Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Voices from the Past: Larry St. John, Part II

Woods and Waters

by Larry St. John

Catalina Record Fish, Part II

Mr. Spalding took two the same day, but came under the weights taken by his wife, his tunas weighing 108 3/4 and 92 3/4 pounds. Two 100 pound fish in one day is a feat that no other woman has accomplished, even in Catalina waters.

However, Mrs. Spalding was after larger game and a few days later landed the largest tuna brought to gaff on rod and reel by any angler in ten years. when officially weighed on the Tuna club's scales, it flipped them at 165 pounds. Proudly she slept on her record that night, as well she might. The whole little island city of Avalon talked about the remarkable catch.

The next morning Mrs. Spalding was told at breakfast that her record had already been broken. Capt. George Farensworth, near midnight, had brought in a 198 1/2 pound tuna and captured a twenty year record.

But Mrs. Spalding kept on fishing and her record includes four blue ribbon tuna. Mr. Spalding achieved the rare feat of winning in one season the Tuna club button for tuna, marlin, and broadbill.

Mrs. Keith Spalding showing off a record marlin in Feb. 1922 (sorry for poor quality--it is a scan of a terrible 20-year old photocopy)

Then, to set a fair example to the members of the Tuna club, the president of the club, J.A. Coxe, set out fishing one bright day. He brought in seven button winning tunas and a 372 pound marlin swordfish--a new world's record marlin.

Another notable catch made during the season was a twenty-five pound yellow tail, caught by a dainty Chicago bride, Mrs. Harold Pixley.

All button winning fishes caught at Catalina are weighed by officials of the club and are caught on regulation tackle. Yellow tail of twenty pounds, caught on regulation light takle--rods with six ounce tips and line testing not over 18 pounds--are awarded bronze buttons, while thirty and forty pounders get silver and gold buttons, respectively. The club also award buttons for tuna over 100 pounds.

The record blue-fin or leaping tuna is a 251 pound fish, caught more than twenty years ago. The second largest was a 216 pounder, also taken many years ago by an anglerette, but Mrs. Spalding's tuna is probably the second largest ever landed by a woman.

--Dr. Todd

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