2007 PFIC/UPSAC Catalina Get Together

The official 2007 Catalina Get Together Logo

This proposed logo finished second among PFIC voters

This proposed logo was considered just a tad bit too risqué

Another Catalina Report—by Ken Jones — More Than You Probably Wanted To Know About The Sixth Annual Catalina Get Together

KJ and Friend

Scene 1A:  It is somewhere around 1 PM on April 20, 2007. An aging, out-of-shape angler stands at the railing of the Cabrillo Mole at Avalon on Catalina Island. The angler is soaked to the skin/bone—and cold. He has a hat, and a hood from his jacket covering his head, but drops of rainfall steadily from the puddle crowning the cap. The Thought-O-Meter LE200 records his thoughts —“Maybe Algore and his Goebell Warning is responsible for this rain? Or perhaps it’s Adam and Rebecca? After all, we never had rain until they gave up their title as hosts and moved to sunny Florida. But wait, I’m one of the ones hosting the event this year; maybe it’s partly my fault! God I hope we don’t have rain tomorrow when we have the tables and food and raffle items and kids and wives and the banner and whatever! No, come on, snap out of it, quit worrying about the rain and be ready for the fish. An opaleye is starting to inhale that shrimp; should I strike now or give it a couple of more milli-seconds? Strike—and fish on! Be cool little fish; come this way instead of heading down into that kelp. A really nice day on the opaleye, just wish I wasn’t so dad blasted cold.”

Scene 1B—Alternative version:  It is somewhere around 1 PM on April 20, 2007.  An angler wearing a semi-transparent, yellow rain poncho over stylized fishing apparel is singing (and dancing?) next to the railing of the Cabrillo Mole at Avalon on Catalina Island.

I’m fishing in the rain — Just fishing at the pier — What a glorious feelin’ — I’m happy again

I’m laughing at clouds — So dark up above — The sun’s in my heart — And I’m ready to fish

Let the stormy clouds chase — Everyone from the Mole — Come on with the rain — I’ve a smile on my face

I stroll down the rail  — With my rod and my reel  — Just fishin’, — Fishin’ in the rain

Why am I smiling — And why do I fish? —Why does Catalina — Seem sunny as spring?

Why do I get up — So early each morn’? — Happy and head up — With joy in my heart

Why is each task — A mere trifle to do? — Because I am living —A life full of you.

Fade to large fish (opaleye or male sheephead) on surface of the water

With apologies to Don Lockwood, lyricist for Singin’ In The Rain.

Yes, Catalina Get Together Number 6 has come and gone once again and, as most years, it reflected a personality all its own.

Quick thoughts: (1) The heavy rain Friday morning didn’t stop anyone from fishing but eventually took its toll. Most were ill prepared as far as “real” raincoats and eventually the coats and layered clothing were wet to the core. In time people were not only watching the water drop in rivulets from brow but were experiencing a cold to the bone feeling that was unexpected on Catalina. Too heavy to be popsicles (with the exception perhaps of JimboJack initially and Scott and Steve later) we looked more like frozen stout bars. However, the slightly more murky water provided some top-notch fishing and that fact, along with the refusal of anyone to cry uncle, led most to brave out the conditions. If Mola Joe can survive snow and ice, we can survive a little wind and rain. However, most were glad (even if they didn’t admit it) when the time came to return to the hotel and change clothing and equipment for the surf derby (which was rain and fish free).

(2) Several of the long-distance, partygoers drove all-nighters this year and, as a result, were really tired out upon arrival. Whereas most years there is a straight line to the motel followed by a straight line to the pier, this year people actually got some sleep and rested before starting their fishing adventure. People were asking where’s GDude, where’s Ben, where’s Minnow Magnet? Little did they know they were enjoying some peaceful bliss before renewing the quest.

(3) The group itself was smaller this year but also very cohesive and seemed to have a really friendly and helpful karma, a somewhat unusual trait for such a disparate group. And while the numbers of fish were down slightly (at least during the actual derby), the number of larger fish like opaleye, legal sheephead and bonito were up, reflections of improved bait—ghost shrimp, and improved technique. A logical extension provided by anglers who had given thought to past experiences.

(4) The only thing that didn’t seem to change was the events designation as the highlight of the year and a call for additional visits—where and when possible. Perhaps unsaid was a little envy by those who had traveled down from the Bay Area, the home of a vast bay that seems at times like an inland sea. Drives of 30-40-50 miles to fish are common. Why, given the short one-hour ferry ride from Long Beach, are there not more southern PFIC members present at Catalina? Even more, why would those who live close not travel over the Catalina Channel several times a year? Would more frequent visits make the experience less special?

KJ and opaleye

The Prelims — There are many things involved in setting up such an event. Luckily the three caballeros—KJ, Ben and Mahigheer —were able to take the past work of Adam and Rebecca, and the lessons they learned, to give us guidance this year. Early on I posted the general specifications—with only a few modifications from what Adam and Rebecca had originally done. Notification and permission to use the Mole was then gained from the Harbormaster. Once that was done we needed to figure out the Friday night “Surf Get Together” and the Saturday “Derby—Food—Raffle.”

We decided to do the Friday dinner at the Buffalo Nickel different this year—pre-pay for dinner, use their menu, etc. (Good thing because we didn’t catch a single fish at Pebble Beach.) Ben was assigned the task of talking to the restaurant manager and events went as planned even though we wound up walking over earlier than expected. Due to a road closure we were even able to get the restaurant to provide transportation to and from the restaurant. For Saturday’s event we needed UPSAC materials stored in San Diego—which Mahigheer drove down and retrieved. With materials on hand and some additional prizes I was able to scrounge up from different sources (including a Beachmaster Rod Holder), we felt we had a decent list of raffle prizes even before seeing GDude’s beautiful rod and reel.

Where’s the banner, where’s the raffle tickets, do we have bags for the fish fillets, do we have cards for the derby and pens to mark them? What about tables and chairs and certificates for the winners? Ben spent part of Wednesday making certificates in his classroom.  Mahigheer and KJ spent part of Wednesday night going through the various materials and figuring out how to carry it to Catalina. Thursday—nothing to do other than the trip itself.

Thursday — A 6:30 journey to Mahigheer’s house resulted in a free breakfast, free storage space for my truck for the next four days, and a loaded van full of the various accouterments needed for the trip. I of course had my pier cart together with a duffel bag and one of Pablo’s rod bags. Mahigheer had his normal equipment plus a cooler filled with prizes for the raffle drawing and extra rods/reels.

Once on our way we headed to San Pedro and Paul’s Bait and Tackle. There we met up with Matt who graciously filled 30 of the large Styrofoam containers full of ghost shrimp—30 per cup. Normally selling for $8.00 a large cup (he also has two smaller sizes) this represented a retail value of $240. I had actually tried to talk Bill the owner into less shrimp but he said no, one cup per person per day and better to be as little over than a little short. This would be free bait for participants for Thursday and Friday. Another load of free live shrimp, 36 containers, was to be picked up by Eugene on Saturday (or a value of $288). All told, Bill and the bait shop donated $528 worth of bait to the Get Together. Everyone at the gathering  (PFIC and UPSAC members alike) should appreciate the donation and I sincerely hope that local anglers who need bait remember this largess and give Bill their business.

Next it was on to the Catalina Landing in Long Beach for the 10 AM boat and one-hour trip over to the island. Unfortunately, at the boarding, Mahigheer was given grief and told his four-wheel cart, heavily loaded with items, would not be allowed to be pushed onto the boat. Instead he would have to hand-carry the items onto the boat and then return for more items. Only problem: a catch 22 situation in which once he carried an item onto the boat he would not be allowed to leave the boat for another trip. What to do? Luckily Gordo Grande was taking the same boat. A couple of additional items were tied down on top of my cart, a couple of additional items were tied down to the top of Gordo’s cart, and Mahigheer has several items piled on top of his big cooler (thankfully one with wheels) while hand carrying his four wheel cart. Once on the boat we all sighed in relief. On the trip back the deckhands jumped right in to help carry everything off of the ship; no such help on the way over. But we made it and didn’t lose a single bag.

Immediately upon arrival we (KJ, Mahigheer and Gordo) headed toward the Hermosa Hotel but on the way we saw Harry (Graybeard) eating breakfast and told him to join us in fishing when he finished. We then checked in at the hotel, unpacked our fishing equipment, and headed down to the pier.

Green Pleasure Pier

While Gordo and Mahigheer grabbed a bite to eat, I headed out to the end of the Green Pleasure Pier where I found myself alone with all the fish. The fishing was fast and furious with a nice mixture of fish. A short time later Harry joined in the fun while Mahigheer and Gordo arrived a little later. Everyone was catching fish and once again the Catalina experience was taking place.

Surprisingly we didn’t see anyone else that day except for GDude and family at Antonio’s, the spot where we traditionally have our first night’s dinner. That scene was repeated and I, for one, was rewarded with a delicious calamari dinner. Should we go fishing after dinner? No, we were all too tired.

Friday — This day we’re scheduled to fish the Mole in the morning and do the surf fish derby at Pebble Beach late afternoon. Unfortunately when I make my bi-hourly pee run at 4 A.M. I notice an additional little pitter-patter, this time coming from the roof. A look out the door reveals rivulets of rain tracing their mercurial way down the vines of the bougainvillea on the deck. Great!

Instead of a 6:30 journey to the Green Pleasure Pier (normal routine) Mahigheer and I do breakfast. The Mole can wait until 8 when we join Gordo. Luckily even though the rain is steady so is the fishing—including numbers of good-sized opaleye who seem to like the ghost shrimp.

Eventually the cast of the Get Together begins to arrive—Ben and Brandy, Jimbojack, Scott and Ben, Redfish and Sylva, Ark and his wife, and of course Minnow Magnet, Robin and friends from the north, Dylan and Dave. By late morning the Mole is filling up and fishermen, rods, pier carts, bait and assorted fish are littering the deck. Early afternoon the sun arrives along with some bonito and GDude limits out in fairly quick fashion with his Buzz Bomb. Things are looking up and it even appears a dry surf derby is on tap. Most people head back to their cabins around two o’clock to change into dry clothes and drop off excess equipment. Then it’s back to the Mole and a hopeful pick up by the restaurant’s shuttle vans.

GDude and a bonito

Everything seems to go smooth at first, although somehow we lost Scooter and Steve, but then the surf derby is a bust.  We had been told the whitefish were late this year and hadn’t made a showing but we hoped some would still show up. Nope, they wouldn’t cooperate and none of the other species would fill in for them (maybe it’s a union thing?). Anyway, after two hours, only a few nibbles, no fish, and increasing winds, we decided to walk over to the restaurant for dinner.

The Buffalo Nickel provided good food and with an encouragement from Mahigheer’s Raki (Lion’s Milk) everyone opened up and really seemed to have a good time. We talked the van driver into taking us back to our hotel where most went to bed. Ben and Jimbojack headed back to the Mole where Ben got a nice-sized rubberlip perch.

Saturday—Everyone was at the Mole bright and early but the sun was out and the fishing had slowed. It seems to always be the case that the fishing during the Saturday event is somewhat slow and as soon as the event is over the fish pick up the bite. It happened again.  Of course about 9 A.M. the three caballeros are discussing final plans for the food.

What additional food is needed to supplement the items GDude is bringing? KFC has closed so we’ll do the chips and salsa routine to match his Mexican food along with soft drinks and a few sweets. People pitch in money while Ben and Brandy (since they’re younger and stronger) are stuck making the actual run to Von’s Express (and they come back with a big honking cart of stuff). We’re well on our way to once again having more than enough food.  Then it’s time for the derby and raffle. Cards are passed out and people fish; some even catch fish.

Although several additional people fished and watched, only twenty-two people actually signed up for the event: GordoGrande, JimboJack, Gray Beard, Mahigheer, Eugene & Mina, Scooterfish, SteveO, Dompha Ben, Pop, Mom and bro. Johnny, Ark, Redfish and Sylva, Robin & Minnow Magnet, Dylan & Dave, Lee, Warren and Amanda.

The derby was catch and release using a point scale: and as seems usual, the fishing during the derby was slower than that before or after the event. Ten to two are not the best hours for fishing, especially when you have the crystal clear purity of water that you find at the Mole, and action seemed somewhat desultory. One difference this year was less small fish, reflecting the use of ghost shrimp by many contestants. Less small fish and thus less fish in the total count but more big fish than at most derbies. MinnowMagnet though was able to use small bait and hooks to snare enough jacksmelt to win the junior division. James (Gdude), who had a limit of bonito and would have won the derby, was strictly catch and keep so ineligible for the derby.

Then the announcement of the winners:

Adult Category: 1st Place — SteveO; 2nd Place — Scooterfish; 3rd Place — Lee Smgley

Junior Category: 1st Place — Minnow Magnet; 2nd Place — Dylan; 3rd Place — Warren Liu.

The raffle followed with Amanda picking out the tickets. Lastly it was time for a group shot of this year’s participants to finish off the festivities. Finally, back to more fishing.  The events had gone as planned and everyone seemed to have a good time. Around 6 PM the group starts to break up and people head off to various haunts for dinner. Several of us go to Antonio’s one more time for an excellent dinner. Ben says he wants to do a little late night fishing at the Mole and I agree to meet him. But I could barely make the walk back up to the hotel and with sore back and legs am forced to forgo the search for my moray eel (for the first time at a derby I felt my age). Ben heads down with Mahigheer, Scott and Steve. But after fifteen or so minutes, and not much action, they head back.

Pier Rats — 2007

Sunday — Last day and I am up early and out to the Green Pleasure Pier at 6:30. I know there are some good fish there so I’m casting bigger baits and have the pier to myself. I don’t get a lot of fish but in two hours manage three keeper-size sheephead along with another large opaleye in a mix of a dozen and a half fish. Then it’s back to the cabin where I meet Mahigheer for breakfast prior to checking out. From there we haul all of various bags down to the Mole to fish until our 3:45 ferry departs to Long Beach. Good-by Catalina — for now!

Personal fishing: As always the fishing was superb but there was a slight drop-off in overall numbers for myself partly because I fished fewer hours and partly because I chose to fish with the “Pier Rats” at the Mole rather than at the too congested Green Pleasure Pier. Thursday, the first day, I did fish the pier and averaged more than 20 fish an hour but it was potpourri fishing, anything goes . However, with its various ropes, cables, boats and docks interfering with space only a few people can now fish the pier at a time. Thus most people drift over to the Mole where the fishing space is more open. The Mole is also home to some of bigger species such as bonito, barracuda and an occasional yellowtail. However, it’s my firm belief that you can catch as many, if not more, BIG opaleye and BIG Sheephead at the pier; it’s just harder to hook and land them. The time at the Mole did give me a chance to check out the rocky inshore section a little more and I managed a couple of new rockfish species that I had not caught previously at the Mole—a kelp rockfish and two brown rockfish. The time also gave me a chance to land a new pier species for myself, a Mexican scad, an uncommon species rarely caught in California (which makes up for the eel I wanted to catch)* The variety was good as were the number of big opaleye that were caught and the legal-size sheephead. Both figures were undoubtedly up because of the ghost shrimp.

The variety: Cabrillo Mole (16 species) — opaleye, halfmoon, garibaldi, blacksmith, rubberlip seaperch, sheephead, rock wrasse, senorita, California scorpionfish, giant kelpfish, treefish, kelp rockfish, brown rockfish, kelp bass, jacksmelt and one new species—Mexican scad (looks similar to a jack mackerel).Green Pleasure Pier (8 species) —  opaleye, blacksmith, sheephead, rock wrasse, senorita, kelp bass, jacksmelt, island surfperch

Graybeard and a friend

Date: April 20, 2007 — From: gyozadude — Subject: Catalina; Prelude to PFGT 2007

The family and I arrived Thursday. Gordo, Graybeard, Mahigeer and the Skipper had arrived already and were fishing. I didn’t fish much and had dinner with the family, opting to get up earlier today to fish.

Well, we didn’t wake up that early, but Ken and Mahigeer were already on the Mole in the morning, and we bumped into Gordo on the way out. Ken and Hashem had picked up a whole bunch (hundreds of dollars worth) of Ghost Shrimp live bait from Paul’s Bait in San Pedro on Thursday. Most of it was in Gordo’s fridge and the bugs were still mostly moving except for a few of the ones that froze by accident on the top level of the fridge.


The weather was wet -— raining cats and dogs during the morning, but finally stopping after lunch time. I saw Minnow Magnet and Rockin’ Robin’s pier cart early in the morning next to a breakfast restaurant in the heart of Avalon’s main strip, but couldn’t find them inside or out, but I was sure that was their equipment.

I was skeptical about ghost shrimp, but Wow! They work. Just ask my kids. My daughter’s new fishing rod with pink wraps and she got her first Opaleye. Big one too. My son had lots of lost fish too. All on ghost shrimp. and no need for hyper-thin leader. They  crave these shrimp and hit hard. Ken cleaned out a lot of great opaleye at the Mole. And all the while the rain was coming down, sometimes, hard. Not a bonito in sight, and I was getting disappointed that all the rushed work to build a 10-ft spinning rod for underhand casts would be wasted.

Mahigeer helped out lots with his net, and we used it a lot. It was small, compact, and the new weights on the base really gave it great support. The rain stopped after lunch some time, and the calm surface beckoned me to cast again for more bonito.

Meanwhile, DOMPFA, Red, Scooterfish, Jimbojack, Ark and others showed up on the ferries as they took turns to dock. Minnow and his friend showed up just as the bonito started to bite. Scooterfish dropped by as well and we started casting bobber and golf ball rigs. I got a limit of these in a fairly short time and decided to go back to the cottage and clean the fish and rest up for tonight’s dinner. Not a bad day so far. And if the weather holds, it looks like tomorrow will be even better.

Date: April 21, 2007 — From: gyozadude —  Subject: PFGT Catalina 2007

A great day and great weather for this 6th Annual PFGT. I met a lot of old fishing friends and some new ones as well. Fishing was pretty good through most of the day, and for my kids as other familiar pier rats, there were some “first evers.”

Watching the kids watch the water

Again, I limited out on bonito today — 2nd day in a row! They were a bit deeper today and not always on the surface. But they fell victim to a blue-pearl size 4W Buzz Bomb. I am impressed with the performance of the Cabela’s Fish Eagle II 10 ft. steelhead spinning blank and the Daiwa Exceler 3500 reel. They let me toss 1.75 oz. of metal underhand more than 60 yds. — more than far enough. I’m looking forward to ordering a few more FEII blanks while they’re still on sale. More stories from others to come, I certainly hope, and at this hour, some folks are night fishing and still making more stories.

Dompfabryan lands a kelp bass

Date: April 22, 2007 — From: gyozadude — Subject: Buffalo Nickel

The crew had headed out yesterday to fish the Pebbly Beach from 3pm until dinner, which was scheduled at 7:30 pm. I headed back to our room to rest up and clean my fish instead and start the freezing process.

Then my son got a hunkerin’ for more fishing, so around 6pm, we headed out and walked to the Mole and saw no one there. We kept walking toward the Buffalo Nickel and about halfway, there was a sign warning against Pedestrians walking further due to rock slides. I realized that this was going to be a problem and decided to call the restaurant to see if they had a shuttle/van that could pick us up out there. The line was busy for quite a while, but just as I made my 4th attempt to call, their new van drove by and I was able to flag the driver down and the two of us got a ride, which saved my already aching feet.

When I got off at the restaurant, I poked my head inside, even though it was only 6:30. But behold! The skipper, Dompfa and his better half, Ross, Rockn Robin, Minnow, Mahigeer (with Lion’s Milk Liqueur!) and others were already having dinner. The story was that they all fished for two hours and didn’t have a single bite, so they came in from the now colder breeze and had dinner early.

My wife and daughter were still on the old schedule of 7:30pm so I tried to call her on the mobile phone — but they had no service on that side of the island. But my son and I got into conversations so much that we just decided to start and place our orders and before we knew it, my wife and daughter showed up via Shuttle.

The service was pretty good at the Buffalo Nickel. I had the chicken/ribs combo with fries and even my son liked the ribs and had his fill. They also drove us back all the way to the Hermosa, and we paid to rent a couple of tables and chairs from them for the Mole for the PFGT event the next day, which they’d deliver, set-up, and then come back to pick up. Yes, they’re out of the way, but the food is reasonably priced, tastes good, and their service is great.

And yes, I gotta give kudos to Mahigeer for the “Lion’s Milk.” It’s a potent drink with strong licorice flavour that perks you up, even served just on the rocks. I think Mrs. Dompfa like the stuff as much as I did.

The junior division — Warren, ?, and Minnow Magnet

Date; April 22, 2007 — From: gordo grande — Subject: Catalina GT 2007

First and foremost… Adam and Rebecca…We missed you! The fact that we even had a Catalina GT without you guys is a tribute to how hard you worked through the years organizing all the previous events. You better be there next year! I’m writing this on Sunday evening, so I hope I get all the facts right. Please forgive me if I don’t.

Graybeard, Jimbojack and Gordo at the railing

I went out early this year, hoping to get as much fishing out of my system as I could before the big event. It’s a good thing, too, since the only luck that I had seemed to come on Thursday. I happened to run into Ken and Mahigeer on the 10:00 boat, and we found Graybeard already on the island when we got there.

Our first stop, after checking into the Hermosa, was the Green Pleasure Pier. I got immediately slammed on my very first cast with a double—a calico bass and an opaleye! The bite there was pretty consistent, thanks to the ample supply of ghost shrimp that had been generously donated to our group. After a while I wandered over to the Mole  by myself, where I connected with another few calicos, an opal-eye, a rock wrasse, and an almost legal sheephead. Dinner that night was at Antonios, and then off to bed for an early rise and another trip to the Mole.

Friday morning was wet, wet, wet!!!!!! The rain started as a drizzle, but it built and ebbed as the morning wore on. At times we were standing there in a deluge, but it didn’t seem to slow us down much. The bonito hadn’t really showed yet, but we were getting a slow pick on most of the other typical Catalina species.

Jimbojack with a halfmoon

We were joined by G-dude and family, who had come in the evening before, and by Jimbojack who arrived on one of the morning boats. By about noon I was chilled to the bone, and was the first to throw in the towel. All I can say is that most of my clothes were still wet when we packed up to leave Sunday morning.

Friday afternoon we made our trip out to the Buffalo Nickel. The road had been closed due to rockslides, so the restaurant agreed to shuttle us out there. Last year we caught a ton of fish out there at Pebbly Beach, and had them cook it up for us. This year we changed the game plan. We were still going to fish, but we would just order regular dinners at the restaurant, e.g. prime-rib, chicken and ribs, etc.

Good thing, because we were out there for two hours and never got a solid hit! We would have starved if we had been relying on our catch. It was still pretty darn cold as well, so we packed it in early and headed in to eat.

Unfortunately, I think Scooterfish and Steve0 got left behind at the Molee  due to some confusion over the transportation arrangements. Sorry about that guys. G-dude and family came at the scheduled time, but we quickly made room for them, and continued to enjoy some fine spirits and good conversation while they ate. Dinner was good, and we all survived the Raki that Mahigeer provided for us.

Put it back Scooterfish!

Saturday promised better weather, and the whole group slowly assembled. It was great to see Rockin Robin and Minnow Magnet, and their friends Dave and Dylan, Jimbojack, Scooterfish and SteveO (nice to meet you guys), Graybeard, Dompfa Ben, Brandy, Dompfa Pops and Dompfa Mom and other assorted Ackers, Redfish and Sylvana, Ark, Eugene and Mina, and of course the wonderful G-dude Clan, James, Dora, Warren and Amanda. Forgive me if I’ve forgotten anyone.

SteveO with a bonito

A pleasant surprise was the addition to our group of a gentleman from Long Beach by the name of Lee. He happened to start talking with my wife on boat trip out to the island Saturday morning, and she told him about our get-together which was already in progress. He stopped by as he got off the boat, and started chatting. I offered him the use of a spare rod, and that was all he needed. He stayed all afternoon, and ended up taking third place in the derby. He’s promised to stop by the website and post a few messages.

A special thanks to Paul’s Bait and Tackle in San Pedro, (I hope I got the name right), who generously donated several hundred dollars worth of ghost shrimp. We can’t thank you enough, and I can tell you that it worked wonders. They got bit on almost every cast, and really made the difference for us. I’m sure that Ken will correct me if I didn’t get the name right, but I couldn’t post this report without thanking you.

Finally, the best part for me was the fact that Mrs. Grande finally made it to her first Catalina GT, and she had a great time. She even managed to catch her first fish! She asked me to thank everyone for being so kind to her, and she promises to be at the next one as well.

Date: April 22, 2007 — From: Jimbojack — Subject: More Catalina

I left my house on a rainy Friday morning. I got a few miles down the freeway when I remembered that I forgot to grab the bait. I was having visions of my wife finding the plain, innocent looking Styrofoam boxes in the fridge and opening them up to discover the writhing masses of multi-legged lugworms inside, screaming, and throwing the contents all over the kitchen. So, I turned around and got the bait to continue on my way.

Because of the little delay, I arrived at the Catalina Express ticket counter just in time to see my 6:15 AM boat pulling out. Next ride wasn’t until 10:00 and I had the entire terminal to myself. A few minutes later, two guys with fishing gear show up. I had to inquire, and was finally fortunate enough to meet Scooterfish and SteveO. We talked a bit, and since we had three plus hours to kill went to check out the little finger pier near the terminal. Absolutely no bites, so we went back just in time to avoid the heavy rain.

It was pouring rain when we arrived at Avalon, but several of the guys were out at the Mole fishing anyway. I stowed my gear, put on my rain suit and joined in the craziness. Fish were plentiful as usual, and were very much liking the generous supply of ghost shrimp from Paul’s Bait & Tackle. After awhile, the rain stopped, and eventually, the sun broke through for a beautiful afternoon.

We met up at 3:00 for the shuttle over to Pebbly Beach. I was so looking forward to this since we had such heavy action there last year. What a disappointment! Not one fish was caught. I had a few weak nibbles. We left a little early and hung out at the Buffalo Nickel restaurant for a pretty good dinner and excellent company and conversation.

Dompfaben with a bonito

After dinner, Dompfa Ben and I fished th Mole for about an hour. It was pretty slow. Ben caught a pretty big rubberlip.

The derby on Saturday had some pretty good fishing for us, but it always has its slow times too. As usual, I always catch my best fishes before or after the tournament. I got a keeper sheephead, a huge halfmoon, rubberlip, blacksmith, and a few big opaleye. I avoided the usual plethora of smaller fish by sticking with bigger baits and bigger hooks.

Jimbojack and a small sheephead

The fishing on Catalina is nothing short of amazing. The whole PFIC group there every year are just good people that are good to hang out with. They welcome old friends and newcomers alike. I always leave wondering how soon I can come back to fish again. A huge heartfelt thanks to Ken, Dompfa Ben and Brandy for all their hard work. Thank you to Gdude and Dora for all the food and the absolutely beautiful spinning rod I won. Already looking forward to next year. Jim
PFGT cont’d

Date: April 23, 2007 — From: v6v6v6 — Subject: Catalina

Mina and I enjoyed our first PFGT which was also our first trip to Catalina. Just wanted to thank Hashem and Leslie for being sweet to Mina–she had a rough morning (throwing up twice on the boat, nipped by the pelican, admonished by Hashem–haha, just kidding). Also, a very special thanks to Dora and Amanda for taking Mina to the playground and treating her to ice cream! She mentioned Amanda several times to my wife when we got home.


The fishing was all too brief (ended up with two short calicos and two  bonito in four hours) but it was nice to be fishing amongst friends. My only regret is that I didn’t spend more time greeting everyone. Gyozadude, jimbojack, greybeard, and ark, it was nice to meet you. Also good to see Ross, Ben and his wife, and Ken again. Congrats to all the winners and hope to see you next year (or sooner)! Boarding the boat… nasty runoff from the LA River after the

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