Feature Article: Catalina Jackpot Review

Yamaha Catalina Island Jackpot: Catalina crusher

BY PAUL LEBOWITZ/WON Staff WriterPublished: Jun 11, 2019

Team Breakaway’s 53.7-pound tanker white seabass convincingly wins the Yamaha Catalina Island Jackpot

TWO HARBORS — There’s island grade and then there’s tournament grade. The latter prevailed at the 2019 edition of the Yamaha Catalina Island Jackpot, held June 7-9 out of Two Harbors. Twenty-five boats and their teams dueled it out for island supremacy. The top 3 fish among white seabass, halibut and yellowtail caught on either day of the event would claim the placement cash, but the big money was in the optional jackpots.

WHOPPER WINNER —Team Breakaway, Matt Potter, Tanner Boston, Steve Fox and Tim Daidimski, seized the win at the Yamaha Catalina Island Jackpot with a 53.7-pound tanker white seabass (right), and for good measure caught another nice one. WON PHOTO PAUL LEBOWITZ

Competitors raved about the weather, mostly sunny and warm with only gentle winds, but it was the quality of the fish that turned the heads of tourists in the plaza of the Harbor Sands resort area where the weigh-in was staged.

No crowd was larger than the one that gathered around Team Breakaway’s tanker white seabass on Day 1 as the big fish was hoisted on the scale. The team of Matt Potter, Tanner Boston, Steve Fox and Tim Daidimski said they caught their trophy on the back of the island on squid presented on a white leadhead offered along a kelp line. When the digital scale settled, the numbers read “53.7,” quite a bit larger than the average Catalina seabass.

That fish easily bested the competition, taking the first place, $2,500 prize and ultimately adding the $100 and $200 optional jackpots for total winnings of $5,475. They also took home a set of 4 Accurate rod and reel combos for weighing the heaviest fish at the optional Day 1 weigh-in, as well as a certificate from Global Fish Mounts that will immortalize their winning catch.

That same day produced another stunner, a 36.1-pound mossback yellowtail for team Bad Influence, Alex McKeever, Mike Meredith, Chandler Smith and James Moron. It bit a live squid in only 8 fathoms, and McKeever deemed it “a miraculous catch,” the largest yellow he’d ever caught at the island. Their tournament grade homeguard earned them the largest cash payout of the tournament, $5,945, because they were “all-in” on the yellowtail options. That total included $1,000 for third place. 

Team Mateme Fishing, Ed Zamora and Vincent Games, came screaming up to the scale just minutes before it was scheduled to close on Day 1 with a white seabass that was still twitching. It weighed 39.7 pounds, good for second place and $1,500. This team wasn’t in any of the white seabass options.

Fishing was good on Day 2 as well, and several white seabass, yellowtail and halibut were brought to the scale, but there were no fish that challenged the Day 1 leaders.

The $300 white seabass option for $1,530 went to M&K Marine, anglers Mike Zamora, Nelson Dicrisci, Mike Milsted and Jack Kell for their 33.2-pound white seabass.

For halibut, it was all about the options. Team Rod Busters, John Garner, Buddy Bullock, Jacob Bullock, and Ron Shiraishi won the $100 optional with a fine, 22.6-pound flatfish, good for $1,020. Team Fandango, Steve Towle, David Johnston, Brian Kraake, and Sergio Vasquez collected $1,020 for winning the $200 option with a 15.1-pound ‘but, and team California Angler, Taylor Kooiman, Ron Atwood, Jeff Jones and Ryan Ploeger earned $1,020 for the $300 optional with a 10.8-pound halibut.

Tournament sponsors included Yamaha, Accurate, Seaguar, SKB, Maaxon, Engel, C&H, Green Room Orange County, Shelta Hats, West Coast Bait Tank, Global Fish Mounts, Furuno, Gamakatsu, Techron Marine and the Catalina Island Company.

Watch the pages of WON for a full review of the Yamaha Catalina Island jackpot in the next issue.

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