Paul Thompson reeled in the biggest fish at the 37th annual Marina del Rey Halibut Derby – a 46.6-pound white sea bass.
The derby, which for the second consecutive year included other species besides halibut, attracted dozens of fishermen on June 9 and 10 hoping to catch halibut, ling cod, white sea bass and rock fish in the Santa Monica Bay waters.
Thompson took home $1,200 in prize money and a 3-day fishing trip to Alaska, but was awarded second place despite catching the biggest fish. Daniel Ahman, who received a 20 percent weight credit for releasing his fish, won the competition and took home the grand prize – a sport-fishing trip to Baja California.
“Every year I get so excited about the Halibut Derby,” said Keith Lambert, vice president of Marina del Rey Anglers, a local nonprofit. “Whether fishing it with my sons or volunteering to make it a success. This is one of my annual highlights."
Twelve fishermen released their catch to the Hubbs SeaWorld Research Institute, which will add the fish to the facility’s stock in Carlsbad for its breeding and release program. The top five fish caught exceeded 36 pounds, two of which were given to Hubbs.
Proceeds for the derby typically fund youth fishing programs in Marina del Rey, and last year over 500 children embarked on summer fishing trips. The 2012 youth fishing program begins in July.
The top five anglers on the leader board at the end of the derby were:
1. Daniel Ahman; Halibut, 48.8 pounds*
2. Paul Thompson; White Seabass, 46.6 pounds
3. Farney Brown; White Seabass, 39.8 pounds
4. Bob Palmer; Halibut, 39.3 pounds
5. Jimmy Stathis; Halibut, 36.9 pounds*
* 20 percent credit for release.
The top five prizes awarded:
1. 4-night accommodation and 2-day sport-fishing in Mexico. Donated by Van Wormer’s Resorts.
2. 4-night and 3-day fishing trip in Sitka Alaska. Donated by Sitka Point Lodge.
3. 3-day fishing trip aboard the Vagabond out of Point Loma, Calif.
4. 2-day fishing trip aboard the Ocean Odyssey out of Point Loma, Calif.
5. 1-day fishing trip aboard the Gallilean out of Point Loma, Calif.