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Well, the 18th annual After Thanksgiving Halibut Classic took place this past Saturday November 25th, and what can I say.... it turned out to be one pretty darn awesome day for a tournament, and the Halibut made a decent showing as well.

For a relatively small field of teams (23 to be exact), the amount of boated/legal halibut made it pretty fun and interesting come weigh-in time!

The day started off with the early morning check ins, and then was followed a short time later with the traditional gathering of the boats in front of Ventura Bridge (In Mission Bay) for the group photos.

About 9 boats missing from the group photo due to probably getting bait before the role call & start.
Photo by Frank & Nate Price

Team role call eventually takes place as well as a short briefing of some rules and safety. While all this is being done, the Halibut Classic Photo guys (Frank Price & his son Nate) are snapping away from the bridge getting some always classic and killer shots of the group as well as individual boats, and as usual, their shots are just awesome!
A few of the teams before the start.

Photo by Frank & Nate Price

More team shots.
Photo by Frank & Nate Price

Ok, so let's get to the fishing..... here is how things went down.....

First fish honors went to Team Cali Rose, as they radioed in their boated halibut at 8:38am, with their angler being Craig Brooks. A short time later Team Sea-Ker called in their boated fish by angler Mike Sipe at 8:55am, and they were soon followed by Team Crosby calling in their boated Halibut at 9:10am, with angling honors going to Jack Wroncy.

Team Sea-Ker with their 3rd Place fish.
Photo by Frank & Nate Price

Team Crosby with their 2nd place fish. Left to right Corey Crosby, Jack Wroncy, Mark Hampton.
Photo by Frank & Nate Price

Things were starting to heat up here, as next up was Team Surface Breaker calling in a boated fish by angler Vince Dalmaso at 9:25am. Next up would be Team En Fuego notifying tournament control that angler Gary Lamourex put a fish on deck at 9:53am.

Team Surface Breaker with their 1st Place 30.5lb fish.
Photo by Frank & Nate Price

It would be just short of an hour before the next fish was called in, and this was done by Team Ashley Dawn letting tournament control know they are in this game too, as angler Mike Emerton put one on board at 10:43am.

About an hour would roll by before the radio heard it's next boated halibut, and that would be by Team Albie Nut with angler Jerry Laszczak putting a halibut on deck at 11:45am.
Team Albie Nut with their 4th place fish.
Photo by Frank & Nate Price

Team Albie Nuts fish seemed to spur another mini roll of consecutive boated fish, with 3 called in within the span of about 20 minutes, and the next going to Team Reel Deal calling in to Tournament Control that angler Lou Hayden had boated a halibut at 11:50am.

This fish was soon followed by what would end up being the last boated halibut of the tournament, and would go to Team Cali Rose connecting with their second fish of the tournament, as angler Dave Allaband put one on deck at 12:05pm, and ironically they would be the team to start the tournament with the first boated legal halibut, and end the tournament with the last boated legal halibut.

It went like this in the order caught.....

1. Team - Cali Rose - Angler Craig Brooks, boated halibut - 8:38am, 27 3/4", 9.1lbs
2. Team - Sea-Ker - Angler Mike Sipe, boated halibut - 8:55am, 32.5", 15.9lbs
3rd Place $300 cash & $100 Dana Landing Cert. Total $400
3. Team - Crosby - Angler Jack Wroncy, boated halibut, 9:10am, 36.5", 19.2lbs
2nd Place $400 cash & $100 Dana Landing Cert - Total $500
4. Team - Surface Breaker - Angler Vince Dalmaso, boated halibut, 9:25am 39", 30.5lbs
1st Place $1000 cash plus all Jackpots of $2508 - Total $3508
5. Team - En Fuego - Angler Gary Lamourex, boated halibut, 9:53am, 30.5", 13.0lbs
6. Team - Ashley Dawn - Angler Mike Emerton, boated halibut, 10:43am, 29.5", 10.3lbs
7. Team - Albie Nut - Angler Jerry Laszczak, boated halibut, 11:45am, 33", 14.4lbs
4th Place $200 cash
8. Team - Reel Deal - Angler Lou Hayden, boated halibut, 11:50am, 25.5", 6.4lbs
9. Team - Cali Rose - Angler Dave Allaband, boat halibut, 12:05pm, 22 3/4", 4.9lbs
10. Team - Reel Deal - Angler Carl Stewart, boated lizardfish, 1:22pm, 27" 4.2lbs

My little girl Miley on the left, and her best friend Chloe having fun at the weigh-ins. She was suppose to film the fish being weighed, but as you can see, she was more immersed in filming herself LOL
Photo by Frank & Nate Price

I absolutely have to mention this before I end this! Even though the number of teams was still lower than what we would like, this year was really pretty incredible in so many ways! Just a killer vibe this year, and what goes without saying although it MUST always be said. I'm a one man show on this thing, and I could not nor can not make this anywhere near what it is without the consistent help of the sponsors and even some of the tournament participants. It's really cool what many of you do to help this thing be an even better tournament. For instance......

Dana Landing Tackle & Deli is the headline & Premier sponsor of the tournament, and Steve Pinard and John White have been nothing but incredible in helping me with this. They make it really painless to be honest, and as many of you saw, this year the food was pretty incredible. I didn't even have the slightest notion this was going to happen, but they set up a bitchen brand new custom pop up tent, put out tables, and to the surprise and delight of everyone, they had pulled pork sandwiches being made from freshly pulled pork that was being slowly cooked all day from early morning...... the stuff was AWESOME!!

Also huge thanks to all my other sponsors who have helped for so many years...... hope I don't forget anyone here, but those like......

*Bloody Decks, Jason & Ali for kicking down Fishdope Certs and various swag for giveaways..... Thanks guys!

*Bob Hoose/ Berkley - Bob has kicked us down some incredibly cool stuff over the years and just helps me big year after year...... thank you Bob!!

*Bay Park Fish Co/ Marc Muller, Jerry Adams. These guys have taken care of us year after year, and Jerry even fished it this year. It's a kickass place to eat, and if you've never been there and are in the area, give it a shot.... you'll be pleasantly surprised!! Thanks you guys!

*EB Bros Bait. These guys have styled us out every year.... another huge thank you!

*Catalina Offshore Products/ Tommy Gomes. Tommy is Tommy man, just one really cool dude who always makes a little something happen for us in between his crazy busy schedule. Thanks Tommy!

*Pacific Coast Sportfishing Magazine/ Bill DePriest. A BIG shout out and thanks to Bill at PCS for always kicking down and taking care of us for this tournament...... thanks!!

*Squidco/ Joey. Huge and continued thanks goes out to Joey for always taking care of us as well...... thanks dude!

*My longtime bud Ramon at Chingon Custom Metal Fabrication. Ramon bro, if you read this, a big thanks for helping me out year after year brother...... it's hugely appreciated.

Then I have the guys in the tournament who on their very own and without me asking just come up and donate some really really incredible stuff over the years. I'm just winging it here, so if I forget anyone here, please forgive me, but I'm hurrying because my girl is hollering at me to put her to bed lol.

John Pye on the "Menu", what can I say man.... you just always seem to help out by donating some really nice gaffs you make..... thank you so much John!

Bob Lyman on the "Fish Fetish", you are another who has kicked down some cool stuff over the years, and the 2 brand new rods this year were pretty cool man..... big thanks from me!

Mike Emerton on the Ashlea Dawn. Another that has just been extremely helpful in kicking down some really cool stuff for the giveaways..... it all helps.... thanks!

BD brother Felipe, who drives the magazines here to SD for me...... if your reading this brother, a huge thank you for always helping me!!

And then my two non fishing work buddies, Big Dave Turner and Steve Fernandez.... thanks guys for always coming down and helping out with things during weigh in and when I'm probably stressing the most LOL

And lastly, my longtime buddy and original fishing partner Vince Dalmaso!! Vinney is the guy who writes out the large checks, and helps me during morning check ins, and this year he actually wrote out his own 1st place winning check!

I haven't been able to fish the tournament for the past couple years, and more before that, as there is too much to do with the tournament, but the few times I did try to fish it, it was always with Vince.... but we just never connected on the right fish.

Vince was actually my fishing partner and winner of the very first year ( with 4 boats) that this tournament started. He won with a 17lber in 2000 and caught that fish right after I had lost a very well estimated 40lb halibut that was half over the rail when she went ballistic and busted off falling back into the water and to her freedom. That memory still haunts me to this day!!! :(

Ok, I'm sure there are more but I really have to run right now, (daughter is getting mad).

Thanks again to all the teams that showed up for the tournament this year.... it was fun!!

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