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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Thursday, July 28, 2011:

The first fishing day of the 42nd Annual White Marlin Invitational was described by various anglers as “incredible,” “gorgeous,” “beautiful,” and “perfect”

As for the day’s fishiness in the great off-shore reaches, that was adjectivally a little/lot less prestigious. The event’s most common weigh-in species, the yellowfin tuna, were mainly cookie-cutter models in the 45- to 55-pound category.

But a weigh-in day that spent much of its time measuring tuna only ounces apart, also had a couple super high points, one was a legal-sized white marlin and another was a meaty big-eye tuna.

Starting at the start, the first weigh-in of the tourney came via 4Play, with three YFT at 50.7, 50.0 and 45.5. While that boat introduced the scales to that cookie-ed size, a few folks and I were thinking there should be at least some sort of fun prize for the first weigh-in of the WMIT. Maybe next year.

Within the first few vessels at the docks, Crisdel’s 56-pound yft inched out (literally) other similar models. Surprisingly, that ouncey lead held up for hours on end, almost winning the Calcutta day – that is, before a brute of a tuna came knocking at the backdoor, via “Morrison’s.” More on that later.

The early weigh-ins contained a minor race for the day’s largest mahi/dolphin. Hard Ways handed up (to the weighmasters) a 22.9 mahi. It was quickly bested by the next boat, Peddler Too’s, with its 23.5 dolphin. However the next vessel, Anthracite, handed up 23.6 mahi to ounce-out the former best mahi.

After the first dozen or so vessels weighed in, a pattern of white marlin releases began to develop. By day’s end, there were dozens of officially registered marlin releases, something organizers had hoped might happen with the new white marlin release calcutta. It’s great to have white marlin again having a goodly presence in an event bearing its name.

Adding some variety to the weigh-ins, Milling Around entered a 34.5 wahoo.

As boats weighed in their tuna and announced white marlin releases, word leaked out that a white marlin was on the way in. It soon arrived aboard the Sun Runner. And is oft the case, it was breath-holding time for the captain and crew, as the fish was hoisted up to be checked for adequate size. That’s when the quite-cool new aluminum state-certified measuring device came into use for the first time. The lower fork of the marlin jaw was lined up with a marked point at the front of the measuring thingy and the tail’s fork was aligned with the tail end of the device. I got to get the first look to see if the fish covered the entire length. It did – with an entire half-inch to spare, give or take. Still, it was legal. That led to now traditional team hoot. The angler was Ken Hill and the captain was Lou Morizo. The fish was then weighed in at 58.4 pounds.

Sidebar: Not that it means a thing (or does it?), but the fish was technically one of those famed hatchet marlin, sometimes called roundscale spearfish. But, as is explained every WMIT, it’s all good.

As the day wound down toward closing, a few of us were about to break for the buffet, thinking the weighin-ing was done for the day. That’s when I walked headlong into a gorgeous tuna being brought in by hand. It was something we’re now calling a Morrison’s fish. Those are the weigh-ins being trucked in from the nearby Morrison’s dock, usually because larger vessels are too big to easily negotiate the channel to the clubhouse scales. I instantly noticed it was a bountiful bigeye. I zipped back to my notebook, certain it was a good hundred-pounder. I was a tad off. The scales showed a day-winning 154.5 pound tuna.

The big-ass, I mean bigeye tuna was taken by the Hubris. And that was in itself a bit odd. That vessel can easily come into the BHM&TC dock. Not this day. Turns out the boat blew its steering while fighting the huge fish. Can you imagine: absolutely no steering, proud owner of a likely big-money tuna and you’re far out in the canyons? Well, to the utter credit of the captain and crew, they boated all the way back to land by essentially aiming the vessel in the general direction of New Jersey. Being a two-engine vessel, I can only guess they were alternately gunning the left then right engine to gain just enough direction change to travel 60 miles. Working hugely for them were the smooth ocean conditions and a near lack of winds. Still, they somehow got through the inlet, up the ICW and managed to inch up to the Morrison’s dock. Wow. There’s a million stories in the naked WMIT, this was just one of them.

Advisory: Only designated larger vehicles – I think there are six of them -- are to use the Morrison’s dock. ALL other vessels must come to the clubhouse dock. Steeringless boats excluded.

VERY MAHI: There may be a few folks not fully familiar with the interchangeable names of dolphin, dolphinfish, mahi and mahi-mahi. It’s the same fish, despite what the fish might claim.

While dolphin has long been a common name for this astoundingly colorful pelagic fish, it was upsettingly confusing to common folks, who thought anglers were trolling for Flipper. Get over it, kid. The more illustrative name of dolphinfish has been bandied about, but who has the time to constantly trudge through that extra “fish” part of that name? We got things to do.

As a cure, anglers opted to turn to language familiar to almost everyone: archaic Polynesian. In that tongue, a dolphin(does this word ever end?)fish is always known as a mahi-mahi. Yes, mahi-mahi actually has more syllables than dolphinfish but it just feels so cool as it flow off the lips? Of course, numb-lipped folks have chosen to shorten it to just mahi. And in doing so, they have actually screwed up the Hawaiian meaning.

Having lived on the Sandwich Islands for a goodly chunk of my life, I know for a fact mahi-mahi means very strong in Hawaiian. If it’s just a single mahi, it simply means strong – no “very” to it. Again, the meaning is minimalized. Now, see if you can guess what mahi-mahi-mahi means. All it really means is it’s very easy to get readers to do goofy things.

Anyway, in other parts of the planet mahi-mahi dolphinfish are known as lampuga, lampuka,rakingo, calitos, maverikos, dorado. So what do you think dorado-dorado-dorado means?

Jay Mann

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