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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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A 1,368-pound blue marlin was caught Tuesday by Guy Kitaoka off Kailua-Kona on the the big island of Hawaii. It’s believed to be the largest blue marlin caught off Kona in 23 years, and falls short of the world record–a 1,376-pound blue caught off Kona in 1982–by only eight pounds. Kitaoka was fishing with Capt. Darrell Omori aboard a 21-foot boat, Dayna, in an area where large tuna were teeming. He used a skipjack tuna to bait the monster billfish, and had it alongside his boat after an hour-long fight. Capt. Bomboy Llanes, fishing nearby aboard another boat, helped deliver... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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A dorado caught off Cabo San Lucas last week was said to have weighed 102 pounds, which is 15 pounds heavier than a world record that has stood since 1976. The massive dorado–a.k.a mahi-mahi or dolphinfish–was caught by Brian Lindsey, a visitor from Mississippi, aboard Shambala, a yacht chartered through Pisces Sportfishing. The weight was obtained using a hand spring scale, and the fish was quickly filleted because the crew didn’t want the meat to spoil in the hot weather. So it cannot qualify as a record, and nobody will ever know what it might have weighed on a certified... Continue reading
Posted Jul 20, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Many might wonder, after viewing the accompanying footage, if the world just got a whole lot scarier. Small quad-copter drones of the type that are now widely used to videotape animals, waves and landscapes, apparently can be transformed into killing machines. The "Flying Gun" footage, uploaded by YouTube user Hogwit, shows a quad-copter firing several rounds while hovering several feet off the ground, recoiling and repositioning after each shot. The description reads: “Homemade multirotor with a semiautomatic handgun mounted on it." Outdoor Hub reports that the weapon appears to be a KelTec PMR-30, and adds: “With over 30 rounds of... Continue reading
Posted Jul 16, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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When a whale blows a rainbow it’s often referred to as a “rainblow,” and they occur only when the lighting is right as a whale exhales at the surface. Rainblow photos from boats are not rare, but aerial footage of this event is somewhat rare, mostly because the widespread use of drones for whale photography is a fairly new phenomenon. The accompanying footage of a humpback whale blowing rainbows, captured off Newport Beach, was uploaded on July 6 by YouTube user MGMedia. Pay close attention at the 40-second mark, because that's when the rainblow is most vibrant. –Image is a... Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Close encounters with whales produce a wide array of reactions, but one man’s reaction to discovering a pod of humpback whales emerging to feed very close to his boat was much different than the typical “Wow!” response. The accompanying footage, which contains brief profanity, is undoubtedly producing lots of smiles as it begins to circulate on the Internet. Tony Flanders and Brad Rich were fishing off Seward, Alaska, when the whales began to lunge feed at the surface, their heads emerging with gaping mouths, creating quite a spectacle. For Flanders, the awesome display at such close quarters was just too... Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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It's rare enough to see an oarfish, but to hook and reel in one of these deep-sea denizens from a fishing boat might be unprecedented. The bizarre catch of a 20-foot oarfish was made June 29 aboard the Fortune, a San Diego-based boat that was fishing at Santa Catalina Island. For whatever reason, the catch was not publicized. But meteorologist Chris Dunn, who writes a column called The Fishing Weatherman, reported the news on his blog. The fish was snagged and barely alive. When it was brought close to the boat, a crewman attempted to collect it with a gaff,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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A large sheet of rock is missing from the face of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, and it's likely to alter climbing routes on the iconic granite monolith. According to the Associated Press, the rock fall, which occurred as recently as Monday, did not cause any injuries. There were no known witnesses to the fall. Park geologist and climber Greg Stock said the sheet measured about 100-by-200 feet, and that climbers utilize multiple routes on Half Dome's 1,000-foot face. The fall occurred on the Regular Northwest Face route, the most popular climb in Yosemite, with 23 pitches. The fall... Continue reading
Posted Jul 7, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Tiger sharks in the Bahamas will sometimes inspect and bump camera equipment being carried by scuba divers. But one large shark took more than a passing interest recently; it clamped down on a $10,000 camera and ended up swimming off with the rig–and, for a brief period, with the diver! The accompanying footage, captured By Shawn Hull, shows the shark’s approach, the opening and closing of the mouth around the camera, and the diver being pulled beneath the shark’s belly, and finally the diver letting go, realizing he could not win this battle. There are a couple of choice and... Continue reading
Posted Jun 25, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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The pilot and co-pilot of an ultralight airplane were enjoying the view from several hundred feet above ground when they spotted a cat that must have been napping on the wing before the plane took off. The feline first appears at 38 seconds in the accompanying video. It seems to be aware of its plight, feeling the stiff breeze, sensing great height, and trying to figure its next move. The cat then crawls prominently into view of the camera, while the flight instructor and his co-pilot are still unaware that they were transporting a very frightened stowaway. Flight instructor, Romain... Continue reading
Posted Jun 22, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Anglers and spearfishermen have logged several impressive catches of bluefin tuna and yellowtail in recent weeks off Orange County, thanks in part to the influx of millions of pelagic red crabs. But perhaps the top catch of the spring/summer season was that of a 731-pound mako shark, landed Friday off Dana Point. catch of the day! 🎣 731 pound #makoshark #danapoint congrats Kenny & friends A photo posted by parkerstrick💛 (@parkerstrick) on Jun 19, 2015 at 6:27pm PDT We’re not sure who reeled in the giant shark, but it was weighed Friday at Dana Point Fuel Dock, and the two... Continue reading
Posted Jun 20, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Donna Kalez stands among thousands of red crabs in Laguna Beach; photo courtesy of Donna Kalez By Pete Thomas The influx of pelagic red crabs into Southern California waters, and onto area beaches, piquing the interest of beachgoers and attracting huge bluefin tuna, which have been foraging on the tiny crustaceans. The crabs’ arrival, during the past couple of weeks, has been linked to the strengthening El Nino, a warm-water phenomenon originating in the equatorial eastern Pacific. The bright red crabs, also called tuna crabs, are easy to spot, and some of the live critters, before they become stranded and... Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Photo courtesy of Bethany Hamilton Pro surfer Bethany Hamilton, who lost her left arm and nearly her life during a shark attack in 2003 off Kauai, is a first-time mom. The announcement by Hamilton and her husband, Adam Dirks, was made Monday via Instagram and Facebook. It reads: “Blessed to welcome our son, Tobias, into the world. Born June 1st, 7.9 lbs. and 21" Long. He is named after his great grandpa Tobias meaning "The goodness of God." Adam and I so in love with our lil guy and are stoked to share life with him!” Understandably, the posts were... Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Blue whales are arriving off Southern California, searching for enormous krill patches on which to feed. It remains to be seen whether this will be a productive whale-watching season, given the unseasonably warm water in some areas, and a strengthening El Niño. But some of these great leviathans, the largest creatures to have inhabited earth, are already making their presence known off Orange County. They include a famous seasonal visitor named Delta, because the mammal’s upturned fluke ends reminds some of the tail section of a jet. Delta was spotted over the weekend off Newport Beach and Dana Point with... Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Kevin Cuevas (right) poses with 200-pound yellowfin tuna; photo via Jen Wren Sportfishing Mark Rayor, who owns Jen Wren Sportfishing in the East Cape region of Baja California Sur, said Friday night that it was a bit too early to worry about Hurricane Blanca. During the day, his fleet embarked in search of tuna, and one angler landed the 200-pounder shown in the accompanying image. The tuna was caught by Kevin Cuevas of Littleton, Colo., after a 4-hour battle. “A boat near us bagged one 180lbs,” Rayor said via email. “It has been mostly dinks but once in a while... Continue reading
Posted Jun 5, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Mexico has issued a tropical storm watch for much of Baja California Sur, including Cabo San Lucas and La Paz, as Hurricane Blanca takes aim at the peninsula. As of 2 p.m. Pacific daylight time, Blanca was 550 miles southwest of Cabo San Lucas, and traveling very slowly toward the northwest. The storm boasted maximum sustained winds of 90 mph. Swifter movement was expected over the next 24 hours and Blanca is expected to remain at hurricane strength (74-mph winds) into early Sunday, when it will be much closer to Baja’s tip. The storm center is not predicted to score... Continue reading
Posted Jun 5, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Southern California anglers have logged several impressive bluefin tuna catches during the past couple of weeks, but a San Clemente spearfisherman on Wednesday subdued a massive bluefin that's likely to shatter a 33-year-old California record. Aaron Shook, while hunting tuna eight miles of Dana Point with two friends, shot and landed a 173.3-pound bluefin, which is 75 pounds heavier than the existing state record, held by legendary blue-water hunter Terry Maas. Maas shot his 98-pound tuna on June 1, 1982, at Cortes Bank, 100 miles west of Orange County. Shook's tuna was speared only eight miles offshore, and after he... Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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The rare sight of two calves swimming alongside a female adult gray whale Monday off Dana Point generated speculation among some on the boat, including its captain, that the young whales might be twins. Capt. Dave Anderson, of Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Safari, captured the accompanying footage and described the sighting as “the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen on the ocean.” It’s doubtful, however, that the calves are twins. One is noticeably larger than the other, and a more likely scenario is that one of the calves lost its mother and has been accepted by the adult female,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Hurricane Andres, the first named storm of 2015 in the Eastern Pacific, continues to churn but far from land as it weakens. But tropical storm Blanca is being watched far more closely by residents of Cabo San Lucas and elsewhere on the southern Baja California peninsula. Blanca will attain hurricane force Tuesday and, according to the National Hurricane Center, it’s projected path leads directly toward Cabo San Lucas at Baja California’s tip. Blanca will attain major hurricane force–with sustained winds of 110 mph of grater–before weakening gradually as its center reaches or possibly skirts southern Baja late Sunday or Monday.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Bluefin tuna are off-limits to anglers in Mexico, but large schools of the powerful tuna have moved into Southern California waters, and one behemoth landed this week weighed 124.5 pounds. The bluefin was caught by Tim Smith between the 181 and 209 banks, southeast of Catalina, aboard Capt. Larry Hartmann’s Discovery, a 30-foot Grady White. Hartmann, 51, said the area teemed with bluefin that were leaping and looked so large from a distance that he thought they were common dolphins. The group aboard Discovery had been kelp paddy-hopping, and had boated five yellowtail to about 25 pounds when “all hell... Continue reading
Posted May 27, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Video has surfaced showing a fairly large marlin beaching itself at Rincon, Puerto Rico, and then thrashing around in the surf for the next several minutes. This is rare behavior for marlin, which reside in pelagic waters and are almost never spotted close to shore. It's not known whether the marlin had previously been hooked, or whether it was sick. “What kind of shark is that?” someone close to the videographer asks, when the billfish first comes into view. “Oh… whoa! Holy crap! Is that a shark?… That’s crazy. It’s a marlin!” It was identified as a blue marlin in... Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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A humpback whale off British Columbia apparently enjoys blowing its stinky whale breath onto whale watchers. The accompanying video shows a 35-foot whale appropriately nicknamed “Windy” directing four blows toward six passengers aboard Legacy, a 30-foot charter boat that operates around the San Juan Islands. One of Windy’s gusts was so powerful that it blew the camera off a selfie-stick, and the camera fell into the sea. Windy the humpback whale breaches as if to say goodbye; photo by Heather MacIntyre/Legacy Charters Said naturalist Heather MacIntyre: “And as we laughed and yelled with joy, she seemed to take great enjoyment... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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A whale shark recently decided to nudge and loiter around a charter boat for four-plus hours off Australia’s Northern Territory, so of course one of the crew was compelled to jump in and ride the critter. The nighttime encounter occurred 100 miles west of Darwin, and at one point the whale shark, which was feeding with its mouth open, bumped into a 15-foot tender tied to the mother ship. “He ain’t real smart. Lucky he’s pretty,” one of the men can be heard saying in the accompanying footage. The boat was from Cannon Charters and the commentary is from Benny... Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Surfers can cut lots of time off their paddle-outs if they venture onto the rocks and jump off closer to the lineup. But it can be a tricky, embarrassing, and even painful experience when the ocean is not given the respect it demands. The accompanying footage, captured at Manly Beach, Australia, has gone viral since it was posted to Facebook this week by Peter Matthews. It shows a young surfer attempting the precarious rock jump and failing badly as people watch and commentate from behind the camera. The surfer fails to make it over the first wave, which washes him... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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A 65-year-old woman died Wednesday morning on Maui after being bitten by a shark near Makena State Park. The attack occurred at a spot called “Dumps,” according to KHON 2. This is the same area where two attacks occurred in 2013, one of them involving a kayak angler and resulting in a fatality. That year, at least seven attacks–two of them fatal–were reported off Maui. The 65-year-old Kihei woman had become separated from two friends. She was pulled from the water by snorkelers but was unresponsive, and efforts by paramedics to revive the victim were unsuccessful. The incident occurred sometime... Continue reading
Posted Apr 29, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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It has been a tough year for California sea lion pups, which have struggled to find food and have been delivered to care facilities by the hundreds. But only one that we know of has ended up in the back of a police car, having been picked up recently for its own safety after being discovered a quarter-mile from shore on Highway 1 near Forth Bragg, in Northern California. “Due to the darkness and the dense fog the animal was very difficult to see and would have certainly been struck by a vehicle if the deputies had not stopped,” reads... Continue reading
Posted Apr 28, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors