5th annual contest hits the mat at last: Rescheduled twice due to weather, event goes off with 100 anglers on four sportfishers from Ventura Sportfishing
VENTURA — Jeffery Wandick was especially happy to have the fight get underway at last. In the end, the angler managed to beat out nearly 100 fierce competitors for top honors in this, the fifth annual RFR event.
At the appointed 5 a.m. departure time, and after two delays due to heavy weather and the risk of cancellation looming once again, the bell was wrung and the fight got started. When the day-long fighting amongst the battle-hardened anglers was over, spread out over four sportboats, one angler alone stood as Champion and winner of the 2017 WON-Ventura Sportfishing Rockfish Rumble.
TOP HONORS WENT to Jeffery Wandick, who fished aboard Pacific Dawn to win it all. Left-to-right: Greg Ewart, owner/operator of Ventura Sportfishing; first place angler, Jeffery Wandick; WON/RFR Tourney Director, Bob Semerau. The 2017 WON-Ventura Rockfish Rumble first place spot earned Wandick a load of prizes, including a commemorative plaque, $250 cash, a new Avet reel, Costa sunglasses, $50 Gift Card to Turner’s Outdoorsman and Plano Tackle Bag for his 11.3-pound lingcod.
No one could have predicted how tough of a fight it would be. The fishing had turned ugly with boats scratching to make numbers.
“Yesterday we had limits coming from two spots here in the Gap; but today, the fish are not willing to bite,” said a very anxious Captain Jeff Bunde, of the Island Spirit. Other boats in the contest managed limits but the fish proved to be mostly the smaller models, and few lingcod were seen coming over the rails.
Plenty of rewards were in store for all participants in this fifth year of the Rumble as event sponsors, Avet, VMC Hooks, Yo-Zuri, Turner’s Outdoorsman, Plano and Costa Sunglasses all provided swag for the check-in give-a-ways and raffle prizes.
At the pre-dawn hour, all four boats headed out across calm seas to invest a bit of fight time in the hopes of bagging some white seabass along the east end of Anacapa Island. Launching from Ventura Sportfishing — the boats, Amigo skippered by Capt. Jonny Ewart, Island Spirit run by Capt. Jeff Bundy, Pacific Dawn driven by Capt. Pat Cavanaugh, and Pacific Eagle captained by Capt. Greg Mayer — all made passage across the open channel in pursuit of big fish.
The shot at tanker WSB would not win any prizes in the contest, but could add some bragging rights should the fish be willing to join the fight. Current, tide and a witching moon all must have conspired to chase away the biters found yesterday and the boats all moved on in search of Rumble-fish, anglers’ bags hanging empty.
A COUPLE OF REDS shown by angler Luis Tejada with big-time approval from Capt. Pat Cavanaugh, left.
Captain Pat Cavanaugh, in the wheelhouse of the Pacific Dawn, made the run along the backside of Anacapa to work westward toward the Gap. Shortly, all the action was centered between the islands of Anacapa and Santa Cruz, as Island Spirit, Pacific Eagle and Amigo arrived into the same area and began their workout about the same time.
The fourth boat on this fight-card, Pacific Eagle, slid into a secret spot to call her own and was the only boat in the fight that loaded up a full card with rockfish limits for all aboard, according to WON pal, Earl Griffin.
While working the ring around the potato patch between islands, Amigo bagged near limits of rockfish and 3 lingcod, according to WON ally and frequent charter angler, Lloyd Hill. As Captain Jonny Ewart constantly put his anglers on top of the fish, Amigo angler Quang boated a legal ling that was to be top fish for the boat and third-place overall in the 2017 Rumble at 4.62 pounds. The fish garnered a prize purse of $75 cash, a $50 gift card from Turner’s Outdoorsman and a pair of Costa Sunglasses valued at nearly $200.
Aboard Pacific Dawn, meanwhile, anglers found the right momentum, putting the other boats on the ropes.
Worthy of recognition and prizes for two fish, a ling and a copper redfish, came from the “Rumblers” aboard Pacific Dawn. The first fish was a 5.18-pound rockfish taken by Luis Nguyen, which beat out the competition for a second-place position on the podium. Along with the honor of being first runner-up, Nguyen took home $125, a $50 gift card from Turner’s Outdoorsman, Costa sunglasses, a huge Plano tackle bag worth $100 and an Avet SX reel.
RICKIE AND A RED — Captain Ulysses (Rickie) Perez, working deck aboard Amigo, shows off a nice red taken by competitor Paul Loveall.
Not to be left completely out of the running, Island Spirit angler Mike Lander had a pretty good day by boating several rockfish and a legal lingcod that qualified for a fourth-place finish. Landers’ 4.4-pound ling netted him $50 cash and a $50 gift card from Turners.
But the single angler left standing when all the others were knocked out was the guy with all the moves, Jeffery Wandick.
His lingcod, weighing in at 11.3 pounds, earned Wandick top-honors for the 2017 Rumble. The RFR first place prize purse included a commemorative plaque, $250 cash, Costa sunglasses, a $50 Turner’s Outdoorsman gift card, a Plano tackle bag and Avet SX reel.
Once the final bell rang and the weigh-ins were completed, the raffle prizes were doled out. Dozens of spools of Yo-Zuri fluorocarbon, rolls and rolls of Sufix monofilament, Avet reels, Plano tackle bags and another pair of Costa sunglasses were given away to anglers that had fought hard in the 2017 Rockfish Rumble.
The final scorecard for the fifth annual RFR:
Pacific Eagle: 170 rockfish, 2 ocean whitefish
Pacific Dawn: 2 lingcod, 130 rockfish
Island Spirit: 5 ocean whitefish, 1 lingcod, 100 rockfish
Amigo: 12 ocean whitefish, 190 rockfish, 3 lingcod
1st Place Jeffery Wandick, 11.4-pound lingcod for a top honors commemorative plaque, $250 cash, a new Avet reel, Costa sunglasses, $50 Gift Card to Turner’s Outdoorsman, and Plano Tackle Bag, fishing aboard Pacific Dawn.
2nd Place Luis Ngyen, 5.18-pound copper rockfish with $125 cash, $50 gift card to Turner’s Outdoorsman, Costa Sunglasses, and a Plano Tackle Bag, on Pacific Dawn.
3rd Place Quang, 4.62-pound lingcod with $75 cash, $50 gift card to Turner’s Outdoorsman, Costa Sunglasses, aboard Amigo.
4th Place Mike Lander, 4.40-pound lingcod with $50 cash and a $50 gift card to Turner’s Outdoorsman, while fishing aboard Island Spirit.
Contact: Ventura Sportfishing 1500 Anchors Way, Ventura, CA 93001, (805) 676-3474, www.VenturaSportfishing.comPACIFIC DAWN SKIPPER, Captain Pat Cavanaugh, gives a big thumbs up for Jeffery Wandick and his 11.3-pound lingcod.
QUANG’S LING AT 6.42 pounds won a third-place spot for the angler fishing aboard Amigo.
NOT A WINNER, but still happy for the catch, angler Ricardo Holden made it to the scales with his red taken aboard Island Spirit.
SPOOLS OF LINE, both new blue J-Braid X-4 and supple Sufix monofilament, went aboard each boat for anglers to reload reels for the action ahead.
RUMBLE TOURNEY DIRECTOR Bob Semerau, stands ready to dole out the swag as raffles and prizes are given away at the 2017 RFR.