Guess what showed up at Tony Reid's bachelor party.
The commercial fisherman from Vista, scheduled to get married last weekend, landed a 200-pound broadbill while celebrating his impending nuptials with a few friends aboard Capt. Bud Bean's 40-foot Mako out of Helgren's Sportfishing in Oceanside.
A swordfish is a rare catch in local waters these days for an angler using rod and reel, although commercial fishermen manage to harpoon a few they find sunning on the surface. Gill-nets all but wiped out the species in the late '70s and early '80s.
According to Lance Cotcamp of Helgren's, Reid and his friends were fishing for sharks, with a chum line trailing behind the boat about 30 miles southwest of Oceanside at the 181-fathom spot. Reid had half of a five-pound bonito on 130-pound test line when the swordfish hit.
During a two-hour fight, the fish sounded seven times and circled the boat seven times until Reid wore it out. It weighed 200 pounds and was only the second known to be caught by a sport angler off California this year.
Aside from the swordfish, the most unusual \o7 reported \f7 catch the past week were the blackfin tuna taken by boats from San Diego and Oceanside, as indicated by the daily reports in The Times.
Not likely, say Dave Parker of the California Department of Fish and Game and Catherine Miller of the San Diego Sportfishing Council.
"(Blackfin tuna) occur only in the western Atlantic and the Caribbean," Parker said. "They'd have to come through the Panama Canal. It would be an icthyological headline."
Parker and Miller agreed that the reports should have read \o7 blue\f7 fin tuna. Blackfin run smaller than bluefin and are easily distinguishable by markings. Miller is certain they were bluefin that got misplaced in the reporting process, because the bluefin bite came back on at about the same time, and it's still going on.
Capt. Robert Cooperstein brought the Big Game back to San Diego on Tuesday after a four-day trip on which 21 anglers took 130 bluefin 50-60 pounds, 315 yellowfin tuna to 30 pounds, 13 white sea bass 15-25 pounds and limits of yellowtail all around.
The bluefin were only 102 miles south, within range of 1 1/2-day boats.
HUNTING--After slashing deer tag quotas for Eastern Sierra zones X12 and X9a in half, based on early population estimates, the DFG says the season starting Saturday should be more productive than expected following a dry, mild summer. More deer than usual should be found at lower elevations.
FRESHWATER--A fisherman drowned on Labor Day while fishing the California Aqueduct near Sierra Highway in Palmdale, the state Department of Water Resources reported. He was the fifth victim this year, despite warning signs in English and Spanish. The DWR has designated 16 fishing areas along the 444-mile aqueduct, but the slick concrete sides and swift flows continue to claim anglers. Yellow markers indicate the location of safety ladders. Anglers are urged to fish upstream from them and not to fish alone. . . . The three Santa Ana River Lakes will be drained after a final, free fishing day Sunday to accommodate the Orange County Water District's ground percolation program. Starting Thursday, there will be no limits on any species in order to catch as many of the fish as possible that would otherwise perish. . . . Mammoth Lakes' third annual Fall Trout Derby is scheduled Saturday in waters around the Eastern Sierra community. Details: (800) 367-6572.
FLY-FISHING--A team of four Southern California residents competing as the Snake River Yacht Club and captained by Eric Noll of La Canada won the Jackson Hole One Fly Contest last weekend, outscoring 35 other teams from five countries. Other team members were John Noll Jr., Steve Temple and Bob Slamal of Riverside. Contestants are allowed only one dry fly for two days of competition. . . . Crowley Lake Fish Camp will host "Double-Haul-In-the-Fall," a fly-fishing and float-tubing seminar and tournament, Sept. 25-26. Registration: $5. Details: (619) 935-4301. . . . New Zealand lodge owner Ray Grubb and Tasmania proprietor Jason Garrett will tell the Wilderness Flyfishers about "Fly Fishing Under the Southern Cross" at their Sept. 21 dinner meeting at the Ramada Hotel, 1150 S. Beverly Drive.
SALTWATER--Art's Fishing Tackle, 1451 Artesia Blvd. in Gardena, will host a free Long Range clinic Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., featuring John Grabowski from the Red Rooster III. . . . United Anglers of Southern California volunteers this week released 2,700 eight-inch white sea bass from a grow-out facility in Newport Bay, one of five operating as part of an ongoing rehabilitation program for the species. . . . Nick Curcione will teach a saltwater fly-fishing class, including a field trip to Rocky Point, Sept. 25-26 at Bob Marriott's store in Fullerton. Fee: $100. Details: (714) 525-1827.
MEXICAN FISHING--Cabo San Lucas: Dorado plentiful, most 10 miles south of Cabo Falso. San Jose del Cabo: Panga fleet averaging 5-8 dorado per boat, 15-20 pounds, at San Luis Bank. Yellowfin tuna and some wahoo also taken. East Cape: Hotel Buenavista reports 18 sailfish running 70-90 pounds, plus five blue marlin to 353 pounds, along with yellowfin and dorado. Hotels Palmas de Cortez, Colorada and Del Sol report heavy action on tuna to 70 pounds, along with dorado and sailfish. San Diego long-range: Ron Gribble of the Polaris Supreme reported "big, mean (bluefin) tuna" to 200 pounds the first day out on a seven-day private charter, although landing only 18 out of about 100 fished hooked. Yellowfin were the main course, with some wahoo, pargo and miscellaneous. Gribble then did much better on a three-day charter with 155 bluefin, topped by a 77-pounder by Dick Saunders of Riverside. Capt. Mike Lackey's Vagabond also hit the bluefin hard, with 245 anglers taking 246 on a three-day outing.