On Saturday and Sunday, April 21st and 22nd, 620 anglers took to the waters of Santa Monica Bay and attempted to reel in a fish big enough to yield them a boatload of cash, fishing vacations, fishing gear or possibly a new Toyota Tundra pickup truck in the 33rd Annual Marina del Rey Halibut Derby.
No one was able to wrangle in a fish over 50 pounds, which would have given them a shot at the truck, but Dennis Cook, from Long Beach, did pull in a 30-pounder to win a fishing vacation for two to Baja Californiaís East Cape, including seven days and six nights at the Hotel Punta Colorada.
Included in the grand prize were all meals, three days of fishing, freezing and packing the catch, and roundtrip airfare from Los Angeles International Airport to Los Cabos.
In the Youth Division, Kyle Robertson claimed the first-place youth prize with a 9.87-pound halibut and won $300, and Matthew Mercurio took home $200 for an 8.25-pounder. Both youths won quality rod and reel combinations donated by West Marine.
In the womenís division, the top lady angler was Holly Allman for her 21.9-pound halibut.
While some veteran fishermen were scratching their heads with concern that only 27 fish were weighed in over the two days, feeling that with so many hooks in the water, more fish should have been produced, the Marina del Rey Anglers were confident that, based on the large short count, all is well.
“There were reports of scores of undersized fish, providing evidence of a healthy halibut fishery in the Santa Monica Bay,” the Marina del Rey Anglers stated in a press release.
The Marina del Rey Halibut Derby is the oldest and largest fishing tournament on the West Coast of the United States and is operated by volunteers from the Marina del Rey Anglers fishing club and from the community, with proceeds from the tournament going to support both the Marina del Rey Anglers Youth Fishing Program and the Ocean Resources Enhancement Program, which has raised and released 100,000 juvenile white sea bass into Santa Monica Bay since its founding in 1994.
Other winners included:
– Second Place: Jim Bracci, with a 29.83-pound halibut, won seven days and six nights for two people at the Inn at Mazatl·n, including two days of fishing with Heimpelís Star Fleet, and an allowance for meals and air fareÝbetween LAX and Mazatl·n.
– Third Place: John Romanak, with a 27.6-pound halibut, won five days and four nights, at the El Cid Hotel for two people in Mazatl·n, including two days of fishing with Aries Fleet, and an allowance for meals and airfare between LAX and Mazatl·n.
– Fourth Place: Dominic Dinh, with a 24.64-pound halibut, awarded five days and four nights at Las Flores Hotel for two people in Mazatl·n, including two days of fishing with Heimpelís Star Fleet, an allowance for meals and air fare between LAX and Mazatl·n.
– Fifth Place: Victor Jedlicka, with a 23.3-pound halibut, won six days and five nights at Las Rocas Resort & Spa, Rosarito Beach, Baja California including three days of fishing with Sergioís Sportfishing, Ensenada, and an allowance for meals.