Pierfishing

Point Arena Pier

Air view of the Point Arena Cove and Pier (photo Courtesy of Wharf Masters Inn)

On March 26, 1987, Point Arena had a celebration. On that date, a new pier was dedicated at the picturesque cove, located just down the road from the center of town. While state, county and city officials gave their usual speeches and congratulated one another, most locals eyed the blue ribbon which stretched across the front of the pier and gave a sigh of relief; perhaps things could now return to normal. It was important for both the local economy and the social well being of the town.

Dedication ceremonies

A pier is important for Point Arena, and it has been for more than a century. In 1866 the first wharf was built to load logs onto coastal schooners. Later, by the 1880s, shipping was needed for industry and commerce; every Wednesday was “steamer day” when local farmers would ship their produce to San Francisco and travelers could embark on the one-day trip south. After a while, commercial fishing became the main activity. Local waters yielded a wide variety of fish and crab. The hub of this commercial activity was the cove. But people who work hard also need to relax so the waterfront area near the end of the narrow valley that led to the cove also became a social center for the town and was busy most nights.

The “old” wooden Point Arena Pier — 1982

A view of some of the boats —1982

All of this came to a screeching halt on the day of January 26, 1983. Three tremendous waves struck the cove, wiped out the pier and an adjoining fish house, and nearly destroyed the small restaurant near the entrance to the pier. For four years after this, commercial fishermen and sportsmen would head south, to Bodega Bay, or north, to Albion and Fort Bragg, to launch their boats. A local pier fisherman named Ken Jones, living just over the hill in Boonville since 1979, was now left pierless and would need to journey to more distant venues to satisfy his pier addiction. During this time, the cove and the town would experience an easier and gentler life. But who really wanted it?

The “old” pier after the storm of ’83

This was not the first time the pier was destroyed, but it took one of the longest times to rebuild. The pier was a private pier owned by Edward Sudden (since the 1940s), which was, because of the lack of a breakwater and almost annual damage, uninsurable. Although yearly repair and upkeep was possible, a total rebuild just wasn’t affordable. It was decided that if the public wanted a pier, they would have to find a way to fund the pier themselves.

The “new” Point Arena Pier

Although it wasn’t easy, public financing was found. Normally, the local government would fund 50% of the project and the state Wildlife Conservation Board would fund the other half. Here, there simply wasn’t enough local funding to pay for half of the project. Although it was a long and tedious task, local leaders scrounged every available source and finally found the resources. The city came up with $250,000, which was matched by the Wildlife Conservation Board, and then additional money was obtained from the California Conservancy, DBW, and the Economic Development Administration (since the launching of commercial boats would be one of the main uses of the pier). Once funding was arranged, various contracts had to be drawn up, and then the work itself had to be finished. It was, and a sparkling new pier was ready for dedication.

The pier’s office, showers and restrooms

The 330-foot pier, built at a cost of $2.2 million, was a radical change from the former all-wood wharf. Built of concrete and steel, with a surface 25 feet above the water, it embraced the newest pier-building ideas, ideas conceived during the disastrous 1983 storms that smashed into and damaged many of the piers along the coast. Fears that boats would be unable to be launched from the new sling were found to be unwarranted So, too, have been the fears of some pier anglers who scoffed at the idea of bringing fish up from such a distance.

Today the pier is one of the best fishing piers in the state at the right time of the year (the spring) and is, beyond doubt, the best pier to fish if you want to catch rocky-area species like striped seaperch and kelp greenling. It is a good pier to catch cabezon and lingcod, and even offers at times a chance to catch salmon.

Kelp greenling, striped seaperch and cabezon are the three most common fish

Environment. The wharf sits in the Point Arena cove. Point Arena itself juts out to the west (and is, in fact, the closest point in the continental United States to Hawaii). Offshore are some of the world’s deepest waters in the Mendocino Trench, and the underwater Arena Canyon and Navarro Canyon begin directly out from the Point. The cove itself sits southeast of the point and is protected somewhat from northwest winds and storms; water depth is from 20-100 feet deep. The entire cove has a rocky bottom with no sand or gravel, a small stream runs into the ocean to the left of the pier, and there are reefs to the south of the pier.

The inshore rocks to the left (south) of the pier

The majority of fish found here are rocky-area species; they include kelp and rock greenling, cabezon and lingcod, striped, white and calico perch, walleye and silver surfperch, shinerperch, grass, black, blue, and China rockfish, small bocaccio, Pacific tomcod, starry flounder and an occasional salmon. Unusual species include large buffalo sculpin, wolf eels, and an occasional octopus (the harbormaster at the pier reported on a 50-pound octopus). The capture of that creature was quite a feat and included the help of four anglers using a crab net to bring the “big eye” up to the pier). Apparently even a few great white sharks are in the area. In March of 1997 fishermen were startled to see the carcass of a baby great white shark floating in the water by the pier. The four-foot-long creature was grabbed by a couple of interested kids.

A cabezon and a buffalo sculpin

Fishing Tips. The main fishing effort here is for striped seaperch, kelp greenling and rock greenling; both of the latter are usually referred to as seatrout. Bait and tackle is the same for all three, use size 6 hooks with a high-low leader or tie the hooks directly to the line. Best bait is shrimp (small pieces) followed by fresh mussels or pile worms. This same rigging and bait will also attract a variety of rockfish. All of these fish can be caught year round, but perch fishing can be tremendous in the spring when they come into shallow water to spawn. All can be caught anywhere around the pier but inshore to midway out, on the south side, is usually the most productive area. If fishing is slow, cast to the reefs which run parallel to the south side of the pier. The reefs are reachable with a good cast, but also be prepared to lose a lot of tackle.

My foreign exchange daughter Kimiko and a striped seaperch

This is also a good pier for cabezon and there are a least two cabezon holes. The best bait for these is live ghost shrimp (but you’ll have to bring your own). Next best baits are small crabs (which you can catch on the shore), mussels or pieces of shrimp. Many fisherman use abalone guts or squid and a few will be landed on these each year.

A decent-sized cabezon

During the summer months you will often see schools of small fish in the water. These are generally surf smelt (day smelt) but at times there are also a few night smelt, jacksmelt, Pacific herring and even anchovies. These can be caught on multi-hook leaders for live bait or food although it takes quite a few of the smelt to make a meal. You can try live bait for salmon in the fall; every year a few salmon (and steelhead) move into these shallow waters prior to entering local streams. Live bait can also entice the lingcod that like to hang around the pier.

Dan and a small lingcod from the pier

Last but not least is the silver and walleye perch that are often present in the spring through fall months. Best bet for these are small size 6 or 8 hooks baited with small pieces of anchovy and fished mid-depth.

Special Recommendations. (1) Make sure you always bring warm clothing with you to this pier. Point Arena is one of the windiest points on the coast. It’s easy to take off a jacket; it’s not easy to put one on if you didn’t bring it. This pier is also heavily used by both commercial and skiff fishermen. Skiff fishermen use it to launch their boats. Commercials use it to unload their catch of fish, crabs or sea urchins onto the pier and to get supplies, such as ice or gas. This means there are many trucks on the pier, so always be careful to stay out of their way. Also, be careful to not hit anyone as you are casting; remember the underhand cast. The commercial activity means that boats are often tied to the pier in spots you wish to fish or come into water you are trying to fish; be cautious and remember that without this mostly summertime hazard, there wouldn’t be a pier.

Calrat and a cabezon from the pier

(2) Be sure to bring a net or gaff! One day two of my students, John Gowan and Antonio Soto, decided to visit the pier. Following my suggestions, they brought shrimp as bait and were soon fishing in the shallow waters near the inshore rocks. Almost immediately, Antonio had a savage hit from a large fish. Soon after, the still feisty fish was hauled to the top of the water. It was a ferocious looking wolf-eel, one that was a little over 4-feet-long. John and a large group of people watched the battle but there was a problem, since neither John nor Antonio had brought a pier gaff or a net. There were no shortages of suggestions from the onlookers but finally the pier attendant offered to help. A small hoist, usually used to lower and bring up dinghies, was fitted with a fish basket, and then it was lowered into the water. After the eel was brought into position above the basket, it was hauled to the top of the pier. On deck, everyone gave congratulations, a few snapped pictures, and Antonio and John thanked the pier attendant for the help. A few hours later John called and asked, “how do I cook this darn thing?” Remember, always bring a net or treble hook gaff with you.

Debbie and a nice rockfish from the pier

(3) Expect the unexpected. One day in late September, I was fishing with limited success (a few seatrout) when I spotted baitfish breaking the surface of the water.  Deciding to catch some live bait, I rigged up a multi-hook leader and cast it out. A couple of turns of the reel handle, a quick jerk, and I was hooked to a SALMON. Since the leader had size 12 hooks, and a light line, I knew my chances of landing the fish were slim but nevertheless I played the fish carefully and finally got it up next to the wharf. It looked like a silver salmon; about 8 pounds in weight. Unfortunately, the tiny hook, last one on the leader, was just barely caught in the tip of his mouth and about the time he spotted the pilings he decided he had given me enough thrills for the day. He made a sharp turn, the hook pulled out, and a salmon dinner became seatrout fillets (which weren’t too bad).

This large octopus was taken from the pier

(4) Pay attention to any fish you leave on a stringer in the water. One mid-October day I was fishing at the pier with John, I had caught a nice kelp greenling (seatrout), and had put it on the stringer, which was dropped into the water. Soon after, John gave an exclamation and ran to the stringer. A large lingcod, in the twenty pound category, had his (her) mouth around that seatrout and was hanging on, much as do the hitchhiker lingcod which grab hooked fish out on the rockcod boats. Although I tried to snag that fish with my treble-hook gaff, and almost got it with one drop, it ultimately proved too smart, and got away. Later, after talking to several anglers, I found out this had happened a number of times. Since there are a lot of lingcod around this pier, be prepared.

Renee and her lingcod

(5) Bring binoculars with you. This pier is probably the best in the state to get a really good view of a whale. Every year gray whales pass close to the cove while making their annual trips up and down the California coast. Several times I have seen these whales playing right in the cove, swimming around the boats which are anchored near the front of the pier, and at times, the whales were within casting distance of the pier. It’s hard to imagine whales in such shallow water but the moderate depth doesn’t seem to bother them.

Kimiko and a nice mess of perch

Author’s Note — An interesting plaque sits near the front of the pier: “This monument dedicated to the fifteen young men from Yawatahama, Japan who sailed 11,000 kilometers across the Pacific in a 15 meter wood boat to realize their vision of coming to America. Landing at Point Arena on August 13, 1912, their dreams and courage continue to be a source of inspiration and a foundation of the friendship between the people of Yawatahama and Point Arena.” Raven B. Earlygrow, Mayor of Point Arena.

James and a nice striped seaperch

••• Note — Now I don’t want to say that some of the people in my old Mendocino County stomping grounds are a bit strange, but… from the Barbary Coast Dive Club Newsletter of September, 1999: “Another highlight of the weekend was the Drowning Woman Parade on the Point Arena Pier. According to the locals, the Festival is a response to the annual Burning Man festival that is held in the Nevada desert. The parade featured a number of revealing, wacky costumes like a guy with a pig head mask who was walking around wearing a giant dildo…Perhaps next year the BCD club can enter a float in the parade. Any ideas…?” My suggestion would be to stick to diving.

••• Note Who doesn’t like a feel good nature story?

‘THE ALBATROSS IS BACK’ — Mr. Al B. Tross has a following at Point Arena

The “Cove Coffee” shop at the Point Arena pier held a modest crowd, with people sipping hot brew and peering at their newspapers shortly after 7 a.m. Saturday. Then the front door was flung open.

“The albatross is back!” a young, bearded man announced. “Just saw him come in and land.”

The customers all nodded and smiled. They were relieved, because the bird had vanished for almost a week. It was easy to understand why someone might get excited about seeing a bird with a 6- to 7-foot wingspan sail into the home cove. I jumped from my table and went to take a look.

This illustrious visitor is a legendary bird locals had named Mr. Al B. Tross, a wandering Laysan Albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis) who has wintered at this harbor in southern Mendocino County for fourteen consecutive seasons. Though the phenomenon of “”agrants” — individual birds who depart or are blown away from customary migratory routes — is well-known in the birding world, this albatross is something special. He’s not simply dropping by. It seems he has adopted Point Arena as his winter home.

—Paul McHugh, San Francisco Chronicle, February 1, 2007

This sign sits near the front of the pier

••• Note —  The Point Arena high school mascot is the “Pirates” but perhaps a better name would be “beavers” since Point Arena is the home of an endangered species of beaver—the Point Arena Mountain Beaver (Aplodontia rufa nigra). The beaver, a sub-species of Mountain Beaver is only found in a 24 square mile area around Point Arena

A typical mix of fish — rockfish, greenling and perch

History Note.  Originally home to the Native American Pomo Tribe, the first European to “discover” Point Arena and give it a name was the Spaniard Bartolomé Ferrelo who named it Cabo de Fortunas (Spanish for “cape of fortunes”) in 1543.

A little over two hundred years later, in 1775, the cape was renamed Punta Delgado (narrow point) by lieutenant Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra (commander of the schooner Sonora), part of a royal expedition chartered by the government of Mexico to map the north coast of Alta California.

However, by the late 18th century the common name among sailors for the point and town south of the point seems to have been Barra de Arena (sand bar) which in turn became Punta de Arenas (sandy point). This name was eventually Americanized into Point Arena.

Early wharf and chute — 1884

Prior to the 1860s Point Arena was one of many sites along this stretch of coast that utilized chutes and wire trapeze rigging to bring supplies to local residents while loading the small coastal schooners with redwood lumber, dairy products, hides and other exports destined for San Francisco and beyond.

Arena Cove — 1896

Most of these ports were so small they were called dog-hole ports—since they supposedly were just big enough to allow a dog to get in and out. Dozens of these were built, and almost any small cove or river outlet was a prime candidate for a chute. Luckily, the captains of these schooners were masters of their art and were able to get out of places like Hard Scratch and Nip-and-Tuck.

Point Arena got its first store in 1859 and a real wharf in 1866. With a prime location, roughly 40 miles south of Fort Bragg and 110 miles northwest of San Francisco, Point Arena became the most active port between San Francisco and Eureka during the booming logging period of the 1870s (in fact at one time the cove had two wharfs). Steam schooners like the Seafoam, Pomo and Point Arena made regular runs along the Mendocino coast.

Unfortunately shipwrecks occurred at the point at an alarming rate so a lighthouse was needed and the original Point Arena Lighthouse was constructed in 1870; this lighthouse was destroyed by the 1906 earthquake and later replaced.

In the years since 1866, Point Arena has seen several wharves, testimony to the killer storms (primarily from the south) and waves that periodically thrash the cove. The storm in 1983 was only the latest but it ended the life of the old pier and resulted in the building of a completely new pier in 1987, a pier that hopefully will be better able to weather the storms.

The pier before the 1983 storm

Mendocino Coast Ravaged By Storm

Thousands of coast residents remained without power this morning in the wake of wind and heavy rains from the winter’s roughest storm, but damage was light throughout the inland areas of the county…

Point Arena, at the county’s southern tip, was the hardest hit. Waves, wind and localized flooding caused the collapse of two buildings near the water at Point Arena Cove and smashed through the front windows of the Cove Café.

Eight people were caught inside the restaurant and its rear buildings when the high water struck, but all were rescued without injury.

“My little boy was trapped,” Betty Moran said. “I floated around and started screaming for help. I was afraid that another wave would come and force them to leave me.”

“I was in the building taking a shower when it happened,” said Dori Fox, daughter of the restaurant’s owner.

“I was standing in there looking out the window like I always do and then I saw a wave coming eye level.”

 “I’ve never been so scared in my life. The water was coming in all over — under the door, up the drain. I got out of the house, and people were running all over screaming.”

Fox, 26, said she had lived there all her life and never seen such high surf.

Along with the destroyed boathouse and outbuildings, raging seas demolished much of the Point Arena Cove pier, built during the last century to load timber ships…

—Charles Rappleye, Ukiah Daily Journal, January 27, 1983

The storm and its aftermath

All storm pictures courtesy of Nicholas King and from his EXCELLENT book The Great Disaster at Arena Cove (a recommended purchase if interested in local history of Mendocino County).

Today the nearest oceanfront pier to the north is at Trinidad, a nautical distance of 131 miles. Such was not the case back in the late 1800s. There were a number of true wharves along the Mendocino and Humboldt coasts including those at the Navarro River, Albion, Little River, Caspar, Noyo Harbor, and Fort Bragg (where C.R. Johnson built a wharf at Soldiers Harbor Cove in 1885). To the north was Roger’s Wharf at Westport (which was called Beal’s Landing in the 1860s and Westport after the late 1870s). Eventually Westport had two wharves. Further north, a wharf was built at Rockport in 1876 by W.R. Miller; at the time it was built it was claimed to be among the finest on the coast. Bear Harbor had its own wharf until it was washed away by a tidal wave in 1899. Across the county line, in Humboldt County, a 900-foot-long wharf was built at Shelter Cove in 1886.

Smaller dog-hole ports (which generally had a chute, sometimes a modified type of wharf, but rarely a true wharf) came and went depending on the health of their lumber mills. Still remembered were those at Iversen’s Landing and Saunders Landing, which were south of Point Arena.  Rollerville (near the Garcia River), Greenwood Cove (where Casket Wharf operated until 1929), and Cuffey Cove, were located south of the Navarro River. Mendocino, Cleone, Newport, Kibesilla, Union Landing, Juan Creek (McFall’s Landing) and Hardy Creek are/were all located in central to northern parts of the county still located on Highway 1. Usal, Northport, Little Jackass Gulch and Needle Rock were found in the territory that today is called the “Lost Coast.” Most of these date from the 1860s to 1880s and many today are just history. Although Humboldt and Del Norte counties both saw extensive timber operations in the late 1800s, most of their movement of logs was done by railroad.

Although stories of people fishing on the wharves are to be expected, what is really interesting are the stories of fish caught off the chutes. The chutes weren’t always as safe as wharves, but some people, especially kids, would hardly be stopped just because there was a little danger.

Looking up from the water

Point Arena Pier Facts

Hours: Open 24 hours a day.

Facilities: Restrooms with toilets, coin-operated showers, fish cleaning stations, free parking, some benches, night lighting, boat launching (up to 5 tons and 27 feet) are all available on or near the pier. Food is available at the Arena Cove Bar and Grill just a few feet from the foot of the pier. Bait and tackle is available near the foot of the pier. Picnic tables are available near the front of the pier. Private Sportfishing boats are also available some years; check with the harbormaster at (707) 882-2583, he usually has the phone numbers of local craft.

Handicapped Facilities: Handicapped parking and handicapped restrooms. The pier surface is concrete and the railing is 40 inches high. Not marked for handicapped.

How To Get There: From the south, turn left from Hwy. 1 onto Iverson Ave., which will turn into Port Rd. Simply, follow the road to the pier. From the north, turn right onto Port Rd. and follow it to the pier.

Management: City of Point Arena.

Largest Fish From A California Pier?

A frequent question over the years has been, “what is the largest fish taken from a California pier?” A 453-pound giant (black) sea bass is recorded from Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara in 1925 and there’s an unconfirmed report of a 600-pound giant sea bass taken from the Manhattan Beach Pier in 1929. Huge white sturgeon have been reported and an authenticated catch of a 194-pound sturgeon was made at the Vallejo Pier in 1980. Then there are the sharks and rays. Several 200-pound+ bat rays have been reported including a 203-pound bat ray at Stearns Wharf in 2004. However, the official record is only an 181-pound bat ray taken from the Huntington Beach Pier in 1978. There have been several reports of huge 7-gill sharks from a variety of piers but pictures show most to be under 200 pounds. And finally, there’s the 200-pound hammerhead shark reported from the Newport Pier. Even given the size of those fish, I have not been able to find any records of a fish approaching the following in size — a shark taken from the Newport Pier back in 1923.

Big Shark Is Snagged And Then Shot

Newport Beach, Oct. 30—A genuine “man eating” shark, fourteen feet long and weighing approximately 1800 pounds, said to be the largest fish ever caught from the Newport Pier, was hauled to land shortly after 2 o’clock Monday afternoon by Frank Claudenia.

The battle between the huge sea monster and Claudenia waged only for fifteen minutes when onlookers, realizing that the catch at the end of the line was of such nature that it could not probably have been landed, made for their homes for a rifle which which to shoot the monster.

R. J. Shaffer of this city, who had been fishing on the pier, was the first to reach shore and return with a rifle. He immediately took four shots at the monster. The last of the shots succeeded in hitting the “man eater” in a vital spot and he floated quietly on the water. A team of horses was secured to draw him upon the beach.

The news of the large catch soon spread and hundreds of persons from both Balboa and Newport rushed to see the huge fish.

Fishermen immediately had a considerable discussion concerning the species of the monster. Several declared that the fish was a mackerel shark and others declared that they knew it to be of the “man eater” species. One fisherman, who professed to know, declared that he had killed scores of this species which he generally found at a considerable distance from shore, and declared that this was as close to a “man eater” as he had ever seen if it was not a genuine shark of the “man eating” variety.

According to the version of the catch as explained by Claudenia, the monster had tackled several hooks of other fishermen but had succeeded in breaking their lines. The fish then took his bait which consisted of a three pound mackerel and started for deep water. While he held him others ran for a rifle and the huge sea monster’s life was soon ended.

The large fish has been hauled beneath the pier and will be preserved and kept whole for a while and will be placed on exhibition.

—Santa Ana Register, October 30, 1923

Within a few months the story had made it into newspapers throughout the United States. Herein one version, shorter and slightly different than the original.

Take Giant Shark On Hook—Sea Monster 15 Feet Long Weighed 1,800 Pounds

A shark 15 feet long, weighing about 1,800 pounds and 57 inches in circumference was caught off the Newport pier by Frank Claudenia. He had been after jewfish when the shark swallowed his hook. The big fish pounded the piling and put up a fight until he was shot with a rifle by Rube Schaffer. When the shark was finally brought into the surf a team of horses was hitched on and the fish pulled ashore. The fish is what is known as a mackerel or bone shark and is a sea scavenger. It is not of the man-eating variety.

—The Evening Standard, Uniontown, Pennsylvania, December 12, 1923

Of course some people might ask if the fish can even be considered a record catch? It certainly would not meet the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) rules or the rules used by the California Fish and Wildlife Department. And, if it was indeed a Great White Shark, it would no longer be a legal species to take.

Nevertheless, it is probably the largest fish ever taken by an angler from a California pier. Back in those days many anglers used heavy gear for the giant (black) sea bass and the combination of heavy tackle and a quickly procured rifle meant the landing of a true monster from the deep.

The fact that such large sharks inhabit the waters at Newport Beach should not come as a surprise. Several large sharks have been sighted and several large sharks have been caught by local commercial fishermen.

Another Shark Is Snagged At Newport Beach

Fred Gunther, known to his friends in Newport Beach as “Shorty,” apparently is out to break the world’s record for catching sharks with hook and line. Sunday he landed a 16-foot, 2500-pound man-eating shark, which he had battled from time to time, for three years. Today he pulled in a 10-foot hammerhead shark, weighing 300 pounds.

Gunther claimed that the shark which he caught Sunday was the one that got away from him three years ago, after the fisherman had speared it several times. He pointed to spear marks on the fish as proof of his story.

The shark caught early today was one of the most peculiar looking sea denizens seen in Newport Beach in recent years, according to fishermen. Its eyes are 32 inches apart. Gunter will exhibit his catches within the next few days and, in the meantime, he is out after more sharks.

 —Santa Ana Register, October 20, 1926

One of the most famous (and controversial) sharks taken in the Newport area was one caught approximately 100 yards out from the end of the Balboa Pier. Local commercial fisherman Ted Phegley in his 16-foot dory boat took the shark, an estimated 12-foot-long, 1,400-pound great white, on January 29, 1960. Although he was fishing for white seabass, he managed to net and capture the huge great white that, at the time, was considered one of the largest “whites” ever taken along the Pacific Coast. It was soon hauled into shore and hung up on block and tackle near the Crab Cooker Restaurant in Newport Beach. That weekend, crowds estimated at 20-50 thousand people swarmed to Newport Beach to see the “man-eater.”

I say controversial simply because of the size. It is based upon newspaper accounts that appeared at the time of the capture (and which are posted on the wall at the Crab Cooker). When I asked “Snookie,” our local Orange County expert to review the Pier Fishing In California section on Balboa Pier she sent me the following: “Ted Phegley’s shark was actually 11 feet, 2 inches long and weighed 775 pounds. He was assisted in the landing by the 40-foot commercial fishing boat Crusader who passed by, hove to and helped Phegley land the shark. They used a winch to get the shark to the top of the water and then looped a rope over its tail to make it immovable. It was taken to McCarthy’s Dock in Newport and hoisted and weighed still alive. It almost snapped a 4 x 6 dock rail in two with its teeth in a last effort to escape. This was the second great white for Phegley. The July before he hauled in a smaller one in approximately the same location.”

Now I know that some of you good readers think that newspapers are always accurate and filled with stimulating, factual information (which is, of course, never biased) but I have a lot of faith in “Snookie.” Whatever the size of the fish, (and there’s quite a measurable mathematical difference between 775 and 1,400 pounds) there is no disagreement that the fish was very, very big.

A Newport Great White at the Crab Cooker Restaurant

Today the fish is stuffed and hangs in the main dining room at the Crab Cooker Restaurant, just across the street from the Newport Pier. Sort of a stuffed fish watching humans stuff themselves on fish. If you visit the restaurant do make sure you view the fish and also look inside the mouth at the rows of teeth. Behind the main row of teeth are several other rows of teeth ready to slip down and replace teeth that the white has lost for whatever reason.

Great White Shark closes beach

Newport Beach (AP)—A 20-foot Great White shark approaching within 20 yards of one of California’s most popular beaches is a rare sight — proving enough of a scare to convince officials to close a five-mile stretch of beach.

The beach was reopened Friday morning about 18 hours after the estimated 20-foot Great White shark cruised within 20 yards of the shore and within three feet of a lifeguard’s boat.

The shark was eventually frightened by a helicopter sent to track it and swam out to sea, authorities said.

About 30 people were ordered  from the water near the Balboa Pier after the shark was seen roaming near the beach at 3:44 p.m. Thursday, said lifeguard Eric Bauer.

“We have verified it as a great white, about a 20-footer,” Bauer said. After confirming the sighting, water along the five-mile length of Newport Beach was evacuated, he said.

—San Bernardino County Sun, May 14, 1988

13th Annual Mud Marlin Derby — 2014

The 13th Annual Mud Marlin Derby was held at the Berkeley Pier on May 17, 2014 from 6PM until midnight.

Berkeley Pier

The mission was to (1)  catch and release some cute little (or huge monster) mud marlin, aka bat rays; (2)  meet up with some fellow “pier rats” from the “Pier Rat Nation”;  (3) for some – to win the derby and/or raffle prizes. Mission #1 was only accomplished by four people; Mission #2 was largely accomplished, and, as expected, Mission #3 was limited to a several people.

Some halibut had been caught earlier

The official list showed 72 people signed in although we think the actual total was slightly higher since some people did not sign in. Those who signed in (and apologies since some signatures were hard to decipher)—Matthew, Richard Samms, Wa Moua, Nai Moua, Choua Thao. Twan Sysengchanh, Steven Kha, Logan Freda, Dylan Zimmerman (?), Damon Knudson, Orlan Gumban, Christopher Fajardo, Michael Karam, Sargon Tomy, Albert Karam, Chris Karam, Dave Clingman, Bob Griffin, Adam Vanul, Robert Gardner, Cory Ferry, Michael Shephard, Matt Galvin, April Galvin, Richard Vang, Cher Xiong, Abduhl ?, Danity Donohm, Shea Donohm, Justin Looking, Josephine Mayorga, Nick Messer, Ezequiel (Zeg) Fajardo Igor K, Wesley Harris, Juan Duran, Manuel Chavez, Nicolas Chavarria, George Vue, Mason Vue, Xing Vue Mova, Serg Vang, Devonte Fortson, Thomas Graytan, Abe ?, Brian ?, Hans Jones, Hans Jones Jr., Reubin Aguilar, Ashley Mercure, Cole Dunlap, Steve Timbroar, Robert Oakes, Robert Munoz, Anthony Gaspar, Julio Marciel, Richard Velarde, Jonathan Steele, Frank Rasheed, Andy Szostek, Richard McIntosh, Ken Jones, Ignacio Carbajac, Ken Murakami, Alan Kurosawa, Robert Zasta, Daniel Pedrelra, Mark Ervin, Johnny Guinowes, Andrew Lozoya, Leslie Townsend, and Ana Townsend.

Anglers getting ready for the derby

Rods

Some notes: I arrived at the pier about 3:45 and decided to fish for a few minutes by the inshore rocks. Unfortunately the waves were slapping the rocks, conditions just weren’t right for perch, and although I tried under and around the restrooms I failed to get a single bite. However, imagine my surprise when I heard a girl screaming “Oh my God, there’s a stingray in the toilet” as she rushed out of the restroom. Perplexed, I went into the room and sure enough there was a fish, a thornback ray, lodged in the toilet looking up. I took my pliers, removed the fish, and assured the girl she could now safely use the toilet. But really… a fish in the toilet?

Thornback (Toilet) Ray

 Eventually I decided to head out to the derby area. Along the way I was checking for fish and one angler, Marcus (?), had two nice-sized halibut that he had taken earlier. Snapped a picture of the fish and moved on. Out by the third sink area I ran into Matt and Josh and that’s where I decided to set up shop. Relived some old times with Matt including his first fish reports to me back in 1998 and our meeting up at the Pacific Pier that same year (where he had caught a nice striped bass). Met Josh and saw pictures of the two halibut he had caught earlier in the morning. Matt had journeyed down from Reno, Josh from Sacramento, and unfortunately they had only experienced two bites, and had gotten two fish, during the entire time at the pier. Things were slow and when combined with a bone-chilling wind it looked like it might be a long night.

Josh and Matt

 The evening would indeed turn out to be windy and cold and the fish were few. However, the company was good and the time passed quickly. (And, the wind even died down around 10pm.)

• I had a nice chat with Dave Klingman (West Coast Dave) who had brought several people with him from Sacramento. Dave showed me the pictures of (many) pink salmon that he caught at the Dash Point Fishing Pier in Washington last year and expressed sorrow that he had not had a chance to visit GDude in Vancouver during his trip. (And I too missed making the trip north last summer, GDude’s last.) I didn’t realize it until our talk but he and GDude had been the only two people to make it to every Mud Marlin Derby and now, with GDude’s passing, Dave has the lone distinction of being at every MMD

.• One of the pleasures was spending some time with Leslie and Ana Townsend. Ana had never been fishing and her mom had brought her out to the pier expecting a short visit. However, Ana was really interested in fishing so she was set up with a rod and reel (by Matt and Josh) and tried to catch a fish. Unfortunately she did not catch a fish but at least she got to hold up the bat ray that Big Rich caught and hopefully will return for the kid’s fishing derby in June.

Ana and Leslie Townsend

 • Biggest and fanciest carts – I think this honor went to Bob Griffin who’s been making it out to the piers for years. His cart seems to hold everything needed and it even has two rod holders attached to the top. Yes, a true pier rat.

Bob Griffin and his pier cart

• Met a good group of guys that fish the Martinez Pier on a regular basis and heard a little about the sturgeon fishing at the pier. I need to make a trip over there to fish with them and get some tips.

• Food — As always, the food was excellent. Brian did most of the cooking along with a little help from Big Rich, Hans and Matt. Brian was cooking the chili, hot dogs, bratwurst, and hot links, while Hans cooked up some excellent “dog bites” in a BBQ sauce. Finishing up the food was some fresh halibut fillets donated by Matt and Josh. Robert donated water.

Brian Linebarger and Hans Jones cooking

 • The Derby Winners were: 1st—Richard Velarde with a 37-pound (47-inch wingspan) bat ray;

Richard Velarde —1st Place Winner

2nd—Igor Klyashchitsky with a 33-pound (43-inch wingspan) bat ray;

Igor K — 2nd Place Winner

3rd—Richard Vang with a 13-pound (27-inch wingspan) bat ray. Being edged out by Igor’s fish at nearly midnight was Big Rich who had caught the first bat ray of the night, a 4-pound (12-inch wingspan) bat ray.

 

Richard Vang — 3rd Place Winner

• Special thanks to: (1) Brian Linebarger for setting up and hosting the event for the seventh year in a row (as well as the cooking). Brian has now moved north which will limit his time at these events and Hans Jones is scheduled to be next year’s host. (2) Richard McIntosh (Big Rich) for his help in many ways including picking Brian up at the airport, helping Brian get the various supplies, and providing some muscle power to get everything out onto the pier. (3) Hans Jones for rounding up some nice raffle prizes as well as helping with the cooking.

“Big Rich” McIntosh and Ken Jones

Hans Jones and the owner of the Castro Valley Sportsman’s Center

that donated raffle prizes

Thanks also goes to both the Castro Valley Sportsman’s Center and the Berkeley Marina Pro Shop. Included in their donations were an American series Seeker rod, a Daiwa Regal 3500 reel, a Penn Fierce reel, and an Okuma V system reel. In addition there were many smaller prizes. Hans Jones donated three crab snares that he made. The Berkeley shop also had a raffle for people who had purchased bait for the derby through the shop and awarded an Ugly Stik as a prize at the derby.

Raffle Prize Winners

Big Rich and a baby mud marlin (bat ray)

Weighing the bat ray

Ana and Leslie Townsend


 

The 2008 Avila Pier Get Together —

In 2008 a group of anglers from pierfishing.com (Pier Fishing In California) had a Get-Together at the Central California town of Avila. Unfortunately, I couldn’t be there but they had a great time — and caught several nice halibut. Herein the messages from the people that attended.

The group at the Get Together

(Front row: Huntress and friend, Sylvana, red fish (Robert) — Back row: KingfisherBro (Matthew), Kingfisher, Keli Cruise and wife Cindy, mahigeer (Hashem), kelpangler (Eugene), Gordo Grande (Ross) and wife, illcatchanything2 (Brian) and riorust (Dave)

Date: August 24, 2008

To: PFIC Message Board

From: Gordo Grande

Subject: Mid-State Get-Together Aftermath…

It’s Sunday night, and I’m still dead tired, but I can’t go to bed without posting a report. I think our first mid-state get-together was a smashing success, and everyone involved said we have to do it again. Many thanks to Santa who helped with the planning and did quite a bit of scouting ahead of time. Our first surprise of the day was when Santa found out that the police weren’t ticketing parked cars around the pier. We thought we were all in for some long walks from the free parking zones, but it turns out that we were able to park right next to the pier the whole time. It sure saved a lot of wear and tear on our feet.

Santa (Mike Spence) and Mrs. Santa (Cheryl)

The next surprise was when I spotted a certain mad Turkish/Iranian strolling the pier, who had surprised us with his attendance. The shock was almost too much for me, and I attempted to leap from the pier in fear, only to be pulled back in by my family members.

We had a great turnout for our inaugural event, although we were disappointed that several people who signed up couldn’t make it. However, that usually happens with GTs to some extent, so we didn’t let it stop us from having a good time. Most of the folks congregated in the mid-pier area, thanks to the advice of our locals, Polishfromthedeep (Karl), Kingfisher (Brian), and his little brother, KingfisherBro (Mathew). These guys knew this pier well, and they were tuned in perfectly to the halibut bite. Polish drew first blood with a legal hali, soon followed by Kingfisher and KingfisherBro. Between the three of them, I think they pulled in 5 halis, four of which were legal.

Their technique was flawless. I’ll let them fill you in on the details, if they think it’s a good idea. It’s up to them to do so, because I wouldn’t want to blow up a good spot by giving away their trade secrets. Suffice it to say, I was grateful for their advice, and used it as best as I could.

As usual for our GTs, we weren’t wanting for good eats. Hashem (aka BananaMan) brought along some cioppino, which he heated up on a propane grill beneath the restaurant at the foot of the pier. Riorust’s pal Ken made some killer ceviche. Kcruise and Mrs. Kcruise contributed greatly in the sandwich department, and Santa brought along a ton of eats as well. Next year I’ll try to remember to bring along a table so we can set it all up on the pier. Please forgive me if I’ve forgotten to mention anyone’s contribution.

These little sea stars provided us with some cheap entertainment. There didn’t seem to be any crabs at this pier, but the sea stars took their place, snatching bait every chance they got. It seemed they would wait for something to hit a bait, and if the bait died these guys would grab on for dear life. Several of us brought up half-eaten mackerels with sea stars wrapped around them. This is Kcruise’s better half, Cindy, showing off one of the little critters.

Dave (riorust) + sea stars = cheap entertainment

Sea star and the mackerel bait it enveloped

Of course, the high point of the day for me was catching this beast [angel shark], who hit a live mackerel. I was using the same technique that the guys were using to catch all the hali’s. As I was pulling it up I thought it was a ray, because that was the way he was fighting. No headshakes, just a lot of dead weight and an effort to get under the pier. I was able to horse him away from the pier and out of the kelp, where he was expertly netted by Kcruise. Many thanks for the assist, Kel. See, El Gordo actually does catch fish from time to time. Santa was nice enough to clean him for me, because he knew an amateur like me would botch the job. It took him about an hour-and-a-half from start to finish. He and I split the filets, and mine are destined for the vacuum packer in the morning. BTW, I’m happy to report that this beast was hauled in on my G-dude Special, custom wrapped Rainshadow Forecast, 8 ft. 2-piece rod which I won at the Fred Hall Show last year. The reel was a Penn 535 GS spooled with 20 lb. mono.

Ross Kestin (Gordo Grande), Kelli Cruise (kcruise), and an angel shark

It’s always great seeing Redfish who, with his girlfriend Sylvana (did I get that right?), comprised our Northern California contingent. Please forgive me if I got her name wrong. I think catching this guy made Red’s trip down the coast worthwhile.

            At the risk of forgetting someone, the attendees were Gordo and family, Santa and Mrs. Santa, I’llcatchanything2 (great to finally meet you Brian), Polishfromthedeep, Kingfisher and Kingfisherbro, Kcruise and family, Huntress and friend, Red and friend, Riorust and pal Ken, Kelpangler and family, and a certain mad Turkish/Iranian. Here’s my best version of the group shot. Next time I think we should shoot the group shot first so we don’t lose anyone.

Posted by kcruise

Great to meet folks and put a lot of faces to names! We had Rats from all over show up! The weather was great for this as well. And the 6 or so hali’s and one angel shark really made for a great day. Looking forward to the next gathering.

Kelli Cruise and his wife Cindy

Kelli Cruise and Cindy caught several small squid

Posted by kingfisher

Yesterday was AWSOME to say the least.  Beautiful weather, perfect size baitfish, good fishing, and of course GREAT company and food.  It was great to finally put faces with names. Aanyways back to the fish… caught one hali about 26 inches and my little brother caught some too… but you’ll have to wait for him tell you about it. Thanks again for organizing this,  Both my bro and I had loads of fun.

Matthew (KingfisherBro) and a nice halibut

Posted by PolishFromTheDeep

I had an awesome time!  It was definitely cool to meet everybody and to catch some nice fish while we were at it…. sorry i had to book but i BARELY had enough time to get to work. Thanks again to everyone who organized the event, especially Ross. Ps. next time I will have some more funds and I’ll bring/ make some food…. maybe something Polish

Karl (PolishFromTheDeep) and a halibut

 Posted by Gordo Grande

The angel shark taped out at about 45 inches, and weighed 25 lbs on the little scale I keep in my tackle box. It took Santa about 90 minutes to clean the darn thing. Almost forgot… thanks to Kingfisher and KingfishersBro for the halibut filets. My wife is going to love them!

Posted by illcatchanything2

Again, thanks to all who set up a great GT. It was a blast. Great meeting everyone, and I cant wait until the next one. I was bummed at having to leave early, and really bummed at missing GG pull up that shark (good job). Thanks again, and congrats to all on some great fishing!!

Posted by kelpangler

Sorry I missed ya polish, but nice to meet the others for the first time like kcruise and family, kingfisher and his bro (showcasing your fishing skills), redfish and his gf, and illcatchanything. Great to see Santa and the SoCal regulars, too. Avila turned out to be a perfect location with its nice beach town atmosphere and picturesque pier. Lots of bait–perfectly sized mackerel on Saturday and plenty of anchovies on Sunday–and a good number of halibut coming over the rail, but I still came away empty-handed. No problem, Hashem kept me entertained. Ross, thanks for taking time out of your own vacation to plan this get-together for us. Looking forward to next time, maybe Monterey?

Eugene (kelpangler) on the right and Sylvana

 Posted by pier roller

Boy I am sorry I missed that party, I just could not make it down there… What rig set up did you use for the halibut and what kind of bait did you use?

Posted by Gordo Grande

Sorry I didn’t mention the rigging. We were all using sliding egg sinkers tipped with live mackerels that we caught there at the pier.

Posted by Mahigeer

[Edited] We got to the pier around 9:00AM. We parked at the Front St. and planned to be back before the 3hrs. dead line. Later I found out from the bait shop owner that the city in order to calm the angry residents, does not give ticket for staying longer. I told Santa about it and in turn he told Gordo. That made it very convenient but slightly risky.

We set up at the deep end and the first family we met was the Kcruise and company. They set up on the other side and we fished and socialized together.  Next was either polishfromthedeep or Santa. I asked everybody that I met to be sure that they did not say anything about me being there.

I really wanted to surprise Gordo, and even went to the length of having Dave ask questions on the board on my behalf before the gathering. Everybody cooperated and Mr. GG was surprised when he saw me coming and pulling my pier cart. He wanted to jump in to the water. His family prevented him. Personally I would have let him jump. Maybe then I could have gotten the big angel shark.

Well it was lunchtime and I was told that I could heat up the Cioppino at the beach. I had six bags of Trader Joe’s Cioppino plus another bag of frozen seafood in a large pot. Due to the large mass, some prevailing wind, and the small burner, the darn thing took 3Hrs. to boil. All that I time, I am hearing that halibut was being caught but I had to stay with the food. Fortunately for me Teddy Bear (Mrs. Claus) was there to keep me company and provide me with missing items. Dave and some other rats, were in and out and helping. Ken the master chef, sautéed the seafood and I added it to the mix. Finally I moved the “soup kitchen” to the pier and started serving Cioppino and Ceviche. From the looks of it, they were a success. Along with other food and drinks and so on provided by others, we did not starve. Later I distributed some items courtesy of NOAA.

The live bait on my rod was mostly ignored by the fish. Ken and Eugene and his relative and Kcruise were getting bait to share so I did not bother with bait fishing. Halibut or bust for me. Around 7:00PM we headed back to our camp.  

Hashem (Mahigeer) and a pigeon

Posted by red fish

I think I will add a few highlights of my venture from the Bay. First of all, thanks for the fine job of netting Hashem, and the tip about Snookie fishing light… I caught that fish on 8# test on the “bait-rod” with 3/4 oz. egg sinker and 15# leader with the mini-macs we were able to catch for bait.

I had NO idea the thresher aren’t really at Avila, but picked up on that after awhile after I saw the thresher-kings, Kingfisher and PFTD, weren’t fishing for them at the event. Kingfisher told me Pismo and beyond was more of the area to look for them.

Anyway, since I started with the end of the trip, I will just say, starting from the beginning, I made a last minute decision to confirm going after having returned home from Clear Lake one day earlier. A quick rearrangement of just the necessary fishing and camping gear, and a mad dash south on 880 to 101, cut through the Salinas Valley and King City… and away we go… BTW-was lucky enough to make reservations at Avila Hot Springs Camp/RV just the day before. Ended up getting out of town Friday at 2:45p and ending up in Avila at 7pm because there was a little traffic way down on the way, south end of Silicon Valley almost down to Gilroy. Showed up at Hot Springs, looked over our site, and decided to see if we could find accommodations at a hotel perhaps the first night instead of pitching the tent at that point.

Ended up in Pismo (because there is a greater selection of motels than Avila) and ended up at the Beachwalker Inn for $99 after consulting a local store owner at the market on Main St. He says, “There is a place just to the right of the gas station on the corner.” The first hotel on the corner was a dump at $69, but a stone’s throw from it on the same block was the Beachwalker Inn (much like a Best Western).

I find out later ICA is like the next hotel over at the Seal Beach Inn. Important stuff to know, because we ventured to Avila, and the gal at the Light House Inn at Avila was like:, “sure, we have a room, #206, that will be #345.00 and it has an ocean view.” BTW, lucked up and saw Hashem, Dave, and Ken just leaving Avila as we drove up looking around when we first arrived after leaving the Light House. So, after a little more investigation, we find that there is a really good fish n’ chips place on Front St. after almost breaking the bank at Gieuseppe’s Restorante Italiano.

So, later that evening (Friday) after settling in, we take a walk and discover Pismo Beach Pier is (2) blocks away from where we are lodging. Saw a couple guys out there as by now it is 11p. The next day, I’m like: “bait rigs, damn, should have stopped at Long’s in Rockridge (Oakland) before I left.” Well, after a little misdirection, I find out from a brief inquiry that there is a plethora of stores just 3 miles south of Pismo, first on the west side of the freeway, then on the east side. So, finally, I see the Rite-Aid, KMart. and finally the WalMart where I score the $1.54 Blackbelt Sabiki’s with the #6 hooks to make bait with. A couple of packs of hot dogs, hot dog buns, a half-case of soda, and away we go to Avila… about 1:15p Saturday afternoon now.

Robert (red fish) and Sylvana

Luck was still with us as we showed up at Avila and got a parking spot on the street as someone was just coming out. Was met and greeted by Santa and his merry helpers and was able to use Santa’s cart to haul my stuff to the boardwalk and onto the pier. *The fishing stuff is covered in the reports from this point* After the event, pitched a tent at Hot Springs as we were able to cancel our first night’s RSVP and opt for one-night-only Saturday night. It was pretty cool because they let us check in early, pitch our tent around 12:45pm, and then we continued down the road straight ahead to the event.Later, at the end of the event, we came back and had pizza in the restaurant at Hot Spings, and later joined Hashem, Dave, and Ken for Rakki, a blazing fire, and post-event-conversation. In the morning, it was a beeline back to the Bay heading out at 10am right after Hashem’s group for the 242.78 mile drive ahead. Was going to stop at Hearst Castle, but motored on. I was thinking about Anderson’s Split Pea too (as I have seen their hwy billboard for years)… oh well, another time!

Robert (red fish) and a nice halibut

Posted by Gordo Grande

Started eating my shark today. I took a couple a couple of big fillets, added the halibut that Kingfisher gave me, and some shrimp, and made a big pot of Cioppino!  Man, it was good! You guys were right…that shark is definitely good eating.

Pictures taken by Hashem (Mahigeer), Kelli Cruise, and Ross Kestin (Gordo Grande)

James Liu, 1966-2014 — RIP

 

James at the Cabrillo Mole on Catalina at the 2013 PFIC-UPSAC Get Together  

James Liu (GDude), a good friend, a fishing companion, and truly one of the finest men I have known, has died and I must admit that I am heartbroken by his passing. I just wish I could somehow prevent the pain his family is suffering. Born in 1966 and died in 2014, simple dates but they show a still fairly young man who leaves family and friends stunned with his passing. Unfortunately, those dates do not do justice to someone who impacted so many lives in such a positive manner.

James was a big man with a big heart, always ready to help out where needed, willing to selflessly give of his time and money, and willing to work longer and harder than most can imagine. James had a brilliant mind as evidenced by his degrees and jobs but what was truly brilliant was his ability to achieve so much success in so many different endeavors. Success helping out his children’s schools, success with UPSAC (United Pier and Shore Anglers of California), success with the Boy Scouts, and success with a plethora of other organizations. Most important though was the success he achieved with his own family, his loving and supportive wife Dora, and his three wonderful children, Warren, Amanda and Elaine. His ability to handle a highly demanding job while at the same time being an exemplary role model for his children is all too rare today. He had high expectations for his children, and they have met the challenge, but he also provided the love and support needed for the challenge and was always the model to be emulated. I rarely use the term great in describing a person but in this case that seems the most appropriate word, a man who achieved greatness in many ways and one who will be missed by all those whose lives he touched.

I recall the words he posted to my Pier Fishing in California message board back in 2005 when Stan Low, another of our PFIC anglers, died: “Each angler carries his own ideas. Some never knew Stan. Some want to honor and pay him tribute. I was the one who wrapped the rod and brought it to Stan’s funeral that folks signed and buried with him. It’s what I would have wanted in his place with so many fishing friends seeing me off and it was the least I could do for Stan and his family on that day.”

We cannot place a rod in James’ hand for eternity, but we can honor his death and remember the grace, humility and kindness he showed to us all.

A collection of pictures over the years —

2002 Green Pleasure Pier, Avalon, Catalina Island

2002 — The group picture at Catalina

2003 — James, a lobster, and some fishin’ buds at the Green Pleasure Pier

2003 — The group picture at Catalina

2004 — James releasing an under-sized sheephead at the Cabrillo Mole

2004 — Warren and Amanda helping with the raffle

2004 —The Liu family (James, Dora, Warren, Amanda) at the Goleta Pier Get Together

2004 — James at Furry Creek near the home he owned in British Columbia

 2005 — James at the Cabrillo Mole at Avalon, Catalina Island

2005 — Group picture at Catalina

 2005 — James and Warren fishing at Redwoods Shore

2005 — James working at the Romberg Center in Tiburon on an environmental project for the bay

2006 — GDude hauling in a bonito, his favorite fish,  at the Cabrillo Mole

2006 — GDude and a bonito at the Cabrillo Mole

2006 — Group picture at Catalina

2007 — Another bonito at Catalina

2007 — Bonito at Catalina

2007 — Group picture at Catalina

2007 — Helping teach the “Ethical Angler” class at the Goleta Pier

2008 — Fish on!

2008 — Another bonito at Catalina

2008 — The lineup at the Mole

2008 — James at Catalina

2008 — James, Amanda and Hashem at Catalina

2008 — Group picture at Catalina

2008 — Dedication of the Goleta Pier Angler Center

2008 — James showing Santa Barbara County Supervisor Janet Wolf how to fish

2008 — Interview time with the Supervisor

2008 — The group picture at the Goleta Pier Angler Center

2008 — James teaching a Kids Fishing Class at the Santa Cruz Wharf

2009 — Another bonito at Catalina

2009 — Bonito time

2009 — A beautiful bonito

2009 — Waiting on the bonito 

2009 — A beautiful fish 

2009 —The boys at Catalina

2009 — Warren’s first bonito and a proud Papa

2009 — Group picture at Catalina

 2010 — James helping out at the UPSAC booth at the Fred Hall Show in Long Beach

2010 — The crew at the Fred Hall Show

2010 — James at the Cabrillo Mole

2010 — Pier Rats at the Mole

2010 — Pier Rats at the Mole #2

2010 — James and SteveO at the Mole

2010 — James at Dinner at Mi Casita in Avalon

2010 — Group picture at Catalina

2010 —Kids Fishing Derby at Goleta Pier

2010 —Food for the Kids Fishing Derby at Goleta Pier

2011 — Arrival in Avalon

2011 — James and Adam (Baitfish) at the rail

2011 — Adam getting the net ready

2011 — A bonito!

2011 — Dinner at Mi Casita Restaurant

2011 — Dinner at Mi Casita Restaurant

2011 — James and Adam at the Mole

2011 — James with Robert (Redfish) in the background

2011 — Dinner at Antonio’s

2011 — Dinner at Antonio’s — #2

2011 — Dinner at Antonio’s — #3

2011 — Dinner at Antonio’s — #4

2011 — James at the Mud Marlin (Bat Ray) Derby, Berkeley Pier

2012 — Dinner at Mi Casita

2012 — Group picture

2013 — James at the Cabrillo Mole, Avalon

2013 — James at the Cabrillo Mole, Avalon

2013 — Warren, Amanda and James at the Cabrillo Mole, Avalon

2013 — The Liu Family — Warren, Amanda, James, Eiain, and Dora

2013 — Group picture at the Cabrillo Mole, Avalon

2013 — Kids Fishing Derby, Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara — Brian, Warren, Amanda, James and Elain

2013 — James and Brian at Stearns Wharf

2013 — James at the Kids Fishing Derby, Berkeley Pier

2013 — James at the Kids Fishing Derby, Berkeley Pier

2013 — James at the Kids Fishing Derby, Berkeley Pier

2013 — James at the Kids Fishing Derby, Berkeley Pier

 GDude at Furry River, British Columbia