A record worth the weight .

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A record worth the weight

August 15, 2002

By DAVE STREGE, The Orange County Register


Aside from luck, catching a thresher shark on 8-pound test line takes skill and teamwork, and shallow water.

If the fish goes deep, good luck trying to pull it up on light line. But shallow water makes it a horizontal ballgame. It gives the angler a fighting chance to run down the fish and tire it out near the surface.

At least that's the theory of Steve Mras of Fullerton.

So when Mras heard a report about thresher sharks in Long Beach Harbor, he immediately jumped at the opportunity to pursue a world record for his wife.

The women's record for thresher shark on 8-pound-test line is vacant. The record for 6-pound is 34 pounds.

Sunday, Mras and his wife, April Wakeman, set out trolling in 30 feet of water in Long Beach Harbor, with a 6-pound outfit and an 8-pound outfit baited up with live sardines.

Wakeman already owns the women's record for a 20-pound halibut on 80-pound test and a 22-pound mako shark on 4-pound test -- definitely a much bigger test than the halibut. It was later released.

They were about 200 yards beyond the swimming buoys between Shoreline Village and White Island when the 8-pound outfit started screaming.

"We knew it was the right kind right away by the first run," Mras said.

The fish ran this way and that way and Mras began chasing it while his wife started reeling.

"In that shallow water, it was like trying to shadow Allen Iverson," Mras said. "It was darting everywhere."

For an hour, the pair double-teamed the thresher before finally landing it.

They headed for the Balboa Angling Club in Newport Bay to get an official weight, which will become the thresher standard for women using 8-pound test, if approved by the International Game Fish Association.

The thresher weighed 95 pounds.

A record is set. Potentially, anyway.

"I'm actually proud of this one," Wakeman said. "It actually took some fishing ability.

"It's a challenge, particularly like this where it's more finesse. I'd like to think you need the woman's touch to finesse them in instead of yanking them in."

Huck Finn fishing: They come by the hundreds, dressed in ratty shirts and torn jeans held up by string suspenders. A straw hat sits on their heads and a cane pole rests in their hands.

It's a Mark Twain novel come to life.

For the 39th year, the Huck Finn Fishing Derby will be held Saturday at the Huntington Beach Pier and, as usual, the main event will be the costume contest whereby the kids dress up like Huck Finn or his friend Becky Thatcher.

The derby is from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Registration begins at 8 a.m. The event is free and every kid walks away with something.

Age divisions are 7-and-under, 8-to-11 and 12-to-15. Prizes from mountain bikes to fishing rods to deep-sea trips will be awarded and/or raffled.

The Department of Fish and Game is providing fishing rods, though many kids bring their own. About 300 kids attended last year.

The event is put on by the City of Huntington Beach and sponsored by Let's Go Fishing tackle shop and Fish Talk Radio. There are 75 other sponsors.

Most of what the kids catch are perch with an occasional halibut and sand or leopard shark.

For more information, call Bob Thrall at (714) 536-5230.

Shut out: The 43rd Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament in Kailua-Kona last week was a dud.

The Laguna Niguel Billfish Club, trying to become the first team to win the event three times, hooked up once but lost it 30 seconds later.

The only fish it landed during the four-day event was a 30-pound dorado. Of course, dorado don't count, only billfish and ahi.

There were 16 marlin tagged and released and only one qualifying fish weighed in, a 482.5-pounder by the winning team Malindi Sea Fishing Club of Kenya.

Conditions were just not conducive for a good bite.

"It was discouraging," LNBC captain Brooks Morris said. "But it was the same for everybody.

"It's probably great this week."

Dove update: The popular dove destinations of Yuma, Blythe and the Imperial Valley report lots of birds and a positive outlook for the Sept. 1 opener.

The usual monsoon-type storms this time of year have been nonexistent so the birds are holding, according to accounts from those locales.

As usual, that can change quickly. Like tomorrow.
 
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