The sand bass tagging project is gaining momentum.
Last Saturday night's third in a series of catch-and-release aboard the First String was a huge success, with 32 anglers hooking and landing 220 sand bass.
When the fish is brought aboard, marine biologist Mac Oliphant, who heads the tagging program, inserts a spaghetti-like yellow tag just below the gill plate. The tag bears a number that will give important data when the fish is caught again.
Already, results have surfaced as several returned tags from the first two catch-and-release trips have provided valuable information. The fish moved seven miles west into a South Bay hard-bottom spot within two weeks.
When a tag is returned, the angler receives a financial reward if it is sent to the Department of Fish and Game in Long Beach with information as to where and when it was caught.
If a tagged fish is caught on a party boat, the captain takes care of details.
The success of tagging depends greatly on cooperation of anglers to provide information so Fish and Game can gain knowledge of the sand bass migratory habits and spawning areas.
On Tuesday, Captain Russ Izor of the First String and Oliphant went to San Diego on a one-day tagging trip. This could tell if the fish move into Baja waters or head north.
Phil Friedman of 976-TUNA played host for a charter trip to Coronado Island aboard the Conquest. The 14 anglers using live squid caught a limit of bass, bonito, barracuda and 30 exotics.
Father Tim Mahoney of Loyola Marymount University caught a 28-pound yellowtail. Friedman, of Torrance, pulled a 27-pound yellowtail out of the kelp, Leon Campazzle of Torrance brought to gaff a 27-pound white sea bass, Bill Oakez of San Pedro landed a 24-pound yellowtail and John Roberts of Lomita caught a 21-pound white sea bass.
The American Bass Assn.'s first On the Wall Tournament was held Saturday night at Cabrillo Beach. It was a two-man team effort with anglers fishing from their 14-to-18-foot bass boats. Most of the fish were hooked on mojos.
First place, worth $500, went to brothers Gary and Gregg Stapit of Gardena, who totaled 18 pounds, 2 ounces of sand bass.
Second-place winners Steve Pike and Tom Canaday of Gardena caught 16 pounds, 4 ounces for $310.
Third-place finishers Ed Starp and Richard Albarack of Harbor City landed 15 pounds, 4 ounces of sand bass, $150.
SOUTH BAY CATCHES:
Kirk Lynfield of West Los Angeles, fishing aboard the Matt Walsh, caught the whopper of the week and the largest white sea bass brought on the boat this summer, a 32-pounder.
Albert Alexander of Mar Vista, drifting in his boat the Fishing Toy off Dockweiler Beach, caught a 22 1/2-pound halibut.
Tom Zimmerman of Lomita, on the Monte Carlo at the oil rigs, won the jackpot with a 19-pound white sea bass.
Chen Lo Chow of San Pedro, fishing off the Annie B barge, caught a 14 1/2-pound halibut.
Numerous reports of albacore being caught 200 miles out has South Bay fishing fleets preparing to leave on two-day trips if the white meat tuna move in closer.
Steady catches of barracuda and limits of bass are reported on the local scene.
At Marina Del Rey Sportfishing: The Spitfire fished the bay and anglers chalked up 275 bonito, 67 barracuda, 45 sand bass and four halibut.
The Happyman on two half-day trips returned with 276 bonito, 33 barracuda, 25 sand bass and four halibut.
At Redondo Sportfishing: The City of Redondo anglers hooked 130 bonito and seven barracuda.
The Sea Spray found the bonito eager to grab the bait and 145 went into the sacks, plus 87 sand bass and 38 barracuda.
The Blackjack headed to Catalina and returned with 185 barracuda, 62 bonito and 150 blue perch.
At 22nd Street Landing: The First String headed to Catalina and anglers chalked up 120 bonito, 84 barracuda and 66 calico bass.
The Monte Carlo on a half-day trip to Horseshoe Kelp returned with 120 bonito and 57 calico bass.
The Indian tried Catalina where anglers caught 97 calico bass and 30 barracuda.
At L.A. Harbor Sportfishing: The Sportking worked Catalina and 328 barracuda, 85 calico bass, 12 bonito and two white sea bass went into the sacks.
The Matt Walsh took a half-day trip to the Rockpile and anglers bagged 87 sand bass and a white sea bass.
The Outerlimits fished San Clemente Island and anglers caught a variety--180 calico bass, 41 whitefish, 19 sheepshead, six tiger sharks and two barracuda.
The New Shogun scored at Catalina hauling in 153 calico bass, 85 blue perch and 12 sheepshead.