Epic halibut and white seabass fishing marks two-day tourney
MARINA DEL REY — Daniel Ahman’s 48.8-pound halibut topped a 46.6-pound white seabass to take the title of the two-day 2012 Marina Del Rey Halibut Derby. The 37th Annual derby was held June 9 and 10 and it offered, to put it mildly, some epic fishing. And weigh-ins.
While it is a “halibut” derby in name, this is the second year the traditional halibut derby has awarded prizes for other species and provided a special 20 percent weight credit for live halibut releases and introducing a 20 percent weight credit for calico bass. The derby was returned to a 2-day format this year by overwhelming popular demand.
Most anglers got an early start Saturday morning wanting to get on the leader board early. What a first day! A total of 31 anglers weighed in fish and all but three had white sea bass or halibut, with several anglers boating several big fish. All of the top 5 fish on the leader board exceeded 36 pounds with the top three weighing in at 48.8, 46.6 and 39.3 pounds, respectively; world class fishing by any standard.
"This is the real deal," one happy angler yelled, "Thank God I signed up for this tournament. My buddies who stayed at home are going to be so bummed." The birds were up chasing bait and the fish were hungry. Needless-to-say, the tailgate celebrations started early and lasted into the night with stories being told and re-told of huge fish being landed and bigger ones getting away.
Sunday's fishing was also off the charts with 25 big halibut and whites seabass weighed in. The derby rules allow anglers to weigh in only one fish per day, and many anglers caught multiple fish on both days, so the total fish actually caught far exceeded the fish weighed in. Again, the fishing was off the charts!!!
The top five anglers on the leader board at the end of the derby were:
Ahman (1) and Stathis (5) released their live, healthy fish into the hands and tanks of Marine Scientist Mike Shane from Hubbs Seaworld Research Institute and received a 20% weight credit which moved them up on the leader board. Ahman would have placed second for his monster but with the 20 percent live release credit he won the derby. There were several fish larger than Stathis' but his 20 percent credit for the live release moved him ahead of those anglers and onto the leader board. Derby anglers released a total of 12 beautiful, healthy halibut to the HSWRI scientists. These fish will be added to the facility's brood stock, and hopefully we will see a new halibut hatchery breeding and release program developed in partnership with angling clubs, DFG and United Anglers of Southern California. The large number of big halibut caught during the derby may be evidence that our local halibut population is in better shape than previously thought.
Paul Thompson won the derby jackpot for his 46.6 pound white seabass, taking home an additional $1,200. Josephine Smith earned the Top Lady Angler trophy and elegant brunch compliments of Shanghai Reds in Marina Del Rey. Arthur Lozano, Jr. swept the first and second prizes for the youth division with his 15.7 and 8.2 pound halibut caught on back-to-back days earning 2 Penn rod / reel combinations complements of West Marine, Marina Del Rey. Daniel Medina came in 3rd place in the youth division with his 6.3 pound halibut and took home a beautiful rod / reel combination compliments of Sports Chalet. Top Team Honors went to Paul Thompson and Jeff Compton of Team Jack Pot splitting a prize of $820.
Marina del Rey Anglers is a fishing and conservation group and a non profit 501(c)3 organization. MDRA welcomes new members and sponsors. For more information visit www.mdranglers.com or www.HalibutDerby.com. Look for derby photos and results and for a list of our generous sponsors.
DANIEL AHMAN and Paul Thompson topped the leader board and posed with Miss MDR Halibut Derby with a halibut if 48.8 pounds and a 46.6-pound white seabass this past weekend.