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35th Annual – April 4 & 5, 2009
1st Place – James Muro – 41.1 lbs – California Halibut
2nd Place – Gary Maskiewicz – 23.8 lbs – California Halibut
3rd Place – Barry Clayborn – 21.9 lbs – California Halibut
4th Place – Matt Winkelman – 15 lbs – California Halibut
5th Place – Victor Ortiz – 10.9 lbs – California Halibut
35th Annual MDR Halibut Derby an Outstanding Success
The 35th Annual Marina Del Rey Halibut Derby held April 4th and 5th was an outstanding success. Four Hundred thirty nine anglers competed for $60,000 in cash and prizes including a shot at a brand new Toyota Tundra Truck and exotic fishing trips to Alaska, British Columbia and Mexico.
This year’s MDR Halibut Derby anglers were the true loyalists, the real die hards, the great fishing patriots. They came out despite the bad economy, high fuel prices, short sighted regulators bent on destroying recreational fishing and last year’s lower fish counts. The MDRA Board of Directors salutes these anglers for their support of the 35th Annual Halibut Derby, which has become a historic tradition and which supports one of the longest and most highly respected youth fishing programs in the country.
Anticipation and excitement filled the air during last minute signups Friday and at the giant tailgate party in the parking areas Friday night. Anglers had their boats and gear ready for an early morning assault and competition to locate and land that one monster halibut to win the fishing vacation of a lifetime, a new Toyota Truck from Marina del Rey Toyota and bragging rights for the following year.
Derby anglers also proved they were “real fishermen” who know how to have fun whether the fish bite or not. We definitely proved “you can lead a bait to halibut, but you can’t make the halibut eat!”
Sunny skies and a cooling breeze and slightly bumpy water ruled most of the weekend with.
Several nice halibut were brought to the scales Saturday afternoon. Gary Maskiewicz brought in the first whopper, a 23.8 pound halibut, to start the excitement. He was quickly followed by Barry Clayborn’s 21.9 pound fish. Then, just before the scales closed James Muro hauled a giant 41.1 pound halibut up the ramp and reshuffled the leader board.
Proud anglers posed for pictures taken by professional fishing photographer, Anna Diaz, and gave telephone interviews to 976TUNA.com and SportfishingReport.com. When the scales closed Saturday evening everybody knew the weights on the leader board and what it may take to win the Derby on Sunday. The leaders may have been hoping their big fish would maintain their position, while others were hoping Sunday would bring them good luck and the tournament winning giant halibut. Even the top anglers wanted to come back the next day with bigger fish and a bigger shot at the big prizes and money. The aroma of barbeque and the sound of laughter permeated the air of the Marina Del Rey launch area parking lot Saturday night as derby revelers and campers tail gated and shared stories of the fish landed and the monsters that got away.
The excitement and tension built throughout Sunday morning and afternoon. The annual April fools joke claimed a 50 plus pound halibut had been caught, and there were some believers until the very end of the weigh in when it failed to materialize. This means the Toyota Truck will stay in the lot at Marina Del Rey Toyota. The odds are good that some lucky angler will claim this grand prize someday soon as has been done 2 out of the last 6 years. Every time a big fish came to the tables there were cheers from the crowd and high fives all around. Every second toward the 3:00 PM deadline for final weigh-in the excitement increased. Friends and family members joined the current top three leaders in a silent prayer that their halibut would remain in the top prize categories. Their prayers were answered. Several nice halibut were weighed in late Sunday but none of them ousted the big three caught the day before.
So the official results for the 2009, 35th Annual MDR Halibut Derby are in and congratulations goes to all the winners and a hardy thanks goes to all the participants, sponsors and volunteers who made this charity event possible and successful.
James Muro of Woodland Hills won top honors with his 41.1 pound halibut and selected the fishing vacation for two at the gorgeous Rivers Inlet Sportsman’s Club in British Columbia. Rivers Inlet is world famous for the huge salmon and world record for the largest Chinook salmon ever caught, 126 pounds! Anglers flock from around the world just to experience world class salmon fishing at its very best. James and his guest will be pampered for 4 days and 3 nights at Rivers Inlet Sportsman’s Club and will be treated to 3 days of fishing, gourmet meals and stunning scenery. He also received a check for $800 to help pay for airfare between LAX and Vancouver.
Gary Maskiewicz of Long Beach scored 2nd place with his 23.8 pound fish and selected the deluxe fishing vacation for 2 at the incredible Sitka Point Lodge in Alaska. He and his guest will enjoy the Sitka Point Lodge for 5 days and 4 nights including all meals, all transfers to the airport, 3 days of fishing the famous waters of Alaska for huge halibut, salmon and ling cod, all fish processing and a check for $ 1,400 to help cover airfare between LAX and Sitka, Alaska. They will also enjoy the whales, dolphins, eagles and other natural scenery famous for this area.
Barry Clayborn of Garden Grove came in 3rd with his 21.9 pound butt and won the 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 exotic Hotel Punta Colorada , all meals, 3 days of fishing, freezing and packing the catch, plus a check for $600 to help pay for air fare between LAX and Los Cabos, Mexico.
Great prizes of rod and reel combinations were awarded to anglers with the top 4th – 10th place halibuts. Congratulations to these winners and lucky anglers.
The jackpots produced some big money winners. James Muro walked off with another big check of $2,190 for the 1st place jack pot. Gary Maskiewicz received $1,314 for his 2nd place jack pot position. Gary Clayborn, who placed 3rd in the derby, did not enter the jackpot, so Matt Winkelman received a $896 check for 3rd place jackpot for his 4th place halibut..
The Team Jackpot also had fierce competition for big bucks for the three teams scoring the most points. Gary Maskiewicz and Ed Zamora earned $1,462 for their 1st place team jack pot. Matt and Ron Winkelman picked up $877 for 2nd place and Victor Ortiz, Williy Taylor, Cameron Green and Mike Varella walked away with 3rd place in the team competition and pocketed $585.
There were lots of winners and a mountain of prizes presented at the awards party which followed a well deserved and tasty barbeque feast. Of course, the biggest winners will be the thousand kids from at risk environments who will be hosted by Marina Del Rey Anglers’ Youth Fishing Program 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. This program has raised and released over 1.5 million juvenile white seabass back into the ocean 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.
Thanks to all derby participants and to the many dedicated volunteers from MDR Anglers, Hubbs Seaworld and the California DFG for a great event. MDRA President Ken Raymond noted the incredible support and generosity of all of the sponsors who make this event possible. Derby Chairmen Stan Zisser, Ken Raymond and Josh Gerson 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 www.halibutderby.com, and to use this as a guide when planning your Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, birthday and Christmas shopping.
All the photos from the derby are courtesy of professional fishing photographer, Anna Diaz, and Baja Fish Gear and will be posted on www.halibutderby.com so log in and share the fun with family and friends.