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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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By Pete Thomas/GrindTv An 11-year-old Michigan hunter last week killed a rare albino deer while on a hunting trip with his father. This week, the story is generating a wide range of emotional feedback on Facebook. Gavin's father, Mick Dingman, told Livingston Daily that he and his son had spotted the white deer several times in recent years, and that other hunters had talked about trying to bag the animal. An admittedly nervous Gavin used a crossbow from 30 to harvest the 12-point trophy buck, and the news quickly spread in hunting circles. "He kind of feels like a rock... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas/GrindTv Last week we featured an amazing photo sequence captured by a passenger aboard a whale-watching boat in Monterey Bay, California, showing a humpback whale breaching within 80 feet of another whale-watching boat. Now we've obtained images captured from the boat closest to the whale, showing just how close the whale was to the 43-foot vessel, and its monumental splash. The images posted here were captured by Giancarlo Thomae, a naturalist for Sanctuary Cruises and owner of Kayak Whale Watching. (The images in the first story were captured by Jodi Frediani of Monterey Bay Whale Watch.) Thomae said... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas/GrindTv 597-pound bluefin tuna; photo via Coastal Fishing Charters Massachusetts Capt. Dom Petrarca appears to have made history recently when his charter group teamed to land a 597-pound bluefin tuna … on spinning gear. The catch occurred two days after Bobby Rice, another Cape Cod charter captain, logged the catch of a 423-pound bluefin … also on spinning gear. Petrarca and Rice say these are the largest bluefin tuna ever landed on spinning gear, and so far they’ve received no argument. The catches are remarkable because giant bluefin tuna, according to popular belief, simply are too powerful, and... Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas/GrindTv There have been plenty of “Wow!” moments for marine mammal enthusiasts this season in Monterey Bay, thanks to an abundance of voracious and active humpback whales off the Central California coast. But what occurred in front of passengers aboard a Sanctuary Cruises boat Monday has to rank beyond a mere “Wow!” moment. They watched in awe as a large humpback breached so closely–only yards away–that it caused their boat to pitch. “It definitely got rocked,” photographer Jodi Frediani, who on Wednesday provided the images that accompany this post, said of the close call. Frediani, who was aboard... Continue reading
Posted Oct 15, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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First local blue marlin in recent times weighed 462 pounds By Pete Thomas The most exotic season of saltwater fishing in modern times has featured catches of yellowfin tuna, wahoo, mahi-mahi, and many other subtropical species of game fish. Now we can add blue marlin to the list. Anthony Hsieh on Monday stated on Facebook that his crew aboard Bad Company caught a blue marlin at 8 a.m. between Santa Catalina Island and San Clemente Island. “Strange fishing blue marlin in long pants,” Hsieh wrote, referring to the location of the catch: about 1,000 miles north of typical blue marlin... Continue reading
Posted Oct 14, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Video screen grab For the first time in SeaWorld’s history, an injured shark has been rescued, rehabilitated, and released back into the ocean. About two weeks ago the 25-pound gray smooth-hound shark was discovered in San Diego’s Marina Village with a fishing lure in its mouth and with injuries caused by fishing line. According to CBS 8 News, SeaWorld vets treated the shark’s wounds and managed to get it to swim like a healthy shark again. They also determined that the shark, which they named “Marina,” was pregnant. On Wednesday, Marina was taken to an area off the coast called... Continue reading
Posted Oct 8, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Photo by ©Amanda Brewer By Pete Thomas/GrindTv Amanda Brewer is an art teacher in New Jersey, who assures anyone who will listen that she possesses no great skill as a photographer. But many aren’t convinced after seeing the vivid image Brewer captured recently from inside a shark-diving cage off South Africa, an image so stunning and life-like that it has taken the Internet by storm. The image has been shared so widely, and discussed so passionately, she said, that she has had little time to concentrate on anything else. "Just on my Instagram page alone it has received more than... Continue reading
Posted Oct 7, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas/GrindTv Of all the rare catches and encounters off Southern California during the past several months, the showing Monday of as many as 50 sperm whales has to rank as the rarest–and certainly the most exciting. The initial sighting of perhaps 12 of these iconic mammals was made at 11 a.m. by Larry Hartmann aboard the Ocean Explorer, which runs out of Newport Beach. Hartmann was searching for a small humpback whale that had been frequenting an area two miles off Laguna Beach when he spotted a series of unusual blows in the distance. Sperm whales socializing; photo... Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Generic white shark image is courtesy of Martin Graf/Shark Diver By Pete Thomas/GrindTv A surfer and two kayak fishermen were attacked by sharks–or perhaps one shark–on Thursday and Friday at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, north of Santa Barbara. The attack on the surfer occurred Thursday, prompting the closure of beaches at the north end of the military base through the weekend. On Friday, kayak anglers were attacked in separate instances at the south end of the base. During the second attack a large shark breached and was identified by a witness as a great white shark. It remains... Continue reading
Posted Oct 4, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas/GrindTv A surfer was attacked Thursday at Vandenberg Air Force Base north of Santa Barbara, prompting the closure of three beaches on the military base until Sunday evening. Details are scant but a statement posted Friday on the Vandenberg Air Force Base website states that the attack occurred a quarter-mile north of Wall Beach. It was not fatal, according to Vendenberg. Area surfers might note that this marks the third October attack on Vandenberg Air Force Base beaches since 2010. (The public is allowed on VAFB beaches.) The 2010 attack occurred on October 22 and claimed the life... Continue reading
Posted Oct 3, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas/GrindTv A passenger on a shark-diving expedition off South Australia has captured rare footage of a large great white shark attacking a smaller white shark. It remains unclear, however, whether that was the larger shark’s intention, at least initially, or whether it had merely been going after the bait when the smaller shark, after making a pass at the bait, got in its way. (See video atop this post.) The fate of the smaller shark also remains unclear. Adam Malski, 33, was back on the boat at the time of the dramatic clash, which he captured on video.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 1, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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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 Sep 30, 2014 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 Sep 26, 2014 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 Sep 25, 2014 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 Sep 24, 2014 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 Sep 23, 2014 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