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Pete Thomas
Solana Beach, California
Former Los Angeles Times outdoors reporter; now writes for this website, GrindTv.com and Yahoo homepage
Interests: Outdoor activities, reading, good food, beer and wine
Recent Activity
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Whale watchers off Cape Cod watched in awe this week as an enormous basking shark appeared near a feeding humpback whale. Basking shark sightings are rare, and the migration patterns of the planet’s second-largest fish – second to whale sharks – are still largely a mystery to scientists. The accompanying footage, captured aboard a Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises vessel, shows the massive filter-feeder gliding just beneath the surface, its mouth agape, consuming plankton. Though this was an extraordinary sighting, more dramatic was that of the humpback whale lunge-feeding at the surface, inspiring humorous commentary by the videographer, who deadpans after... Continue reading
Posted Jun 17, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Lance Peterson, a fly-fishing guide in the East Cape region of Baja California Sur, can now add opah to his list of rare catches. But Friday's catch was really more of a collection after Peterson spotted the colorful “moonfish” while kayak fishing in the Sea of Cortez. "There were absolutely no rods or reels or fish tackle of any kind involved – just a kayak and a gaff,” he said. “We spotted it bobbing around offshore, confirmed it with binoculars and then went out to fetch it. It was dead when we got to it.” Mysteriously, there were no gaff... Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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It’s rare enough to spot a whale shark in the pristine water beyond Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, but to see one swimming inside the marina might be unheard of. “This is a first-time event in Cabo,” Tracy Ehrenberg, general manager of Pisces Sportfishing, said of the Monday morning sighting. The 20-foot whale shark was spotted near the back of the harbor by a man who thought it was a great white shark. "Then we heard that others said no it was a mako... then the truth came out it was actually a WHALE shark... the largest fish on the planet,"... Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas An angler fishing off the Baja California city of Loreto has landed a 430-pound yellowfin tuna that might have become a world record if he had followed proper procedure. Robert Ross caught the massive fish on a trip out of the remote Pisces Collection Lodge, on the Sea of Cortez near Loreto. The lodge is not yet open and does not have a certified scale, or cold storage. Ross told Pisces Sportfishing general manager Tracy Ehrenberg that he had little choice but to fillet the tuna after weighing it on a butcher's scale at a nearby ranch.... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas Authorities in South Africa’s Kruger National Park are investigating a hit-and-run incident in which a cheetah was struck and left to die on a park road. A photo of the dead animal was posted Wednesday by Ralf Kalwa to the Road Ecology Facebook page, in which Kalwa described the cheetah as “one of 3 siblings.” Times Live reports that the carcass of the sub-adult female cheetah was discovered a day earlier by a park ranger, and that the animal had been dead for hours. “There were no witnesses at the scene and the ranger alerted all the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 28, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Gray whale on the beach at Trestles. Credit: Mark Girardeau‎ By Pete Thomas The carcass of a 40-foot gray whale that washed ashore Sunday at a popular Southern California surf spot most likely will be towed to sea when it becomes practical and as weather conditions permit. The carcass discovered at Lower Trestles near San Clemente drew large crowds, and an image of the whale was posted to Instagram by 11-time world surfing champion Kelly Slater. Anyone for a surf at Trestles? Im sure that #BeachedWhale oil should keep the crowds to a minimum coming into summer! Sketchy. Great white... Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Images showing the turtle before its rescue are courtesy of Jason Kunewa/Dana Wharf Sportfishing By Pete Thomas A massive leatherback turtle that had become entangled in kelp off Orange County is free, thanks to the heroic efforts of Dana Wharf Sportfishing crewman Jason Kunewa. Kunewa and Capt. Bo Daniels were 15 miles offshore aboard the San Mateo on Sunday, searching for tuna and whales, when they spotted what they thought was a large kelp paddy. “Then I saw a head come out,” Kunewa said. “It was the biggest turtle I’d ever seen. It was longer than me and about three... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Graphic photos have emerged showing a great white shark weighing more than 1,000 pounds on display at a market in Zhoushan, China. The 14-foot shark was said to have been caught “mistakenly” last week in a net hauled up on a blustery night by Wang Xianjin, according to the Chinese-language Netease News. “I’ve been fishing for 27 years and never have I seen such a big shark,” Wang said. The Shanghaiist reports that, "as a final act of revenge,” the struggling shark destroyed Wang’s $10,000 net. The initial offer for the shark opened at about $1,500, but Wang said he... Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas A tourist in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, on Tuesday reeled from the depths a mysterious alien-like fish that looks somewhat like an albino shark. The peculiar specimen – pinkish-white, with a distended stomach – was caught a mile offshore by a Chicago angler fishing with Capt. Jaime Rendon of the panga, Dr. Pescado. The shark was photographed, then released. The photos appeared Tuesday night on the Pisces Sportfishing Fleet’s Facebook page, under the heading, “ALIEN FISH IN CABO?” Tracy Ehrenberg, Pisces general manager, sent the images to biologists in Mexico, hoping for an identification. We emailed the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Photos by Jaime Rendon, via Pisces Sportfishing **Update (2:30 p.m.): The mystery fish appears to have been identified By Pete Thomas A Cabo San Lucas sportfishing captain on Tuesday reeled from the depths a mysterious alien-like fish that somewhat resembles an albino shark, or shark fetus. But the bizarre-looking fish, with a distended stomach, was said to be alive when it was caught (and eventually released) by Capt. Jaime Rendon. The photos appeared Tuesday night on the Pisces Sportfishing Fleet’s Facebook page, under the heading, “ALIEN FISH IN CABO?” (Tracy Ehrenberg, Pisces general manager, has sent the photos to biologists... Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas It sounds like science fiction: tens of thousands of voracious, fast-growing fish escape from ocean pens in a foreign environment and begin migrating up the coast, wreaking havoc on native fisheries. But this is really happening, as thousands of cobia, which are found in the Atlantic but unknown to the Eastern Pacific, were accidentally released from an Ecuadorian aquaculture facility during late summer. They've since been detected off Colombia and Panama, and at least one scientist believes the "rogue" fish are headed to California, with potentially "horrifying" consequences. The cobia have been migrating north at a rate... Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Dolphins often steal the spotlight during the whale-watching season, but rarely do passengers get to witness what's known as a dolphin stampede. The accompanying footage, captured Thursday by Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Safari, shows what happens when hundreds, sometimes thousands of common dolphins decide as a group to rush wildly across the ocean’s surface, as if in a panic. The company stated in a news release: “Whale watchers aboard a catamaran with Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Safari experienced a once in a lifetime thrill when hundreds of common dolphins, without warning or provocation, began porpoising at high speed... Continue reading
Posted Mar 10, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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The powerful storm that raged across Southern California on Monday featured ferocious winds, booming thunder, and brilliant lightning strikes – including several near the iconic Queen Mary in Long Beach. The accompanying image, revealing a 1,000-foot ship seemingly reliving a tempestuous moment from a bygone era, was captured by Vanessa Perez and posted to Instagram. The image was then shared to Facebook by Downtown Long Beach with the description: “Utterly Awesome.” Mondaze ⚡️🌦🚢 A photo posted by _Vz_ (@veezee_p) on Mar 7, 2016 at 8:02am PST Reads one of the Facebook comments: “An ode to the ‘Grey Ghost,' " in... Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas A mysterious type of octopus with a ghostlike appearance has been discovered by scientists during a recent expedition to Necker Island in the mid-Pacific. The “remarkable little octopod” was observed Saturday atop a flat rock at a depth of 14,000 feet, according to Michael Vecchione, a NOAA scientist who was part of the Okeanos Explorer mission. Scientists photographed the nearly translucent octopus via the remotely operated vehicle, Deep Discoverer. This octopus is not described in scientific journals and most likely does not belong to a described genus. What's known is that it belongs to a distinct group... Continue reading
Posted Mar 3, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas A gray whale believed to be albino has been documented in Scammon’s Lagoon in Baja California, Mexico, for the first time in at least three years. The same whale was spotted in 2008 and 2009, as a juvenile. It might also have been spotted in 2013, according to at least one report. This time, though, the white whale is traveling with her calf, who is not albino. (Both whales can be seen in the accompanying video, and a second video showing basically the same footage. The footage was captured last week.) The whale’s identity was confirmed this... Continue reading
Posted Feb 23, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Sometimes when you’re fishing, that last extra cast really pays off. A.J. Klein, of New Castle, Delaware, can attest to this after landing an 11-pound northern-strain largemouth bass to establish a new state record. The lunker was caught over the weekend at Wagamons Pond near Milton. It breaks the previous record, a 10-pound, 10-ounce largemouth also caught at Wagamons, in 2012. Fishing had been slow for Klein, 36, and his friend, Joe Lattis, They had spent four hours on Lattis’ boat and teamed to catch only one small bass and a yellow perch, before giving up. But Klein made one... Continue reading
Posted Feb 23, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Most shark stories have to do with the capture of enormous specimens, or attacks on humans by sharks that mistake surfers and swimmers as prey. The following story, however, is of the heartwarming variety, involving a colorful shark named Panda, saved by a student in Queensland, Australia, and his dad. Panda is a brownbanded bamboo shark, whose life began inside of an egg, which somehow became snarled in a net found by a Dunwich State School pupil named Laurence, and his dad. The egg was delivered to the University of Queensland’s Moreton Bay Research Station and Study Centre just before... Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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A massive white seabass caught recently by a kayak angler off La Jolla, Calif., might break a line-class world record that has stood for nearly 50 years. Brian Fagan, 56, hooked the 74.2-pound seabass near the kelp beds at sunrise. The Poway angler was towed for 30 minutes before the weary fish appeared within range of his gaff. Fagan told the San Diego Union-Tribune that he expected the white seabass, which he enticed with a live mackerel and delivered to shore on his lap, would weigh at least 50 pounds – but it tipped the Dana Landing scale at 74.2... Continue reading
Posted Feb 18, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Witnessing the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, belongs on the bucket list of anyone who appreciates breathtaking natural wonders. But few have witnessed this ethereal light show as intimately as Horacio Llorens, who recently soared beneath a radiant aurora in the sky above Tromso, Norway while piloting a paraglider. The Red Bull athlete donned a wetsuit because most of his flight was over water, and wore heated gloves to stay warm in sub-zero temperatures. Special lights were placed in his motorized aircraft to light the wing against the changing colors of the sky. The footage was captured at multiple angles... Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
Police are investigating a report by a snowboarder that he was shoved out of a chairlift by a skier Sunday at Aspen Highlands in Colorado. Seth Beckton, the snowboarder, fell face-first 20 to 25 feet, but was fortunate to have landed in soft powder and was not injured. “I honestly thought I was dead,” he told the Aspen Times. “Because I didn’t know where we were [or how high]. It’s not cool to think anyone would do that.” Beckton, 28, did not report the morning incident until the end of the day, at the urging of friends. This will make... Continue reading
Posted Jan 19, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas Two Western Australian anglers gained notoriety this week after landing an enormous hammerhead shark and tiger shark from the beach. Jethro Bonnitcha and Joshua Butterworth, of the Esperance area, released both sharks after posing for photos. The hammerhead measured 13 feet 6 inches. The tiger shark was not measured but was at least 12 feet long, Butterworth said. Bonnitcha was handling the rod during both marathon battles, and nearly collapsed from fatigue during the 2.5-hour fight with the hammerhead. Butterworth assisted with the precarious beach landings, and releases. “You can’t catch sharks like that alone,” he said,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 15, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas A dorado tagged and released on December 13 off Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, was recaptured 19 days later 500 miles south off the mainland state of Jalisco. In that time the year-old dorado, a.k.a mahimahi and dolphinfish, grew three inches and gained 8 ounces to weigh 6.5 pounds. The distance the small fish traveled in that time, while impressive, was not as surprising as the tag being recovered by Gray Fishtag Research, which reported its findings this week. “The recovery rate for tags in smaller fish like this is small to begin with, but the commercial fisherman... Continue reading
Posted Jan 11, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas This week I was informed that a gray whale photographed off Southern California on Jan. 2 is the same whale I photographed last Feb. 1, and that the whale has become quite famous locally because of its distinctive appearance. Meet "Half-Fluke," who some time ago endured a killer whale attack that resulted in the removal of a large portion of the mammal’s right tail fin. The cetacean is easily identifiable for researchers such as Alisa Schulman-Janiger, who named Half-Fluke and keeps track of notable marine mammal sightings. The more times Half-Fluke is documented, the more researchers are... Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Hurricane Sandra, which on Thursday morning was a major hurricane boasting sustained winds of 130 mph, is expected to weaken rapidly later in the day as it begins to veer to the northeast, toward the Mexican mainland. Sandra is expected to pass beneath Cabo San Lucas, at Baja California’s tip, as a tropical storm (winds of 73 mph or lighter) late Friday. There were no warnings in effect but the National Hurricane Center issued this caution in its 8 a.m. report: "INTERESTS IN SOUTHERN PORTIONS OF THE BAJA CALIFORNIA PENINSULA SHOULD MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF SANDRA. A TROPICAL STORM WATCH... Continue reading
Posted Nov 26, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Tropical Storm Sandra, a late-season cyclone that developed Tuesday off southern Mexico, is poised to deliver heavy rain, strong winds and flooding in Cabo San Lucas and elsewhere in Baja Sur, and on the mainland coast later this week. On Tuesday afternoon the storm was located 525 miles south-southwest of Manzanillo and packing sustained winds of 65 mph. But Sandra was intensifying rapidly and is expected to attain hurricane strength (74-mph winds or stronger) by Tuesday night. According to the National Hurricane Center, Sandra’s projected path shows a potential hit on Baja California’s tip as early as Friday afternoon. The... Continue reading
Posted Nov 24, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors