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OUTDOOR NOTES / PETE THOMAS

It Might Be the Best March Ever for Catching Prize Marlin

March 16, 1994|PETE THOMAS

March madness in Mexico?

For some, that translates to fighting marlin after marlin on the high seas.

It's certainly the most exciting March anyone can remember out of Cabo San Lucas, where the big tail dance is showing no real signs of letting up.

"Normally, February is very good, but it's usually bad at this time because of wind and rough weather," Juan Arce of the Pisces fleet said Tuesday. "Right now we have nice weather and fishing is still really good."

Fabulous is a more accurate description. One of the Pisces boats rounded land's end Tuesday flying five marlin flags, and the average catch per boat is two or three, Arce said. "And there's some wahoo, too, good-sized fish between 60-70 pounds."

The Gaviota fleet reported similar results this past week, with 59 catches (49 releases) at the area known as the Golden Gate, where striped marlin to 150 pounds have been holding up--and gobbling up live mackerel--for the past several weeks.

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The Department of Fish and Game's new rule requiring anglers to display their fishing license above the waist is apparently paying off.

Sharon Lavoie, DFG licensing officer, said she and fellow officer Eleanor Burke reported the sale of $33,378 worth of licenses and special-use stamps during the recent outdoor show in Long Beach. The money was twice that raised at last year's show.

Lavoie said about half the buyers were in favor of the display-your-license rule, which went into effect March 1 in an attempt to sell more licenses. "(But) we heard a lot of what-if stuff like, 'What if it falls off?' and 'What if I don't want to wear a hat or shirt when I fish?' " One posed the question, 'What if I want to fish naked?"

Lavoie would only say that she gave an appropriate response to each question, including a reminder that failure to display the license could result in a $1,000 fine.

Briefly

SALTWATER--White seabass, bonito, barracuda, yellowtail--sure signs of spring, have been showing, however spottily, in the fish counts at Southland landings. This time last year, the white seabass bite at Catalina was the talk of the sportfishing community. So far, though, the bite hasn't been worthy of much discussion. Most of the fish that are being caught are too small to keep. The bulk of the effort remains on the bottom for rockfish.

Cabo San Lucas: While the Cabo fleet is targeting marlin, the San Jose del Cabo fleet is putting its customers on top of a plethora of pargo. The tasty bottomfish are so prevalent at the Iman and Gordo Banks that boats are returning with up to 20 fish per day, according to a representative for Victor's panga fleet.

La Paz: Strong winds at times are keeping the fleet in the protected areas of Cerralvo Island. Pargo and yellowtail are in the area, but the bigger fish are more often than not making it back and breaking the line. "The fishing is quality, not quantity," said Kit McNear, who returned Sunday from holding a Western Outdoor News fishing school at La Paz. "The yellowtail are 35 and 40 pounds and up and many of the pargo are the same. We had broken rods, rods pulled over the side. The people had a hell of a time catching those fish."

San Diego long-range: The giant yellowfin at the Revillagigedo Islands have begun to feed a little more heartily. The American Angler returned Saturday with 19 anglers accounting for 165 tuna and a smattering of wahoo and other fish. The largest tuna was a 268-pounder by Vern Barney of San Diego. The largest fish was a 379-pound black marlin by San Diego's Greg Trompas, who fought the fish from an anchored boat.

San Martin Island: Yellowtail and barracuda are prevalent at the island off Baja, an indication of an early surface-fishing season. The Trilene Big Game returned to San Diego on Sunday with 105 yellowtail to 16 pounds and limits of barracuda and bonito for most of the 18 anglers.

San Francisco Bay: Salmon season has begun and anglers are "mooching" for king salmon averaging 8-10 pounds, with limits or near-limits the rule outside the harbor and in a larger area 20-30 miles south, according to Roger Thomas, of the Salty Lady out of Sausalito.

CONSERVATION--Nearly $3 million was raised during the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep's annual convention in San Antonio. Most of the money came from a bid of $310,000 for a Montana bighorn sheep permit and a bid of $110,000 for a California desert bighorn permit. . . . Volunteers are needed to help construct a cattle enclosure around a bighorn sheep watering device March 19 in the desert 100 miles east of Barstow. According to the Society for the Conservation of Bighorn Sheep, stray cattle "have drunk dry the 3,000-gallon drinker" and left the sheep high and dry. Details: (213) 256-0463.

CALENDAR--Pacific Edge, Inc., is holding a halibut seminar today at 7-9:30 p.m. at Reubens Restaurant in Marina del Rey. Cost is $10. Details: (818) 762-5873. . . . Fred Hall's Western Fishing Tackle Show begins a five-day run at Del Mar Fairgrounds. . . . The DFG and Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation are sponsoring a fishing clinic-derby Saturday at 8:30 a.m. at Lincoln Park in Boyle Heights. A Trout plant is scheduled prior to the event. Details: (310) 590-5151. . . . The San Gabriel Valley Chapter of Quail Unlimited will hold its annual Gun Dog Showdown Saturday at 7:30 a.m. in the Redlands-Yucaipa area off Interstate 10. Details: (818) 442-0459.

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