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Feature Article: Catalina WSB Recap

The triumphant return of the WON Catalina White Seabass Jackpot

BY PAUL LEBOWITZ/WON Staff WriterPublished: Jun 13, 2018

TWO HARBORS — As the competitors checked in at the Western Outdoor News Catalina White Seabass Jackpot at scenic Two Harbors, Catalina on Saturday morning, there was no shortage of good-natured trash talk.

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AND THEY’RE OFF — The competitors at the WON White Seabass Jackpot thunder away in a shotgun start.


“I’ve never come away from this event without winning something,” Ron Attwood of Seal Beach and team “Maya-Rae” said with a laugh. “One time I won over $6,000 on a 3.5-pound halibut.”


“I can’t wait to take your money,” Robert Fischer of team “Fish Fever” said with a confident smile.


It seems those guys knew something.


Ten thousand dollars of guaranteed placement prize cash was on the line, as were $100, $200 and $300 options for white seabass, yellowtail and halibut. The heaviest three fish of any of those species would win big.


At noon on Saturday, WON Tournament Director Billy Egan sent the teams charging off from beautiful Two Harbors in a thrilling shotgun start. They’d have until high noon on Sunday to weigh in their catches. Who would win the return of WON’s popular Catalina event, one with more than 30 years of history to its credit? One with a glittering array of raffle and placement prizes.


Attwood’s “Maya-Rae” teammate Sammy Rowlan of Long Beach was first to the scales with a 45-pound even white seabass caught on the back side 10 minutes after they first put a line in the water. Turns out that early fish would hold up.


A short while later, team “Fish Fever” walked up to the scales with another seabass, but this one didn’t break 30. It was caught on the west end at 9 p.m. on squid bought from the Carnage light boat that moored in Isthmus Cove for the tournament. The team of Robert Fischer, Robbie Fischer, Jason Folgner (all of San Clemente) and Paul Kunysz of Capistrano Beach were on the board with a 26.3. They also weighed in a 7.1-pound firecracker of a yellowtail, which would come into play in the optionals.


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I GOT A FEVER — Team “Fish Fever” anglers Robert Fischer, Robbie Fischer, Jason Folgner (all of San Clemente) and Paul Kunysz of Capistrano Beach with their second place winning 26.3-pound white seabass. Combined with their yellow optionals win, the team took home $4,190.


Several halibut came to the scales, but it was team “GraySquirrel’s” 10.8-pound flatfish that weighed the most. John Gray of Santa Monica said he and his tournament partner Justin Leed concentrated primarily on halibut, and caught two other small legals.


Later, at the awards ceremony and raffle, team “Maya-Rae” cashed in big time. Attwood and Rowlan earned the guaranteed $5,000 for their first place finish. They added another $2,210 for winning the $100 and $200 white seabass optionals, for a total of $7,210. They also won an inflatable dingy courtesy of Trade Wind Inflatable. Not a bad day.


Team “Fish Fever” earned $3,000 in second place cash for their 26.3-pound white seabass, but they weren’t done. Their 7.1-pound yellowtail won the $100 optional, earning them another $1,190 and a handy Yamaha generator / inverter.


That lead to one of the better storylines of the WON Catalina White Seabass Jackpot. Team “Looking for Tail,” comprised of Tressa and Scott Krufal, Ricky Lovato, and Billy Ammerman (all of San Clemente), a fun-loving bunch, were shocked when they learned with 45 minutes to go that their 4.6-pound yellow was in the lead for the $200 and $300 yellowtail optionals. It held up, winning the team $2,040.


Team “GraySquirrel” finished third on the strength of their 10.8-pound halibut. It netted them $2,000 in third place cash plus another $2,805 for the $100, $200 and $300 halibut optionals, plus a Yamaha generator / inverter.


The sponsors included Yamaha, Avet, Cal Star Rods, Costa Sunglasses, Bluewater Bait Systems, Titus Marine Technologies, Allen GMC, Tilly’s Marine, Trade Wind Inflatables, Mustad, Maurer Marine, Seaguar, Options Sportfishing, Shannon Rose Sportfishing, and the Catalina Island Company.


There was much more, including reports of fabulous pre-fishing, stories from the other teams and the stacked raffle full of great prizes. Be sure to mark your calendars. The 2019 edition will fish on June 8-9. WON will have a full rundown of the fun Catalina White Seabass Jackpot feature in next week’s issue.


spendyseabassSPENDY SEABASS — Sammy Rowlan of Long Beach and team “Maya-Rae” shows off the white seabass that earned him and his tournament partner Ron Attwood of Seal Beach a combined $7,210 in first place and optionals cash.


halibutleaderHALIBUT LEADER — John Gray of team “Leeds” with the 10.8-pound halibut that earned he and his tournament partner Justin Leed a combined $2,805 in third place and optionals cash.


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