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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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Jeff Thomason takes aim; photos are courtesy of Thomason By Pete Thomas/GrindTv For the second time this summer, the host of a hunting television show has traveled to California and used a bowfishing outfit to capture a world-record mako shark. Also for the second time this summer, the bow angler is being assailed via social media by shark fans and conservationists. Jeff Thomason is the latest record-setter. The 809-pound mako shark he shot and reeled in recently off Huntington Beach, has been approved by the Bowfishing Association of America as the new world record. Thomason, who is from Texas and... Continue reading
Posted 12 hours ago at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Major airlines have begun accepting reservations for commercial flights to and from Los Cabos International Airport (SJD), beginning October 8. Unofficially, flights could resume even sooner (some are saying so, perhaps hopefully, in private). The airport, on the outskirts of San Jose del Cabo, sustained significant damage when Hurricane Odile came ashore in the state of Baja California Sur on September 14-15. The storm hit Cabo San Lucas, at Baja’s tip, the hardest. Alaska Airlines on Friday at 7 p.m. updated its website to reflect that it would resume flying one daily roundtrip flight from Los Angeles to Los Cabos... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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U.S.-caught yellowfin tuna weighed 101.8 pounds, and had its tail bitten off by a shark; photo courtesy of Coral Sea Sportfishing By Pete Thomas A 101-pound yellowfin tuna was caught this week aboard the Coral Sea in U.S. waters, somewhere between Catalina and San Clemente islands. This is yet another oddity during the oddest summer of local sportfishing in recent history. Not because it’s a yellowfin tuna–thousands have been caught since June, during the best local yellowfin bite in recent history–but because of its size. Most yellowfin caught in U.S. waters, during years when the subtropical species migrates this far... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Perhaps the sea lion was merely trying to locate a safe haven, but more likely it swam into the shark-diving cage by mistake. The accompanying video, uploaded last week to YouTube, shows a sea lion (not a seal, as described) swimming into a metal cage through a wide viewing portal. The mammal then became stuck while trying to exit through the metal bars. Fortunately, one of the divers inside the cage used his foot to help the pinniped escape. Unfortunately, at least one large great white shark (seen at the beginning of the footage) was lurking nearby. The YouTube user,... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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*Sept. 26 update: Alaska Airlines and United Airlines have begun booking flights to Los Cabos, beginning Oct. 8. Click here for details. *Sept. 23 update: This post has been updated to reflect that commercial flights to and from Los Cabos International Airport might NOT resume before the end of the month, or even well into October. The government had hoped for a September 27 reopening. Cabo San Lucas has made remarkable strides toward recovery from the overwhelming devastation caused by Hurricane Odile on September 14-15. But prospective tourists still have many questions regarding opening dates for hotels, the reopening of... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Paddlers violate NOAA guidelines and possibly break law off Dana Point, Ca. By Pete Thomas/GrindTv While it might seem like fun to paddle a kayak or SUP board near a blue whale, or to pursue the giant mammal in an attempt to stay as close as possible, it’s ill-advised and in many cases, illegal. The accompanying footage shows a kayaker and paddleboarder exhibiting what might be perceived as harassment of a small blue whale off Dana Point, California. NOAA whale-watching guidelines suggest that people aboard any type of vessel stay 100 yards away whenever possible (sometimes whales approach idle or... Continue reading
Posted Sep 17, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Whale shark swims alongside Triton sportfisher By Pete Thomas/GrindTv The number of bizarre catches or sightings off Southern California continues to rise and on Sunday perhaps the rarest visitor to date was documented: a whale shark. Whale sharks are the world’s largest fish, reaching lengths of 30-plus feet. And while these docile plankton-eaters are often seen by divers at destinations such as Hawaii, southern Mexico and the Sea of Cortez, they’re almost never encountered off Southern California. The whale shark spotted Sunday, east of Santa Catalina Island, was estimated to measure 20 to 25 feet. It approached and even bumped... Continue reading
Posted Sep 15, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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As Hurricane Odile was bearing down on Cabo San Lucas and elsewhere in Baja California Sur on Sunday evening, local business owners took to Facebook to post their concerns. “This will give you an idea of what our seas are like,” reads a post from Pisces Sportfishing in Cabo San Lucas, referring to the image atop this post, which shows the famous arch at Land’s End being slammed by powerful waves. The image was captured by Nathalia Calvo. Odile boasted maximum sustained winds of 125 mph (Category 3) as it spun on a course that could lead directly over Baja... Continue reading
Posted Sep 14, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Tropical storm Norbert is poised to become a hurricane by Wednesday afternoon, and is expected to skirt the Pacific coast of the Baja California peninsula. This is a vast departure from its predecessor, the powerful Hurricane Marie, and other Eastern Pacific storms this season that have tracked far to the west, away from land. Tropical storm watches or warnings have been issued for areas throughout Baja California Sur, and a hurricane watch might be issued later on Wednesday. As of 11 a.m. Norbert’s center was located 241 miles south-southeast of Cabo San Lucas on Baja’s tip. The storm boasted maximum... Continue reading
Posted Sep 3, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Eric Kim poses with 50-pound wahoo; photo by Amy Elliott By Pete Thomas This will go down as the best summer of fishing in recent times off Southern California, thanks to an abundance of yellowfin tuna and dorado over a vast swath of ocean west and southwest of Orange County. But on Saturday a 50-pound wahoo (ono) was caught by a private boater about 12 miles west of Dana Point, adding a dash more Mexican flavor to a phenomenal bite on exotics that has lasted since mid-July. Yellowfin and dorado occasionally venture into U.S. waters, during warm-water summers, but wahoo... Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Hammerhead shark chases stingray (circled) near swimmers; video screen grab By Pete Thomas/GrindTv Footage recently emerged showing a large hammerhead shark pursuing prey off Destin, Florida, with two people standing close by in the shallows. There were no injuries to the waders–the shark was going after a stingray–but a media frenzy nonetheless ensued. “Couple have terrifying escape from mammoth hammerhead share,” screams one of dozens of headlines atop stories posted over the weekend. “See lucky escape for swimming couple who don’t notice the hammerhead shark just feet away,” reads another headline that implies the shark might have gone after the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas/GrindTv Laird Hamilton, a legendary big-wave surfer, made headlines Wednesday by helping to rescue a surfer in distress in enormous surf at Surfrider State Beach in Malibu. But it's what Hamilton did on Tuesday evening that has captured the attention of surfers monitoring highlights during a powerful swell generated by Hurricane Marie, off Mexico about 1,000 miles away. Hamilton shot the pier on one of the larger set waves, and the dangerous feat was captured on video. Hamilton, who owns homes in Hawaii and Malibu, was on the beach when he spotted a surfer who had lost his... Continue reading
Posted Aug 27, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Miguel Angel Castro poses with 335-pound yellowfin tuna; photo by Eric Brictson As Hurricane Marie was beginning to send huge swells to the Cabo San Lucas area on Saturday, local panga fishermen landed one of the largest yellowfin tuna ever caught in the region. The tuna weighed 335 pounds on a Gordo Banks Pangas scale. Gordo Banks Pangas runs out of La Playita in San Jose del Cabo, north of Cabo San Lucas on the Sea of Cortez. The tuna bit a trolled live skipjack tuna at Outer Gordo Bank. It was landed after a two-hour fight, involving three fishermen,... Continue reading
Posted Aug 26, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Massive swells generated by Hurricane Marie off Mexico are predicted to reach Southern California beginning Tuesday. Wave heights in some areas, notably north Orange County, are expected to exceed 20 feet on Wednesday, when the swell is expected to peak. Wave heights at the world-famous Wedge in Newport Beach could exceed 25 feet, according to a media alert issued Monday by Surfline.com. Hurricane Marie, located about 490 miles southwest of Cabo San Lucas and churning in a northwesterly direction, reached Category 5 strength on Sunday. On Monday, Marie was at Category 4 strength, still a major storm, with maximum sustained... Continue reading
Posted Aug 25, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By-the-wind sailors strand by thousands in La Push, Washington; photo via NOAA Olympic Peninsula National Marine Sanctuary By Pete Thomas, GrindTv They ride the wind and currents, traveling in whatever direction nature intends, and every so often the mysterious blue sea creatures end up stranded on beaches throughout the west coast of North America. This is one of those years. By-the-wind sailors, as the gelatinous, oval-shaped critters are sometimes called, began washing ashore in Washington and Oregon more than a month ago. Since then the mass stranding has taken on the form of an alien-like invasion, with the critters showing... Continue reading
Posted Aug 20, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Gray whale swims inside Los Angeles-Long Beach Harbor; photo by ©Erik Combs/Harbor Breeze Cruises A young gray whale–believed to be the same whale spotted Wednesday in San Diego’s Mission Bay–was spotted Friday inside Los Angeles-Long Beach Harbor. The accompanying image, showing a barnacle-covered 16-foot gray whale, was captured early Friday afternoon by Eric Combs for Harbor Breeze Cruises. The tiny whale–16 feet is about the same size as newborns–probably has been scouring the sandy harbor bottom for possible prey items. Most of the 22,000 gray whales have already reached their Arctic feeding grounds, having spent the winter in Baja California... Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Joe Ludlow poses with 181-pound opah caught aboard the Excel Three anglers recently completed a rare and perhaps unprecedented feat when each landed an opah on the same day aboard a San Diego-based boat fishing in Mexican waters. Opah, also referred to as moonfish, are rarely caught by sport fishermen, and for three people to catch one on the same vessel was considered extraordinary. But lost amid the hype swirling in fishing circles when the photo of this opah trifecta surfaced on the Excel Sportfishing Facebook page was that one of the moonfish, a 181-pounder caught by Joe Ludlow, is... Continue reading
Posted Aug 13, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Humpback whale surfaces for a view of the Empire State Building; photo by ©Artie Raslich/Gotham Whale By Pete Thomas/GrindTv Two weeks ago, we profiled the stunning humpback whale feeding display occurring close to shore off Monterey, California. Enthusiasts are still watching in awe as the giant mammals lunge upward through vast shoals of anchovies to ingest thousands of the small fish in a single gulp. But humpback whales are putting on a spectacular exhibition in nearshore waters off New York and New Jersey, too, gorging on schooling menhaden. The East Coast phenomenon is unique in that more whales are showing... Continue reading
Posted Aug 11, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Armando Castillo, Joe Ludlow and Travis Savala (left to right) pose with opah aboard the Excel By Pete Thomas, GrindTv Anglers aboard the San Diego-based Excel have spent the past several days loading up on tuna and yellowtail, during what many are describing as the most phenomenal bite in regional waters in decades. But standing out among the yellowfin tuna, bluefin tuna, and yellowtail are three enormous fish shaped like the moon and nearly as radiant. They're opah, weighing in at 151, 180, and 124 pounds, caught respectively by Armando Castillo, Joe Ludlow, and Travis Savala (see photo). To catch... Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Minke whale images are courtesy of ©Slater Moore By Pete Thomas/GrindTv A minke whale seen breaching multiple times on Sunday with its mouth open, revealing the baleen plates it uses to filter plankton, has been a widely-discussed topic on social media. Mostly because this type of behavior is so rare, but also because it was captured in a photo sequence. Slater Moore was working on the Ocean Explorer out of Newport Beach in Southern California. The captain was headed toward a blue whale in the distance, but as a photographer Moore knew to keep his camera ready. Suddenly, off to... Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Gray whale dragging kelp and perhaps a rope off Mission Beach; photo via Facebook By Pete Thomas, GrindTv For those who like to root for the underdog, a young gray whale off California is struggling mightily, yet against strong odds, to reach its Arctic home waters. Last Thursday the 25-foot juvenile whale was spotted off Mission Beach and La Jolla in San Diego County. It was entangled with rope—possibly a commercial fishing line—and kelp, and was clearly encumbered (see top image). Most gray whales have already reached their Arctic feeding grounds, after spending the winter and part of spring in... Continue reading
Posted Jul 29, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Add opah to the list of exotic catches made off Southern California during the El Niño-like summer of 2014. Tosh Williams poses with 50-pound opah A 50-pound opah was caught Sunday morning by Tosh Williams aboard the Fury, which runs from Dana Wharf Sportfishing. The Fury was on an overnight excursion that departed for the fishing grounds Saturday night. The catch was made 50 miles south of Dana Point, about 22 miles east of San Clemente Island. The crew stopped the vessel and turned on the bright lights at about 4 a.m. Sunday. After some chumming of anchovies, bluefin tuna... Continue reading
Posted Jul 28, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas, via GrindTv There are fish tales, and there are fish tails. This tale involves a common thresher shark, caught recently off Florida, which boasted a tail so long that it boosted the predator’s overall length to about 20 feet. Common thresher sharks are also referred to as long-tailed thresher sharks, but even so, this shark's tail seemed to resemble the rib bone of a whale. “Normally a thresher’s tail is about as long as its body, but you’re right, this one had an abnormally long tail,” said Mark “the Shark” Quartiano, a popular but controversial fishing guide... Continue reading
Posted Jul 24, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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A German astronaut with the European Space Agency is showing the world what the fighting between Gaza and Israel looks like from space. Alexander Gerst captured two very similar images recently from the International Space Station. They reveal city lights, but also explosions and missile or rocket trails streaming across the sky. On Wednesday, Gerst posted one of the images to Facebook and Twitter, beneath the caption: "My saddest photo yet. From #ISS we can actually see explosions and rockets flying over #Gaza & #Israel." (The image is posted above.) Many of the Facebook comments, in German-language, are from people... Continue reading
Posted Jul 23, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Two paddlers enjoyed the thrill of lifetime recently off Argentina, when their kayak was lifted out of the water by a southern right whale. The man and woman might also be lucky that they weren’t injured, because this does not appear to be a case where the whales actively approached the kayak. Alisa Schulman-Janiger, a California-based whale researcher, said after watching the footage that the paddlers appear to have stopped paddling, and their momentum carried them toward the whales as the cetaceans milled at the surface. Video screen grab (One paddle can be seen out of the water, and stationary,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 22, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors