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FISHING NOTES : Born to War, the Matt Walsh Now Plies More Peaceful Waters

November 16, 1989|DAN STANTON

It was 1942 and the start of U.S. involvement in World War II when Garber and Walsh boat builders launched the 65-foot sportfishing boat Matt Walsh.

Instead of going fishing, it was drafted as a shuttle boat and from 1942 to 1949 was known as the Nickel Snatcher.

It got its nickname from the many workers who boarded the Matt in L.A. Harbor and were taxied to Terminal Island shipyards for just a nickel.

In 1949, the Matt was converted back to sportfishing and joined the Pierpoint fleet in Long Beach as a half-day boat.

Tom Murphy, 72, born and raised in Long Beach, said he has memories of riding the Matt to and from the harbor every day.

Ted Haberfield, 71, of Long Beach, said: "To me the boat is a legend. I remember in the Pierpoint days, all one needed to do was go out for a half-day trip, and when we returned tails of fish would be sticking out of the sacks."

Jackpots in those days cost just 50 cents to enter. Today the pots range from $2 to $5.

When Pierpoint landing closed, the Matt moved to Huntington Beach.

But again, the Matt lost its landing when a storm shut that pier.

Tom Durr purchased the boat in 1978 and moved it to Newport Beach until it was sold to Ray Duane, who moved it to L.A. Harbor Sportfishing.

Larry Sukahara of the Cabrillo Marine Museum credits Duane for many of the rare exotics on display in the museum's tanks. Being a half-day boat is an advantage when an exotic is caught, because Duane can alert the museum to pick it up alive.

Duane said some changes will be made this winter with a new all-seat gallery.

The Matt Walsh is 57 years young and is still a favorite of many old-timers who enjoy the comfort of what anglers refer to as the Fat Matt for its wide beam and comfortable ride.

South Bay Catches: Robert Sias of Gardena, fishing aboard the Toronado, caught the whopper of the week. After a 20-minute fight, he decked a 61-pound yellowfin tuna.

Tim Overstreet of Manhattan Beach won the jackpot fishing aboard the Sharpshooter with his 22-pound yellowtail.

Marc Larson of Long Beach, on the Sportking, won the jackpot with a 22-pound yellowtail.

Milo J. Nicolas of Carson caught a 19-pound yellowtail aboard the Shogun.

Juanita Mann of Wilmington, fishing aboard the GW, landed a 12-pound salmon grouper.

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