2009 PFIC/UPSAC Mud Marlin Derby #2, Berkeley Pier

The 2009 Mud Marlin Derby was scheduled and held on April 4, 2009. However, no mud marlin (bat rays) were caught so the “pier rats” called for a second derby. In response, a second derby was held on August 1 of that year — with better results.

Berkeley Pier before the crowd!

Date: August 2, 2009 — To: PFIC Message Board — From: illcatchanything2 — Subject: MMD

Red has already posted a lot of pics, and more will be on the way from other cameras, but here is a short narrative (from my perspective).

illcatchanything2 (Brian)

I arrived at the pier around 3:30pm with my son (fishinggamer) and Bigrich. Redfish, Minnowmagent, Sharkslayer and a few others were already on the pier. After unpacking all the stuff, I set up a light pole with a bobber rig and a live smelt (thanks to Redfish who had been working his cast net with great results). I continued setting up for the derby while watching my pole. Had a huge take down, but by the time I got to my pole the fish had dropped the bait. Pulled in and looked forlornly at the tell tale teeth marks on my smelt.


I threw a new bait back out and continued to set up. 6:00pm arrived, and out came the big poles for the Rays. Mingled for a little bit meeting some new people and some old, then….

Uncle Dale strikes first blood with an 8# ray around 6:30. Measured, weighed and released and back to the table.

Got the stove going and proceed to cook some Hot Links that were graciously donated by West Coast Dave and crew, and then started on the fish I had brought — Leopard Shark, 7-Gill, and Shovelnose Guitarfish. A Lingcod followed, as well as some coffee.

Brian cooking

In what seemed like a few minutes, it was 9:00pm. No more rays had been caught, but a few baby soupfins had been landed. Then Redfish lands a 4-foot (or so) soupfin. I had never had soupfin, so back to the table it went. Bled, filleted and cut into chunks it went on the stove much to my delight (since it was really good). 10:30 now and still no more rays. Determined to give away the trophies, Redfish and I started making back up plans to include the sharks in the Derby. So with that in mind, we fished on…

One of the sharks

At 11:40 it looked like Uncle Dale would take 1st with the only ray, while Davey (I think) a guest of a member (can’t remember who) would take 2nd with a 2-foot soupfin and Frank (a guest of Minnowmagent) would take 3rd with another soupy. Then Jesus (another guest) went into 2nd place with another soupy.

At 11:50 we were getting the trophies ready to give out and all of a sudden Michael (can’t remember your board name) gets a nice ray bite. A nice fight later and he was in the lead with an 18#, 31″ ray. Looks like that would be it and then… 11:56 and Frank (minnow’s guest) gets a nice run. He fights it and up comes another ray. Just by eyeballing, I knew it would be close. Weighed and it comes it at 18# (a tie with Michael) the tape would now tell the tale… Taped it out and it comes in at 34 3/4… Franks ray was landed at 12:05.

So the trophies and eternal glory went to: 1st Place- Frank with his 34 3/4″ ray — 2nd Place- Michael with his 31″ ray — 3rd Place- Uncle Dale with the 8# (24″) ray.

Front — Red fish (Robert Gardner) and Illcatchanything2 (Brian Linebarger) — Trophy Winners (L to R) — Michael, Frank and Uncle Dale 

It was a great event with an exciting finish. 1st & 2nd place landed in the last nine minutes of the derby. It was great meeting everyone new and seeing some the people who I have not seen since the last MMD. Also, it was great to meet Bat Ray Dave who represented our SoCal members. This is the first time since I have been attending the MMD’s (and maybe the first time period, some older members will have to correct me if I am wrong) that we have had a SoCal member at the MMD. Hope the trend continues and we get more next year.

Frank (Mr. Twister) and 1st Place Trophy

Another one in the books, I packed up all my stuff (with the much appreciated help of Sharkslayer & Big Rich) and made the long walk to the car.

Michael and 2nd Place Trophy

Had a great time as usual. Thanks to everyone who made it out and helped make this a great event!!

Uncle Dave and Third Place Trophy

Posted by Red Fish — Excellent synopsis Brian. Great working with you on this thing. You really made it a success with all of your effort.

Posted by BaSsMaSTEr925 — Thanks guys it was fun pretty exciting that last two minutes when the rays hit.

Frank (Mr. Twister) and a mud marlin (bat ray)

Posted t177 — Brian, thanks for report and all the effort you guys put in to make it happen. Those sharks were good eats!

Posted by Steve-O — Sooooooooooooooooooooo Much fun.. again a big thanks to you guys for throwing it down Berkeley Style. did anyoue stay later into the weeeee hours of the morning? Am interested to hear if the bite was just picking up as the derby ended. Tight Lines to all
We’ll see ya on the water — Steve-O

SteveO and Uncle Dave

Posted by rita001 — Good report. Brian. Thanks again for a great event! Steve-o,  Kyle and I hung out with Minnow for a while after everybody left. Kyle and Justin caught a couple of little smoothhounds. And one guy caught a small bat ray that thought it was a monster the way it fought. We left at 1:30. Ya gonna have to ask Minnow about the rest of the morning; though, it seemed like the bite was picking up when we le.

Posted by 911taxi — Thanks guys for all the fun. We had a great time, even with the nasty weather we were having. My son Danny was in second place with the soupfin until 8 minutes till midnight when the action started.

Frank (Mr. Twister)

Posted by chicofish — So is the MMD a day where people get together and catch a bunch of bat rays? What happens to the rays if it is?

Posted by Red Fish — Yes, it’s all catch and release like a black bass tournament. All bat rays are netted and returned to the water in good shape.

Posted by 1CrAzyR8REven though I showed up late it was great to get out there cool event thanks everyone who put it together.

Big Rich and Frank (Mr. Twister)

Posted by minnow magnet — It was a great Mud Marlin. My friend Frank had a great night fishing and winning. But, he found out after the event was over that two of his reels were stolen out of his backpack during the fight of his ray. We found his backpack wide-open 10ft from the tent and his Penn Senator 6/0 was gone along with his Diawa Sealine. If anyone knows what might of happened please let us know. Frank ended up with his ray, a 2ft soupy and two sand sharks up to about 18″ and i got a spiny dog about 16″ and three sand shark up to 2ft.

Minnow Magnet

Posted by illcatchanything2 — Oh No… That really sucks that his reels were stolen. Did you see anyone hanging around the end? There were so many people around when he was fighting that fish that it was hard to see who was there and who wasn’t.

Posted by 1CrAzyR8R — Not cool man… there was a lot of people around my cousin and I were fishing a few yards down but we were helping with the flash lights over the rail so we weren’t paying attention to the people walking/gathering on the deck.

Lots of tackle

Posted by Bat-Ray-Dave — Too bad things like this happen. It seemed as though just the derby people were at the last 1/3 of the pier, but after someone hooks-up others must have come on down and snaked the reels. And to think Frank was getting the hang of casting it on that long rod he had it on.

Posted by Mr. Twister — Man that sucks!!! I just bought my Senator a week before the event. I had only caught one ray on my Senator. The Diawa Sealine meant a lot to me I caught my first ray over 100 pounds on that reel. From today forward I am going to engrave my last conventional reel.  Frank lovelady (and yes, that is my last name)  BTW, i will pay $130 to any who finds my reels.

Frank (Mr. Twister) and reel that was stolen

Posted by Bat-Ray-Dave — Forget about the reels, they are long gone. Save your money and find the nice 113hl left handed reel on e-bay. And always be aware of your surroundings and equipment while you fish. Watch your stuff like a hawk, all the time.

Posted by mel — Yeah keep an eye on your gear for sure! I lash my rods down that I’m not using to my cart and no one can see the rope. At the last MMD someone walked off with my bait cooler but I found it in another spot. Only thing missing from it was a piece of my secret bait. I guess the person knew that I hooked up that night but the ray managed to spit the hook. Guess they just HAD to have a piece of my bait. Wonder if they got anything on it.

Lots of anglers

Posted by Ken Jones — Good job all; wish I could have been there.

Posted by Bat-Ray-Dave — Well, I made it there and back safely. The gf and myself headed out at 1:30am Sat morning. I dug the drive there but wasn’t able to see any nice I-5 north scenery because of the night travel. I tried to get sleep Friday after work but that didn’t work out because I was excited about going on a long trip where I have never been too and also I was going fishing as well. We made it non-stop all the way until that last rest stop before merging onto the 580. I was getting really tired and the eyes starting to close on me. We pulled in at 6:20am and I set the alarm for 7:30am.

That hour and 10 minute sleep was over in a flash but I woke up very refreshed. We continued on our journey and went straight to Berkeley pier to scope it out and arrived at 8:26am. I just drove down to confirm the pier was still standing and saw it was there then headed back to get a hotel room. The place we stayed at was the Motel 6 at Embarcadero. The 1st thing I noticed at the motel was of course the cute little pier that I read from this site that was right where it was supposed to be at. If there are Rays at that pier (No reason there shouldn’t be any), it would be a nice place to hook-up at. The only thing that was amiss was that the water to the cleaning sinks was turned off. One doesn’t need a net of gaff there for the fact you can simply work the ray to the rocks and land it from there.

I was considering waking up two hours before I originally wanted to for the derby to give the spot a chance but I was too tired and wanted my strength for the contest. What was on my mind 1st was finding a gas station to fill up but it seemed the area we were at was too industrial for a gas station. I drove down the street heading east I believe and on the other side of the 880 I saw a Shell sign and made it there from sight alone. We then drove back to Berkeley Pier and arrived at 4:46pm. We then went on the pier and confirmed it was at least a 1/2 mile out. I had the gf walk in front of me to give her a head start for the fact the wind kept blowing her back.

We made it out to the end and saw Brian and he introduced me to Big Rich and his friend. Then I went to Red and said I made it out and we talked some. I had to wait until he landed what he was hooked up with at the same time I got there. Minnow then came running over(He is a very energetic fisherman) and the showed me his rods he had there. Frank showed me his 6/0 he had on the long rod. It was windy and bearable for the sun was still at least out for some warmth. I then knew it would be cold that night and told the gf we would stay as long as she could stand it. I did this because she was a good sport and traveled the 6hrs just to watch me fish.

I set-up across from Red on the other side of the pier, I knew that the wind causes alot of tangles and I didn’t want to cause any or have have to deal with any. The kids were going after the crabs with their nets and I could then realize how thick they are around the pier. I brought 3 trays of big squid with me for a total of 6 squid. I knew I would only use one at the most unless I hooked up. Even the crabs can’t eat that rubber! They can pick a hook clean if you use the regular squid but big squid just lasts for as long as you keep it in the water.

I cast out once I tied up and used a head of one. That was at 5pm and then reeled in at 6pm when the derby started and rebaited with a nice slab that Kurt says looks like a Burrito. I used the Sabre Stroker and the 113mtl 1st then later gave the Fenwick and the 4/0 wide a chance for some fun. Nothing was hitting at all and I was quite surprised how good my 8oz weight was holding the bottom with all the wind. I stayed on the north side where I 1st set-up till 9pm. The gf was toughing it out but said the combination of the wind and the cold was getting to her. She said the cold was no problem but all the junk wind was killer.

I then cast in the 4/0 wide next to Red at 9pm because two guys that were there left and the spot became open. Red said that spot was one of his favorites. I put a fresh burrito on and recast. Nothing happened for me until 10pm came around. I would like to of stayed till 12 midnight but at that point it did seem things were slow for the night. One guy did land the 24″ ray and to me it seemed that was going to be the winner. Maybe others thought that as well. Red landed a 3ft Soupfin like five minutes after he had casted a rod off of one of the corners of the pier. It had a nice set of choppers for Soupfin.

10pm arrived and I packed it up. Not catching any rays is part of the game sometimes and it is not new to me and have had it happen many times down south. I said the good-byes and gave the two leftover trays to Red to use and told Minnow he can have a tray as well since there was two of them. Minnow said he was camping out on the pier for the night and was even going to hit up another spot in the morning as well. He asked if I wanted to join him but I told him I didn’t have the time because we were leaving in the morning to head back home.

As we were pulling out of the parking lot then headed down the street a nice sized rat ran across the road. I at first thought I ran it over but the gf said she saw it run into the bushes. I once had a Tom Cat named Rowdy and he would have tangled with that rat if he saw how big it was. One thing I did wish was that I was there at Berkeley to see Jimi Hendrix in 1970. He played at the Berkeley Community Center at the end of May that year. Lots of history is around us each day.

The end — of the pier



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