97th Dark of the Moon
October 28-November 2, 2010
We arrived in the East Cape, hoping to equal or even surpass the group’s Tuna count of 136 in last June’s 96th Dark of the Moon event. We were in for some big surprises as we headed out the first morning.
I had the pleasure of fishing with Al Hipona from Daly City, California, who is a frequent participant in these events. Within minutes of our arrival at a set of shark buoys, Al landed the first Sailfish.
What was to follow would have made “Papa” Hemingway put down his rod and grab pen and paper. As we fished in a three mile area, catching small skip-jack for bait, we experienced three double hook-ups of either Sailfish or Striped Marlin:
At 2:20 pm we both agreed to call it a day instead of fishing until the 3:00 quitting time. We headed in with what we thought was a first day lead. None of the other cruisers had been in our area, and our total of 7 Sailfish, 4 Striped Marlin and 1 Dorado was quite a catch.
However, the lead team turned out to be Larry Cucura and Mike Tugwell from Carmel, California, who arrived at the dock, checking in with 10 Sailfish, 2 Striped Marlin and 3 Dorado!
The second day soon arrived and turned out to be as amazing as the first, which included 2 Yellowfin Tuna in the 50 pound class.
These two fish helped Ralph Rhodenbaugh, from Oak Harbor, Washington, and his partner, Robert Debord, from Saginaw, Texas, capture the top spot with 10 Sailfish, 4 Striped Marlin, 15 Dorado and those 2 Tuna. Ralph, a professional guide for Salmon and Steelhead in Washington and Idaho was on his first trip, hoping to catch his first billfish. He did very well, taking Top Rookie as well as Top Angler. He caught 4 Sailfish, 3 Marlin, 7 Dorado and the Top Non-Billfish both days–on Day 1 with a 37 pound Dorado and on Day 2 with a 59 pound Tuna. What a rookie trip!
Al and I found ourselves in second place with 12 Sailfish, 8 Striped Marlin and 7 Dorado.
Third Place went to Larry Cucura and Mike Tugwell with 12 Sailfish, 3 Striped Marlin and 6 Dorado. The largest Dorado weighed in at 43 pounds.
The final fish count for this “Sore Arm” event that included ten anglers and twelve cruisers was:
50 Sailfish – 26 Striped Marlin – 46 Dorado – 11 Yellow-Fin Tuna.
OH MY !!!
Mike Totey from Albany, Oregon, and I presented the awards for this spectacular tournament. We hope to top these results in 2011, so sign up today and reserve your spot.