Surf fishing – SoCal Surf Bonanza contest won with big halibut, raises cash for vets


SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA – The first SoCal Surf Bonanza tournament took place last weekend with competitors from every county in Southern California turning in some great catch results, raising lots of money for veterans charity Reel Warriors in the process.

With the rules allowing competitors to fish anywhere in Southern California and results based on the combined measurement of the four longest fish from the target species of halibut, surf perch and croaker, anglers from Ventura down to San Diego put some big fish on the board to score the top prizes.

Results-wise, halibut dominated with several fish around the 20-inch mark combining to take the top spots for Rudy Velasco (1st) and Martin Almanza (2nd), plus big surf perch provided useful back-up fish for Paul Pangan, who secured the biggest perch pot with a 14.75-inch zebra perch. Jason West won the top halibut prize with a 22-inch slab and WON’s Ben Hervey-Murray scored the biggest croaker prize with a 15.75-inch spotfin croaker.

SURF SLAYERS – The SoCal Surf Bonanza top three finishers; Rudy Velasco (1st place, middle left), Martin Almanza (2nd place, middle right), and Paul Pangan (3rd place, far right) with some of their winnings plus organizer Chris Woodburn (far left). All winners received WON subscriptions plus a host of other sponsored prizes.
WINNING HALIBUT – Jason West won the top halibut prize with a 22-inch slab, he also scored a WON subscription and a Daiwa Fuego 3000, Daiwa Hat, and Daiwa J-Braid for catching the biggest fish on Daiwa tackle.

Companies including Daiwa, Phenix, Western Outdoor News, Promar-Ahi, Okuma, Opsin Fluorocarbon, Fishbites, Salty Crew, Rinse Kit, Bixby, Evike, Safe and Sound Treatment Center, Lucky Craft and a host of other generous organizations, charter outfits and bait manufacturers all contributed to an impressive prize package for the top finishers. Rods, combos, coolers, waders and goodie bags were all on the table to win in the raffle contest, too.


The prize giving presentation was held at Four Sons Brewing in Huntington Beach, Orange County with all competitors receiving a hearty lunch as part of their event entry. “Thank you all the partners and donors we had on board to allow us to host a successful event. To all our volunteers today – thank you!” said event organizer Chris Woodburn.

WINNING CROAKER – WON’s Ben Hervey-Murray scored this chunky spotfin to take the top croaker prize and 5th place overall.