’m not great at math. We will correct that amount on the checks digitally.

The Reel Gold team on the sportfisher Reel Gold was a team made up of anglers from Africa, Canada and Cabo, with two them in the African gold mine business and nailed a 230-pound yellowfin to hold onto the day 1 tuna optionals for $3,000 and $5,000 for $48,000 and $62,000 respectively for a total payout of $118,000.Team members were Murray Wright, Dave Patterson, Jon Crawford, and Paul Bonovich.

It is hard to believe a 251-pound tuna could place only third in a tourney, but this was the year it happened as eight tuna over 200 pounds came into the scale over two days. The Vaquera with a team of Ohio players took third for $4,175. They were Robert Jones of Cincinnati, his wife Christina Jones, Billy Senters and Zack Neil.

Then there were the two days of wahoo/dorado optionals. Nearly every team entered that optional for $1,000. The Picante Pride with a team from Luxenbourg (a tiny European country) nailed a 53.2-pound wahoo the first day for the $60,400.

On the second day, a 52-pound wahoo took that $62,000 for Jamie Rendon's team of locals on his boat the Dr. Pescado III. Jamie is a former second place tuna finisher, and won the dorado/wahoo optional several years ago. He knows the "drill," you might say. When a 298-pound tuna the first day comes in, you turn to turn to focus on the next biggest optional payout, and it worked.

The awards dinner had three great videos, one from the sky with drone footage by Yo-Zuri’s Ray Gardner that was thrilling, and fun video on land of the teams and captains enjoying the thrill and fun of fishing and partying in Cabo at the biggest tuna tournament in the world, and the biggest fishing tourney in Mexico and Cabo, year after year.

Stay tuned for more updates, pictures and back stories. On next week’s WON.

* * *

Pat McDonell is editor of WON and directs the Cabo Tuna Jackpot tournament (

A stitch in time
If there is one husband and wife team that is thoroughly enjoying themselves amid the swirl of activity at the Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot Tournament going on this week, it is Jamie and Lawrance “Squig” Quiqley.

THE NEW LOGO, although he still carries the original logo on several lines.

Fishworks is the premier SoCal-based fishing clothing company now in its 20th year and is back as the official clothing sponsor of the WON/Yamaha Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot going on this week.

Lawrance Quigley and wife Jamie are in the midst of their 20th year and Lawrance is going full-bore in the business, expanding styles of t-shirts, board shorts, new rough water outerwear, windbreakers, and hats, beanies, logos and some very cool patterns. When you wear Fishworks, people know you are a serious angler.

Fishworks was born on the decks of sportfishers where Lawrance worked for 14 years out of Dana Landing and then down in San Diego on the long range boat Royal Star and he took that knowledge and began making durable, wind-resistant and lightweight clothing that the crewmen demanded — working long hours in cold and wind, clothing that would be warm and stand up to abuse. His roots are in fishing, but also in surfing as a designer for Oakley sunglasses for whom he worked for 12 years.

LAWRANCE “SQUIG” QUIGLEY with his teen-aged son Fisher, who crews for Dana Wharf Sportfishing. He’s wearing the new Crew Camo shorts.

He understands the need for grass roots retail loyalty to go with high quality materials, and cutting edge design for looks and comfort. Fishworks has always been the leader on that front as other clothing com­panies come and go and try to find their niche and then ultimately elect to fold or distribute through big box stores. Expanding can be tricky. The kiss of death. Put Massimo at K-Mart and no one thinks it’s cool any more, or quality. Fishworks keeps expanding their line, feeding their loyal fishing tackle outlets and keeping customers pumped up with new designs and updated products.

“We don’t see ourselves as a niche company,” he said last week at his San Clemente warehouse and office. It’s a family operation with his wife Jamie, son Fisher, 17, and daughter Ruby, 15, all helping to get the product out to retailers. “We think we appeal to everyone who fishes — the surf fishermen, the guy on a party boat, a Cabo guy, a skiff fisherman, a long ranger. I don’t want to pigeonhole our appeal.”

For details on Fishworks, just go to fishworks, and to see the tourney unfold with live and posted video over the four days, go to or www.loscabos for the Facebook link and ‘like it,’ or bookmark it for update notifications.

Two years ago, Lawrance had to slow down. He had taken three trips overseas to look at new lines, and when he got back, he didn’t feel right. In fact, he felt terrible. After a few hours of tests, he realized his spleen was enlarged and then the lousy news — he had cancer. He battled lymphoma for months with chemo, a brutal weekly regime that over several months dropped his weight 40 pounds. Now, he’s back, on a healthy diet, back at work, scheduling six-month white cell check-ups, and he was out regularly fishing for big bluefin tuna this season, and now lately for big yellowfin. And surfing. He still rips.

“Hey, I’m still surfing a short board,” he says with some pride. “I have to keep up with my son Fisher.” His biggest message? “Never take anything for granted, especially your health.”

His form of lymphoma is not curable. You just manage it. But, he feels great, his weight is up, he’s in and on the water, and he’s in a full-time designing and marketing mode at Fishworks now, working side-by-side with his beautiful wife Jamie, expanding his line and catering to his 20 longtime retail outlets.

His new and expanded product line with new and original logo designs and cutting edge durable materials is amazing. Look, some people just don’t get it in clothing for West Coast watermen. He does, he’s up for the challenge of taking on other upstart clothing companies like Salty Crew, and he’s full time now, putting everything into his company. Sometimes walking away from the edge gives you a new perspective, and urgency.

Look, some people just don’t get it in clothing for West Coast watermen. Quigley does, and these days he’s living his dream, for the long haul.

Bruce Ivey, friend of Sierra, passes
It is with great sadness that I report the Oct. 6 passing of Bruce Ivey, one of the truly important figures in the Sierra Nevada. He was in ill health the past two years after having no health problems into his 80s. I saw him at the Chamber of Commerce media dinner before the opener in April and I was shocked at how his health had declined.

BRUCE IVEY DURING a waterfowl hunt jump shooting ducks in the Owens River. He passed away last week.

We will have more on him, but for starters, he tirelessly promoted the Eastern Sierra as a resident and businessman in Independence, where he lived and where he owned the Lone Pine Pheasant Club for 21 years until re-retiring in 2007. He and his surviving wife Elsie were a team and were instrumental in the ’70s or early ’80s in convincing the Fish and Game Commission to allow the waters of Southern Inyo County to open up several weeks early, always the first Saturday in March, and the Lake Diaz Derby.

He was a key player in bringing the Film Festival to Lone Pine each year and the creation of the Lone Pine Film Museum that celebrates the many productions that used the iconic Alabama Hills above Lone Pine as their backdrop.

Bruce was the man behind the Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery being designated a state historic building in 1997 and kept it open as a functioning hatchery amid DFG budget cutbacks by forming Friends of Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery, and when a mudslide devastated the facility in 2008, he led the campaign through the nonprofit Friends to restore it, beginning to end, and even staffing it with volunteers. It is no longer a working state hatchery, but it attracts thousands of visitors and has been preserved as a piece of our past.

A successful businessman with a string of seven Napa Auto Parts stores in the Sierra and Nevada, and a licensed pilot with his own Cessna so he could fly from Lone Pine Airport to his stores in Central California until he retired in ’93, he was a vibrant man, a class act who loved the outdoor life, especially hiking to the golden trout country. Above all, he was a family man. He will truly be missed and his accomplishments appreciated by all who love the Sierra.

If you wish to make a donation in his honor, the following two causes were closest to his heart:

Friends of the Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery

P.O. Box 193

Independence, CA 93526

Owens Valley Booster Club

P.O. Drawer E

Independence, CA 93526

A graveside service was held on Wednesday, Oct. 12 at 10 a.m. at the Independence Cemetery followed by a gathering of friends and family at the United Methodist Church, 157 N. Washington, Independence.

* * *

THE WON SAN DIEGO JACKPOT is a ways off, but a bit of news on its expansion. It will be a battle not just between one landing’s boats, as it has been each June, but now it will be bragging rights time between three landings and involve double the boats from this year’s event. This is a pretty amazing story of an event that is poised to be the biggest one-day sportfishing event in the state’s history.

So, on June 29-30, 2017, up to 24 boats from Fisherman’s Landing, Point Loma Sportfishing and H&M Landing will turn loose their fleet of sportfishers for some serious money, up to $7,000 to an angler for the top fish caught among those overnight trips. Plus, a ton of other cash and tackle prizes for top finishers and drawing winners and the biggest fish for each sportfisher. By far, this is the biggest sportfisher/landing tournament on the coast.

This year, 12 boats and crews participated from H&M Landing, and its first year at H&M in ’15 there were three boats chartered, the beginning of something cool. Credit Connor Johnson, our San Diego region ad rep and H&M Landing manager and co-owner Capt. Frank Ursitti for making it happen and for Frank LoPreste of Point Loma Sportfishing and Fisherman’s Landing for getting aboard and making it a Scott Street battle between the landings.

Our other two sportboat events — both run out of Ventura Sportfishing — are the Channel Islands Shootout next June and the Rockfish Rumble in April that kicks off our season.

     * * *

    Pat McDonell is editor of WON and directs the Cabo Tuna Jackpot, now in its 18th year. Contact him at

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