Fisherman’s Landing maintains waterfront bragging rights for another year
BY MIKE STEVENS
POINT LOMA – The book was closed on 9th-annual WON San Diego Jackpot (SDOJ) with the perpetual trophy staying put at Fisherman’s Landing as the Condor repeated as the top sportboat in the event that included vessels from each of the “Big 3” neighboring Point Loma landings.
The big fish of the event was bagged by WON-event regular, “Sinker Rig” Shane Wrightson who stepped away from his nickname and found the big biter with a 300-gram knife jig he dropped off the Condor at 3:40 a.m. Wrightson caught “a bunch of others” and said the fish decked were about found about 50/50 night and day. With the 84.2-pound bluefin, he scored $940 cash for the first-place share in the combined-boat jackpot, a Daiwa Saltiga 2-speed reel and Proteus rod and a pair of Costa sunglasses.
Daiwa stands as the top sponsor of the SDOJ, and a big chunk of their support comes in the form of the “Fish Daiwa and Win” contingency program which awards a shopping spree for anglers who finish in the top 3 and registered with a proof of purchase for a Daiwa product at check-in. Wrightson purchased a Daiwa Lexa 400 specifically for this purpose, but he forgot to bring the receipt, so he ran over and bought a Daiwa jig to qualify. Wrightson finished third last year, but also scored in the “Fish Daiwa and Win” offer.
Prior to holding up the trophy beside Wrightson and winning fish still hanging on the scale, Condor captain Trevor Fried cracked a joke along the lines of, “it always seems like I’m standing up here!” with a chuckle. Smack talk between landings, captains and crew have always been held in high regard at the SDOJ, and it’s not like Fried already has the stats to back it up. When he drove the Condor to a victory in last year’s installment of the event, the top three finishers in 2022 all stepped off the Condor in arguably the most dominant perfomance in SDOJ history.
There would be no sweep this year as the second- and third-place finishers came off Oceanside 95 out of Point Loma Sportfishing. Brad St. James clocked in with a 78.8 pounder to secure second. His fish came on the boat’s second stop at 2:30 a.m. when he dropped a 350-gram Flat-fall 260 feet down. St. James knew he was in the hunt when he reached the scale, and the strong showing earned him a Daiwa Proteus rod, Saltiga reel, Costa sunglasses along with the second-place cash. Brad Southworth took the bronze with a 74.8-pound bluefin tuna he hauled aboard the Oceanside 95.
O-95 captain Rick Slavkin also told WON that their fish were also compiled at about a half-and-half split between night and day bites, and that was also the case on the boat representing H&M Landing.
The newly-renovated (former Guadalupe Island shark-diving boat) Horizon out of H&M Landing may not have brought a tuna to scale big enough to finish in the top 3 but they put on a strong showing resulting in their heading for home early and being the first SDOJ boat back at the docks. Horizon anglers put together good numbers of tuna in the 60- to 65-plus pound range, and the size was so consistent that the crew had to weigh a bunch of them just to determine what the top 3 fish were just from that boat.
Along with also saying he ran into an equal mix of day and night fish, Horizon captain Dylan Gerson said, “the best fishing was at night with good numbers on jigs. The daytime fishing was slower, but it was about 50/50 night and grey light fish, and we got a few in the afternoon and also saw a school of yellowfin.”
Like all Western Outdoor News events, the SDOJ is powered by generous sponsors who provide all of the prizes for top finishers as well as the raffle the giveaway bags that each participating angler gets at check in. The 2023 SDOJ, Daiwa, Costa, Berkley, Plano and Gamakatsu were instrumental in making sure a good number of anglers went home heavy-handed. WON subscriptions and T-shirts were also thrown in to fatten the prize pot.
Keep an eye out for the 2024 SDOJ next summer, and get a taste of that tournament atmosphere as a sportboat angler. Don’t be one of the dozens of anglers that swing by the booth in front of H&M Landing and tell WON staffers, “If I would have known I would have done this!”