Angler Don Kobabe of Agoura hauled in a 43.7 pound California Halibut for the winning catch at the 36th annual Marina del Rey Halibut Derby May 14.
According to the Marina del Rey Anglers, the Halibut Derby was reinvented this year with the goal of making it more accessible to anglers and at the same time reducing the pressure on the Santa Monica Bay halibut population. The changes included making it a one-day event, reducing the costs, including additional fish species for awards, expanding the geographical boundaries of the tournament and adding a special 20-percent weight credit for live halibut releases, the Anglers said.
“We were looking for ways to make our traditional derby more inclusive to more anglers and at the same time put less pressure on our very local halibut stocks. Making the derby a one day event and lowering the entry cost to only $30 made it easier for everybody to participate,” derby director Ken Raymond said.
Anglers started arriving to weigh in their fish around 3 p.m. and Kobabe’s catch from the boat But’s Up went to the top of the leaderboard early.
With just a few minutes to spare in the competition, kayaker Tony Copos brought in a 17.7-pound halibut to grab second place.
Shawn Bevin earned a third-place finish with a bag of rock fish that weighed in at 16.7 pounds.
The winners received prizes along with the trophies, as well as a souvenir photo of their catch with “Miss Halibut” Deve McLaughlin.
“We think expanding the area allowable to fish outside the Santa Monica Bay, including other species and giving a weight credit for released halibut all helped to put less pressure on local halibut stocks and gave all anglers a really good chance at catching an eligible fish,” said Bob Kissling, Marina del Rey Anglers president.