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Albacore Bite Is Sporadic


Schools of albacore are being found in many areas south of San Diego, but with class still in session, the passenger loads remain surprisingly light.

"Business has been so-so, not spectacular but not bad," says John Yamate, manager of Seaforth Sportfishing. "A lot of people are busy with graduation right now and, basically, people just aren't in vacation mode yet."

If any of the students get a party-boat trip as a graduation gift, they can expect a bite ranging from slow to very good.

Seaforth's Legend, at an area 50 miles south of the landing, was one of the top boats Thursday, with 50 fish aboard by noon and more biting.

The sporadic nature of the bite is typical so early in the season.


The West Coast's embattled rockfish fishery will be a top item of discussion during next week's Pacific Fishery Management Council meetings in San Francisco. And things don't look good for sportfishermen.

The council is considering various restrictions, the worst-case being a total closure from Canada to Mexico of the fishery in waters deeper than 60 feet.

"If anything close to that happens, the guys won't be able to make a living; it'll put us out of business," says John Shull, skipper of the Pacific Dawn out of Capt. Hook's Sportfishing in Oxnard. "Next year at this time I might have to become a dive boat, but with the other closures they're talking about [proposed closures within the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary] I won't even be able to drop anchor because even that won't be allowed."

The council isn't expected to formally adopt new management measures until September. The California Fish and Game Commission, meanwhile, is expected to adopt a Nearshore Fisheries Management Plan in late August. The NFMP will probably incorporate PFMC restrictions.


The saltwater sportfishing community is mourning the death of Capt. Manny Silva, whose career in San Diego spanned more than 50 years.

Silva, who started as a deckhand in 1938 aboard the Mascot III and went on to skipper that vessel and several others, died Saturday of cancer. He was 88.

He is survived by his wife, Kathy, his son, Phil, two sisters and a grandson.

Services will be held Monday at 10 a.m. at Sacred Heart Church of Ocean Beach. The family asks, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the American Cancer Society.


Sometimes, fishing is overshadowed by other events on the water. On a recent charter trip to Catalina, Capt. Danny Strunk of the vessel Pierpoint said his passengers were greeted by two humpback whales in mid-channel.

Strunk shut his engines down to give his wide-eyed customers some solitude, but that was shattered when one of the whales started breeching, or launching itself out of the water and splashing down only 50 feet away.

The other whale, even closer, started violently slapping its fluke, or tail, showering the passengers with water.

Strunk realized that the whales were after a large school of baitfish that had taken refuge beneath the boat and decided enough was enough.

"They were just so gosh darned close to the boat--uncomfortably close, so I said it was time to leave," he said.

On Wednesday off Dana Point, Strunk received a visit from a small pod of killer whales.


A nonlethal shark attack three weeks ago off Florida--the first of the season--had experts pulling out all the stops in hopes of avoiding the mass hysteria generated by a media frenzy last summer after a series of similar attacks.

University of Florida researchers who compile the International Shark Attack File, for example, said you're in far more danger around the house or even in the bathroom.

In an e-mail to environmental reporters this week, the file said that in 1996 "thousands of times more Americans got hurt by ladders (138,894), toilets (43,687) or room deodorizers (2,559) than got injured or killed by sharks that year (18)."


Yosemite National Park announced it is offering interpretive ranger-led walks and talks at no charge throughout the summer. Details: (209) 372-0296 (voice), (209) 372-4726 (teletype terminal).


Some of Yosemite's visitors are probably covering their eyes, thanks to the dirty work of an alleged tagger.

Michael Trevino of Riverside was charged last week with 43 counts of trying "to destroy, injure, deface, or damage property or real property," according to the complaint filed by park officials on June 3.

Though cleanup efforts are underway, graffiti still stains rocks, trees, buildings, vehicles and signs in the Camp 6 area, as well as in the Housekeeping Camp, Ahwahnee Hotel and Camp Curry areas.

Trevino was arraigned and released on $5,000 bond pending his next court date.

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