Mike Hughes, a 24-year-old college student from Portland, Ore., has had little experience fishing in the ocean, but a recent trip to Cabo San Lucas proved to be memorable.
While fishing 18 miles west of the Cape Rocks aboard the Tortuga No. 7 last week, Hughes caught a 649-pound blue marlin. That was quite an achievement, considering that his previous big fish was a four-pound rainbow trout, and that he was on the verge of motion sickness.
"I think I'm starting to get seasick, let's go in," he begged his father moments before the hookup.
Two hours later, however, the marlin was brought safely aboard and Hughes couldn't have been happier. He had caught the fish of a lifetime and forgotten about the rocking of the boat in the process.
A Minnesota wildlife artist's painting of a snow goose flying over a marsh has been chosen as the federal duck hunting stamp, making it a sure collector's item in the art world.
Daniel Smith, of Eden Prairie, Minn., took first place, with second and third place also going to Minnesota artists.
"Minnesota is prime hunting country with all its lakes, and we traditionally have a strong showing from artists in the state," said David Klinger, spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "But to take all three spots--I can't remember that ever happening."
A panel of judges considered 844 designs.
Second place went to James Meger, of Edina, Minn., and third to Jim Hautman, of St. Louis Park, Minn.
Although the federal agency does not award prizes to the winner, Smith will likely reap the benefits associated with such an achievement.
"Aside from what it can do to enhance his reputation and career, he can make more than a million dollars by putting his painting in a limited edition series," said Elizabeth Lipscomb, also of the USFWS.
Lipscomb said that the winning artist traditionally works with a commercial art dealer, who markets limited edition prints of the design.
El Zorro update: The 95-foot luxury sportfisher, which began its around-the-world fishing adventure in August 1986, recently arrived in the waters off the Ivory Coast near the city of Abidjan.
Owner Jim Edmiston reported immediate success, having caught, tagged and released a 500-pound blue marlin shortly after arrival.
Three other strikes proved unsuccessful, but Edmiston and his customers will remain off the African city until the end of the month, competing in an invitational marlin tournament.
After that, they're headed for South America, where they expect to explore the fishing grounds off the coast of Brazil for two months before heading up to fish the waters of Central America.
Edmiston plans to stay a little longer in each location from now on and said he will return to San Diego in January 1989 instead of the fall of 1988 as originally planned.
The Department of Fish and Game said that if low rain conditions in the Sierra continue into 1988, an extensive fish loss will occur at two popular brown trout areas in Mono County.
The East Walker River and Bridgeport Reservoir are stocked annually by the DFG. In 1976-77, drought conditions resulted in complete fish losses at both locations, and similar prospects loom in 1988.
Biologist Darrell Wong said a lack of rainfall in 1987 has resulted in a dangerously low water level already, adding: "If low water conditions continue into next year, the reservoir will be dewatered and a complete fish loss is likely to take place--and there is nothing anybody can do about that."
Bridgeport Reservoir, a 53,000-acre-foot lake when full, is now a small pool of about 2,000 acre-feet. An acre-foot is the amount of water necessary to cover an acre a foot deep.
Six DFG wardens spent a recent weekend on patrol in Siskiyou County's deer hunting zone D1. They found more than their share of law-breakers.
Eleven hunters--all Crescent City area residents--were issued citations on charges ranging from carrying loaded rifles in vehicles to illegal use of another hunter's deer tag. A 12th man was jailed for using lights in attempts to take deer at night.
One hunter was cited for killing a deer, taking it home removing the tag and returning in search of another deer. Yet another was cited for snagging salmon from a creek a mere 50 feet from a warden's camp.
"It was a very busy weekend," said Lt. Frank Cox, who supervised the operation. "We saved a lot of deer out there."
Ram safety Nolan Cromwell demonstrated recently that he can catch more than just errant passes. While fishing at Riverside County's Vail Lake, he caught an 8-pound 12-ounce largemouth bass. . . . Irvine Lake will be closed Thanksgiving and Christmas days. . . . The first Fish for the Homeless & Yellowtail Derby will be held Nov. 22 aboard the Producer out of H&M Landing in San Diego, with the catch going to the Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles. For more information, contact Tony Salas at (213) 620-0380. . . . T.R. Hill and U.S. Bass champion Jim Jarred will give a free clinic on fishing for trout and striped bass at Arizona's Willow Beach Resort and Marina restaurant, Nov. 27 at 9 p.m.