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33rd Annual – April 21 & 22, 2007
1st Place – Dennis Cook – 30.6 lbs – California Halibut
2nd Place – Jim Bracci – 29.83 lbs – California Halibut
3rd Place – John Romanak – 27.6 lbs – California Halibut
4th Place – Dominic Dinh – 24.64 lbs – California Halibut
5th Place – Victor Jedlicka – 23.3 lbs – California Halibut
33rd Annual MDR Halibut Derby an Outstanding Success
The 33rd Annual Marina Del Rey Halibut Derby held April 21st and 22nd was an outstanding success. Over 620 anglers competed for $65,000 in cash and prizes as well as a shot at a brand new Toyota Tundra Truck. Halibut Derby anglers enjoyed wonderful water conditions and challenging fishing trying to locate and out fox their elusive quarries. Saturday the sun was out and the weather was ideal, and on Sunday the weather was good as well, although there was a light drizzle very late in the day during the outdoor awards banquet, but it did not appear to stop anyone from having a great time at the party. Most important was the feeling of camaraderie and community of anglers and marine conservationists who love the ocean, participating in their common passion and the knowledge that participation would help thousands of at-risk kids and promote marine restoration projects critical to all of us.
The excitement was in high gear late Saturday afternoon during the weigh in as several nice halibut were brought to the scales. The lucky and proud anglers were posing for pictures hoping their big fish would maintain their lead the next day, while others were praying the next day would produce a tournament winning giant for them. Sunday brought humor and more tension especially toward the 3:00 PM deadline for final weigh in. During the day the marine radios were a buzz with reports of fictitious fish over 50 pounds and qualifying for the new Toyota Truck being given away by Marina Del Rey Toyota. After 2:30 the nail biting was fierce; the tension was electric. All eyes were on the leader board and the last boats arriving to weigh in their fish for the grand prize, top honors and a full year of bragging rights.
27 halibut were brought to the scales and officially weighed in. This did not include the catches of “legal sized” halibut between 22 and 26 inches which the MDR Halibut Derby officials encourage to be released and do not allow to be weighed in. There were reports of scores of undersized fish providing evidence of a healthy halibut fishery in the Santa Monica Bay.
Congratulations to Dennis Cook from Long Beach, CA who captured 1st place with a 30.6 pound halibut, and won a fishing vacation for two people to Baja California’s East Cape, the Rooster Fish capital of the world, including seven days and six nights at the beautiful Hotel Punta Colorada , all meals, 3 days of fishing, freezing and packing the catch, air fare to and from LAX to Los Cabos Airport, and transfers to and from airport and hotel.
There were lots of winners and a mountain of prizes presented at the awards party which followed a well deserved and tasty barbecue feast. Of course, the biggest winners will be the 1,200 at-risk kids who will be hosted by Marina Del Rey Anglers’ volunteers this summer for fishing trips aboard the Betty-O out of Marina Del Rey. Proceeds from the event go to support not only the Marina Del Rey Anglers’ Youth Fishing Program but also its Ocean Resources Enhancement Program which has raised and released 100,000 juvenile white seabass into Santa Monica Bay since its founding in 1994. These fish were nearly extinct just 20 years ago and efforts to restore the fishery have been extremely successful with trophy white seabass exceeding 30 pounds being routinely caught off our local beaches and at local islands.
Congratulations also go out to all the other big winners:
2nd Place: Jim Bracci with a 29.83 pound halibut
Seven days and six nights for two people at the Inn at Mazatlan, including 2 days of fishing with Heimpel’s Star Fleet, and an allowance for meals and air fare between LAX and Mazatlan.
3rd Place: John Romanak with a 27.6 pound halibut
Five days and four nights, at the El Cid Hotel for two people in Mazatlan, including 2 days of fishing with Aries Fleet, and an allowance for meals and airfare between LAX and Mazatlan.
4th Place: Dominic Dinh with a 24.64 pound halibut
Five days and four nights, at Las Flores Hotel for two people in Mazatlan, including 2 days of fishing with Heimpel’s Star Fleet, an allowance for meals and air fare between LAX and Mazatlan.
5th Place: Victor Jedlicka with a 23.3 pound halibut
Six days and five nights at Las Rocas Resort & Spa, Rosarito Beach, Baja California including 3 days of fishing with Sergio’s Sportfishing, Ensenada, and an allowance for meals.
The derby also presented quality rod and reel combinations for the top 6th & 15th places donated by West Marine, Shimano, Avet, Boater’s World and other generous sponsors.
There was also excitement in the Youth Division competition. Three exuberant youths shared the stage with their proud families cheering them on. Kyle Robertson claimed the 1st Place Youth prize with a 9.87 pound halibut and won $300. Matthew Mercurio took home $200 for a 8.25 pounder. Both youths took home quality rod and reel combinations donated by West Marine.
The top lady angler award went to Holly Allman for her 21.9 pound halibut. She won a prize and a trophy to mark her achievement.
There was some fun and excitement for the 3 winners of the separate entry $20.00 Jackpot. John Romanak with a bag weight of 40.15 pounds won $2,947. Dennis Cook, with a bag weight of 30.6 pounds won $1,768. Miguel Zamora rounded out the group of Jackpot winners with a bag weight of 30.13 pounds and took home $1,179.
There were big cash prizes for the three teams scoring the most points. John Romanak and Victor Jedlicka won$2,070. David Wilks and Miguel Zamora won $1,656. Mark Harris and John Petrelli won $1,104.
Well over $11,000 in cash alone was presented to the jackpot, team, and youth division competitions. Although new trucks have been presented to winners in 2 of the last 5 years, it appears the truck winning halibut busted loose this year and is still swimming out there taunting anglers and waiting to challenge next year’s competitors. Marina del Rey Toyota is still offering any Halibut Derby contestant with proof of registration, a special fleet price on any new Toyota through June 30, 2007. Be sure to visit the Fleet Manager.
Thanks to several generous anglers who donated live halibut to the Redondo Beach Sea Lab for brood stock. These fish will be used to boost halibut populations and for many future generations of fishermen to enjoy.
Congratulations to all participants and to the many dedicated volunteers from MDR Anglers for a great event. MDRA President Keith Dager noted the incredible support and generosity of all of the sponsors who make this event possible. Derby Co-Chairs Ken Raymond and Stan Zisser want to remind all participants that our generous sponsors are in business to sell products, and the best and most appropriate way to show our appreciation is to copy the list of donors from your derby brochure or from HYPERLINK “http://www.halibutderby.com” www.halibutderby.com, and to use this as a guide when planning your Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, birthday and Christmas shopping.
The Marina del Rey Halibut Derby is the oldest and largest fishing tournament on the West Coast of the United States. The Derby is operated by volunteers from the Marina Del Rey Anglers fishing club and from the community.