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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 bull shark measuring nearly 10 feet long and weighing 624 pounds was caught Thursday night on a Mark the Shark charter in South Florida. Capt. Mark “the Shark” Quartiano stated Friday via Instagram: “Caught in 10 feet of water off the Miami Beach hotels!!!” The renowned guide, who is often criticized for killing large sharks, said via text message that the shark was hooked 100 yards from shore and it’s stomach contained “1/2 a tarpon, 3 jack crevalles, 1 hawksbill turtle, and 1 permit.” Mark the Shark did not provide the angler's name. Among the hashtags used in the... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Fishermen often become overly excited during chaotic moments, and their actions are not always appropriate for the situation. The accompanying clip shows Captain Bo Johnson of Team Tenacity guide service trying to stop a giant hammerhead shark–by leaning out and grabbing its dorsal fin with both hands–from stealing a large tarpon that has been reeled to the boat off Boca Grande Pass, Florida. Johnson, a fishing show TV personality and a seasoned angler, has handled lots of hooked sharks but presumably never a free-swimming great hammerhead. But this crazy scene definitely warrants a do-not-try-this-at-home label. Writes Gayne C. Young of... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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A humpback whale mother and calf surprised surfers and onlookers Saturday when they caught a large set wave at the Banzai Pipeline and rode the swell long enough for J.T. Gray to capture the moment. While it’s common for dolphins to ride waves, this is extremely rare behavior for a large whale species. “The whales were 75 to 100 yards east of Pipeline and playing for a while, then swam to about 10 yards outside of the lineup,” said Gray, or North Shore Surf Photos. “A set came in and the bodyboarder, Guilhermetamega Tamega, caught the first wave, and the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 8, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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The world’s top-ranked surfers are in Western Australia participating in the Margaret River Pro. Sharks a hot topic in the region because of a fairly recent spate of fatal attacks on surfers and swimmers, which led to a controversial government-sponsored ongoing shark cull. So it’s understandable that when an odd-shaped object appeared in the face of a wave videotaped with a GoPro camera worn by Kelly Slater, some wondered whether the 11-time world champ had been photobombed by an apex predator. We’ve attached the video and three screen grabs that basically prove only that something, or someone, was in the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Anglers participating in a cobia tournament recently off Destin, Florida, were off to a successful start when they landed a 40-pounder. But they forgot all about cobia as soon as one of the crew spotted a massive mako shark cruising along the coast at a depth of only 15 feet. A live bait was cast, and the hungry shark swirled immediately and devoured the offering. The two-hour battle, with Randy Messer handling the rod, featured more than a dozen acrobatic leaps. The shark, hooked on 60-pound-test line 30 yards beyond the surf, towed the 40-foot vessel–the Sure Lure–nearly two miles... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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It’s being called both a geep and a shoat, but whatever folks may call the newborn critter roaming Paddy Murphy’s farm in Ireland, it’s a very rare animal. The cross between a goat and a sheep was born about two weeks ago, to the surprise of Murphy, a lifelong sheep farmer who had never seen anything like it. “It had all the hallmarks of a goat,” he told the Irish Farmers Journal. “I knew a goat had gotten in among a few of the [sheep, five months ago]. I didn’t know what would turn out. They were all normal lambs... Continue reading
Posted Apr 3, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Recife is one of the largest metropolitan areas in Brazil, the city’s vast skyline sprawling to the shore, where two rivers empty into the Atlantic. It’s also one of the world’s most notorious shark haunts. For the past several months, Daniel Botelho has attempted to illustrate the urban shark phenomenon at Recife with a single image, while on a long-term assignment for National Geographic. It was such a difficult task, Botelho said, that his editor did not believe it could be completed. The editor wanted a split-level image that showed the shark beneath the surface and the nearby skyline above... Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Donna Pascoe did not know what she had hooked when line began to race from her reel; she only knew that it was something enormous. “I hooked up at 9:10 a.m. with the reel screaming,” she told Saltwater Sportsman. “The fish never surfaced, so we had no idea what was on the other end. After three hours, the fish surfaced and the skipper yelled, ’Tuna, world record!” The Pacific bluefin tuna, caught after a four-hour marathon battle during a tournament on February 19, tipped the scale at 907 pounds. The New Zealand Sport Fishing Council this week stated that it’s... Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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The opah is a solitary denizen of deep water and caught very rarely by anglers fishing far offshore for other species. So folks at Fisherman’s Landing Tackle in San Diego were understandably surprised this week to discover that a 91-pound opah had swum right up to the dock area, where it was promptly gaffed by a landing employee. That would mean the exotic opah either swam into and through much of San Diego Harbor to reach the landing, or the colorful fish was somehow delivered alive, say, in the ballast of a ship or hold of a commercial fishing boat.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 27, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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False killer whales, which made an extremely rare appearance earlier this month off Orange County, were spotted again Tuesday afternoon. Crew and anglers aboard the Clemente, which runs from Dana Wharf Sportfishing, sighted between 20-30 false killer whales at about 2:30 p.m., one mile beyond the San Clemente Pier. Capt. Corey Lieser said he first saw what he thought was a dolphin or gray whale breaching in the distance. A closer look revealed false killer whales, traveling in small groups in a northerly direction. The previous sightings were on March 12 and 13, as far north as Newport Beach. The... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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The captain of a fishing boat was arrested Sunday off Quepos in Costa Rica after coast guard officers discovered 21 shark fins on the vessel. The boat, named the Argentina, was seized after the search, which also revealed an illegally-caught sailfish. The fins are believed to have been removed from four sharks. The captain was due to appear in court this week. Shark finning, which has been banned in Costa Rica waters since October 2012, is a cruel practice that involves slicing fins from live sharks and leaving the sharks to die a slow death. Shark fins, which are used... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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A group of Florida anglers has uploaded video showing the recent capture and release of a hammerhead shark estimated to measure 14 feet and weigh 700 pounds. (We’ve supplied a shortened version to bring viewers quickly to the shark footage; click here for 5:24 version.) The shark was caught on the Atlantic side of the Florida peninsula. Viktor Hluben fought the predator for about an hour before it could be tail-roped and hauled ashore for video opportunities. Hluben is part of a group called Landshark Fishing, which specializes in nighttime fishing for large sharks. Landshark states at the beginning of... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Firefighters conducting a prescribed burn recently in Colorado were witness to a bizarre scene that looked as though it belonged in a science-fiction movie. They were conducting a prescribed burn within Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Area when a massive dust devil containing hundreds of tumbleweeds developed and sucked in the flames. The accompanying footage, captured by fireman Thomas Rogers, shows the tumbleweeds being hurled in a circular motion as the flaming dust devil moves across the dry terrain like a slow tornado. (Warning: Some might find the music overbearing.) The firefighters, however, maintain their composure and finally the dust... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Many sunset watchers have witnessed the green flash. Sometimes it's vibrant and obvious, other times it’s subtle. (Yes, non-believers, green flashes do occur.) Photos, in most cases, do not do the phenomenon justice. But Colin Legg, an astrophotographer from Western Australia, on Monday posted a stunning green flash image titled “Sun Pyramid” to his Facebook page. The image shows the flash of green light on the sun’s upper rim as it set beyond the Rottnest Island lighthouse in Perth. Legg, who specializes in photographing the night sky, posted video of the same event on Wednesday (see video below). “Some funky... Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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On Monday we posted a story about a Florida fishing guide who traveled to Costa Rica and caught a 60-pound snook, which is nearly three pounds heavier than the existing world record. Ward Michaels kept the fish and planned to submit details of the catch to the International Game Fish Association for record consideration. But not every fisherman is into setting world records. Michael Roth is one such angler and this week he was featured in Southern Fried Science because he chose to let his amazing catch–that of a record-size blacktip shark–go free after it was hoisted for a photo... Continue reading
Posted Mar 18, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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The next time Jason Dimitri returns to the Western Caribbean to try to remove invasive lionfish, in the back of his mind will loom a recent frightening encounter with an aggressive reef shark. Dimitri was using a GoPro camera to document his efforts to cull lionfish in Cayman Island waters. Lionfish, in the past decade, have overtaken many Caribbean reefs and threaten the balance of the marine ecosystem. Suddenly, a four-foot reef shark appeared “out of nowhere” and lunged repeatedly at Dimitri, who used his spear to fend off the strikes until they ceased as he advanced toward the surface.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 17, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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In the world of big-game fishing, a successful outing does not necessarily depend on how much you know, but whom you know. Ward Michaels can attest to this. The Florida fishing guide, who has traveled to Costa Rica more than 80 times over the last three decades, recently landed an enormous snook that could net the angler an all-tackle world record (heaviest of its species). The Pacific black snook tipped the scale at 60 pounds. Michaels planned to submit details of the catch to the International Game Fish Association. If approved–the process can take several weeks–it will eclipse the current... Continue reading
Posted Mar 17, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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A large pod of false killer whales passed through Southern California coastal waters Wednesday, for the first time since 2001. The first sighting, by Capt. Mike Bursk of the Explorer out of the Ocean Institute, was at about 11 a.m. off Dana Point. The scattered pod numbered between 50 and 70 and remained off Orange County at least until it was last seen off Huntington Beach by passengers aboard the Christoper out of Long Beach, at about 5:15 p.m. A complete story can be found on GrindTv Outdoor’s Big Blue blog, but this post focuses on the amazing underwater footage... Continue reading
Posted Mar 13, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Anglers and crew fishing off Costa Rica on Tuesday were astonished to discover that a large marlin they hooked and landed was completely white. The extremely rare catch of an albino blue marlin was made aboard the Spanish Fly, a 43-foot yacht that runs from Maverick Sportfishing out of Los Suenos, on the Central American country’s Pacific side. (It could be that the marlin was leucistic, not a true albino, but just about everyone has been referring to the billfish as a true or partial albino.) The boat was captained by Juan Carlos Fallas Zamora, with mates Carlos Pollo Espinoza... Continue reading
Posted Mar 12, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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The USS Coronado (LCS-4), a new U.S. Navy battleship that will be commissioned in San Diego on April 5, made an impressive showing Sunday off Dana Point. But it seems as though 419-foot trimaran’s crew had forgotten to pay attention to gray whales that are migrating in a northerly direction along the Southern California coast. A Facebook post from Dana Wharf Whale Watching reads: “Wow, this warship almost ran over some Gray Whales! Good thing Captain Todd [Mansur] warned them and they came to a stop!” Mansur said in a phone interview that he reached the USS Coronado crew via... Continue reading
Posted Mar 10, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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An 11-foot great white shark was hooked and killed Wednesday on Australia’s Gold Coast, just yards from the site of the Quiksilver Pro and Roxy Pro men’s and women’s surf contests. Jeff Krause, the government’s Shark Control Program manager, was quick to use the contest to support the controversial killing of sharks as a tool to protect water users. “The successful removal of this dangerous shark from a popular swimming beach was particularly important given the Quiksilver Pro surfing competition currently underway at nearby Snapper Rocks,” Krause told the Courier Mail, in a story posted Friday. “It was a pretty... Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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It’s not often that blue whales are encountered in early March off Monterey, and the lone blue whale spotted Monday morning almost certainly wished it could have been elsewhere. That’s because six transient killer whales were in the mood to harass larger cetaceans, and the accompanying footage shows what experts believe is a blue whale reacting to a killer whale bite to the fluke, or tail fin, by throwing its fluke into the air. This type of interaction is extremely rare and the footage might be the first documentation of killer whales physically harassing a blue whale off California. The... Continue reading
Posted Mar 3, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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A powerful storm forced postponement of the “Whale of a Day” festival scheduled for Saturday at the Point Vicente Interpretive Center on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. But for dedicated volunteers who count whales there daily throughout the gray whale migration period, the phrase could not be more apt. The ACS-LA Gray Whale Census and Behavior Project volunteers, braving periodic squalls but somehow avoiding the brunt of the storm, marveled at what turned out to be a very surreal, day-long parade of Pacific gray whales. Between dawn and dusk, as squalls darkened the waters and massive waves pounded the shore, they... Continue reading
Posted Mar 3, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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A Minnesota angler was on top of the world after a recent ice-fishing expedition across the border in Ontario, Canada, during which he reeled in a gigantic lake trout that weighed 52 pounds, 3 ounces. Rob Scott’s enthusiasm was understandable. It was the largest trout he had ever tangled with, by far, and he’d later learn that the 45-inch fish was nearly 24 pounds heavier than the existing world record for a tip-up-caught lake trout. (Tip-ups are wood or plastic devices, with a spool of line, attached to a flag that raises to signal a strike; the angler then brings... Continue reading
Posted Mar 1, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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When Dana Wharf Whale Watching last month posted aerial footage of a 70-foot fin whale, captured via a GoPro camera attached to a small quadcopter drone, we reported that this concept will catch on locally. It affords a unique perspective of the gargantuan mammals, and the videos are a means for whale-watching businesses to bring attention to themselves. Sure enough, Capt. Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Safari, a rival to Dana Wharf, has entered the dronosphere. On Monday the company uploaded a 5-minute video showing spectacular aerial views of an enormous pod of dolphins, migrating gray whales, and humpback whales. The... Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors