Feature Article: SD Offshore Recap

42.4-pound bluefin wins WON San Diego Offshore Jackpot for H&M Landing’s Old Glory

BY PAUL LEBOWITZ/WON Staff WriterPublished: Jul 03, 2019

SAN DIEGO — Bluefin are bluefin, often fickle despite showing in vast numbers, but even in a tough bite it seems boats always get a few. That was the case for this year’s WON San Diego Offshore Jackpot, during which 6 of the 7 sportboats in the 5th annual contest out of San Diego’s famous Scott Street Landings weighed school-sized bluefin, with the heaviest registering at 42.4 pounds.

winnerjosephWINNER — Joseph Rhodes of Hemet with his first place 42.4-pound bluefin tuna caught aboard H&M Landings’ Old Glory. The fish fell for a green and blue 320-gram Flat-Fall, and earned Rhodes a cool $2,050 in combined jackpot cash, a Daiwa rod and reel for catching the largest fish at his landing, and an additional $1,000 Daiwa shopping spree for winning the Daiwa contingency because he purchased a Daiwa reel between the 2019 Fred Hall Shows and the event’s kick-off. That brought his total winnings to approximately $3,500.

That fish was the only 40-pound class tuna caught aboard the Old Glory captained by Junior Garcia, and Joseph Rhodes of Hemet fooled it with a 320-gram blue and green Flat-Fall jig. Garcia earned $2,050 in combined first place jackpot cash, as well as a Daiwa Saltist 40H conventional reel on a Daiwa Proteus WN 76XHF rod for the largest fish caught from the landing. But there was one more big prize, a $1,000 Daiwa contingency shopping spree, because Rhodes finished in the top 3 and provided proof of purchase of a Daiwa reel bought between the 2019 Fred Hall shows and the start of the San Diego Offshore Jackpot. That brought his combined winnings up to some $3,500.

“We waited around all day for something decent to hit on,” Rhodes said. “The crew was awesome, pumping me up when my hands were cramping.”

Capt. Garcia said he and his Old Glory crew started looking for the right school at 2:30 a.m. but didn’t find one that wanted to bite until a long 12 hours had passed. “We pushed through to find it. Persistence pays. Joe stayed at the rail all day, his positive attitude caught him the fish,” he said. “We wanted that trophy back and we got it!”

Garcia and Rhodes barely fended off Point Loma Sportfishing’s New Lo-An under Capt. Adam Williams — Capt. Markus Medak was sidelined by a broken leg suffered during boat work. The past two years that boat and crew had won the San Diego Offshore Jackpot title, and they nearly did it again under Williams’ able guidance.

trophytimeTROPHY TIME — Joseph Rhodes of Hemet, left, and Capt. Junior Garcia of the Old Glory reclaimed the San Diego Offshore Jackpot trophy for event host H&M Landing. It had spent the past two years at Point Loma Sportfishing courtesy of back-to-back New Lo-An victories.

The New Lo-An’s heaviest fish was a 41.2-pound bluefin caught by Bruce Fraser of Costa Mesa, good for second place and $1,435 in jackpot cash, plus a Daiwa rod and reel combo like the one won by Rhodes for catching the largest fish at his landing.

“The fishing was slow but we kept at it,” said Fraser, who hooked it on a fly-lined sardine.

Wade Wells of Camarillo, also fishing on the New Lo-An, finished third with a 40.0-pound bluefin, which earned him $615 in jackpot cash. Because Wells had newly purchased Daiwa J-Braid, he won an additional $500 shopping spree from the generous San Diego Offshore Jackpot sponsor. That made for 2 Daiwa contingency winners among the top 3, the most in the event’s history.

New Lo An Capt. Williams said they saw some big fish during their overnight trip and even hooked one at about 90 pounds, but it came off. “It would have been the one,” he said, and it would have earned the boat an astounding Offshore Jackpot three-peat. “We saw a lot of big fish but they didn’t bite,” the Capt. added.

Capt. Rick Russel of the Chief also noted there was no shortage of fish. His anglers got a couple off a bird school some 35 to 40 miles out of San Diego. “When it wants to get with it, it’ll be great. There’s no shortage of fish for sure,” he said. He reported water temperatures up to 67.5 degrees in the zone he fished, but also a lot of green water.

Each boat could weigh in its 3 heaviest fish. Most were 30-pound class bluefin, but the Condor made a big hit on yellowtail, the heaviest of which weighed 17.0 pounds.

A CLOSE SECOND — Bruce Fraser of Costa Mesa weighed in this 41.2-pound bluefin tuna caught aboard defending champion the New Lo-An out of Point Loma Sportfishing. It was just over a pound shy of the eventual winner, or else it could have secured a three-peat for the New Lo-An. The fish earned Fraser $1,435 in jackpot cash plus a Daiwa rod and reel combo for the largest fish from his landing.

The fishing was tough, but H&M Landing Operations Manager Connor Jopson highlighted the immense tonnage of fish out there. “July could be something special,” he said.

Doug Lu of Westminster won a Daiwa rod and reel combo for his 34.4-pound bluefin, the largest fish weighed from a Fisherman’s Landing boat, in this case the Tomahawk. Daiwa sponsored three more combos for an early entry raffle, and they went to Tom Bush and Chu Katayama of Riverside and Larry Early of San Diego.

A general raffle followed the weigh-in and award ceremony, and the prizes were many. Daiwa was the major sponsor, with more rod and reels, fishing tools, tackle boxes, Daiwa J-Braid, rod wraps and stylish caps on offer. SKB was on hand with Tak-Pak tackle backpacks, and Williamson and Rapala kicked in trolling lures and topwater hardbaits. Turner’s Outdoorsman generously offered a stack of $50 gift cards, and there were 30-yard spools of Yo-Zuri TopKnot fluorocarbon leader in 130-pound.

Over 200 anglers participated in the 2019 San Diego Offshore Jackpot, on 7 boats spread throughout the 3 Scott Street landings. Fisherman’s Landing sent the Condor and Tomahawk. Defending champion the New Lo-An and the Chief represented Point Loma Sportfishing. 2019 victor the Old Glory, as well as the Legend and Daiwa Pacific competed out of event host H&M Landing.

The boats left for their overnight trips at 9 p.m. Thursday and had to be tied up at the dock by 7 p.m. Friday. The $20 jackpot included in the ticket price was split between the three overall heaviest fish, and as usual they were all tuna. WON Ad Sales and Marketing Director Chuck Buhagiar announced that next year’s event, the 6th annual San Diego Offshore Jackpot, will be contested in 2020 under the same format and rules.

THE OLD GLORY loads up for her journey to the 2019 San Diego Offshore Jackpot victory.

EARLY ENTRY RAFFLE winners Tom Bush and Chu Katayama of Riverside and Larry Early of San Diego with their Daiwa combos.

THE LUCRATIVE RAFFLE was full of rods, reels, tackle boxes, fishing tools, rod wraps, J-Braid and hats from major event sponsor Daiwa, as well as prizes from SKB, Rapala, Williamson, Yo-Zuri and Turner’s Outdoorsman.

fishingwithdaiwaFISHING WITH DAIWA PAYS OFF — Wade Wells of Camarillo weighed in a 40.0-pound New Lo-An bluefin for third place at the 2019 San Diego Offshore Jackpot, good for $615 in jackpot cash. Because he was fishing with newly purchased Daiwa J-Braid, the major Offshore Jackpot sponsor added a $500 Daiwa shopping spree to Wells’ winnings.

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