Record shattered at International Yellowtail Derby

By: Parimal M. Rohit

SAN DIEGO — The 36-day International Yellowtail Derby came to an end June 7, but not without a record or two being shattered during the fishing marathon held in San Diego.

Angler Rick Maxa set a new derby record for largest yellowtail caught, reeling in a 45-pound and 10-ounce tuna aboard his boat on May 11 near Mission Beach. The second largest yellowtail catch was recorded by Katarina Eckert, who reeled in a 29-pound and 2-ounce tuna near the Coronados Islands on May 17. Finishing third was Andy Baumann with his 28-pound and 8-ounce yellowtail caught May 12 near Mission Beach.

Eckert’s catch was a derby record for female anglers.

Yellowtail Derby officials also recognized anglers who reeled in white seabass and halibut.

As previously reported in FishRap, Josh Levine reeled onto his kayak a 45-pound white seabass on May 21, the largest catch in this category. Three private boaters rounded out the list of recognized anglers in the white seabass category, including Ryan Christenson (38-pounder on May 6), Neil Barbour (33-pounder on May 4) and Maxa (23 pounds and 7 ounces on May 5). All four anglers reeled in their respective white seabass catches near Mission Beach.

Barbour topped the halibut chart with his 25-pound and 2-ounce catch near the Coronados on May 30. Finishing behind him were Nancy Ortiz (24 pounds and 8 ounces on May 18 near Imperial Beach) and Charles Wittenberg (17 pounds and 3 ounces on May 2 near La Jolla).

The derby ran from May 2 to June 7. A wrap-up dinner event was held at Bali Hai restaurant.

San Diego Jaycees sponsored and produced the original Yellowtail Derby from 1946 to 1973. John Campbell, a yacht broker and IGFA representative, revived the derby in 2009.

For more information about the derby, visit

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