A very pleased and proud Mrs. George Genilere stands next to her catch of tuna at Avalon, Santa Catalina Island. One of her game fish weighed in at a robust thirty-three pounds and the other at twenty-nine pounds. Catalina, with its sublime climate and proximity to Los Angeles, was a sea angler's paradise. At the turn of the last century, the island's population swelled to eight thousand during fair-weather months.
Catalina's popularity led to the establishment of the famed Tuna Club in 1898 by noted outdoorsman and naturalist Charles Frederick Holder. This photo, however, clearly demonstrates that piscatorial adventure was not for men only. Mrs. Genilere's dainty hat, crocheted bertha, and lace-trimmed dress disguised a lady of strength and athleticism who could handle a man-sized rod and reel. One can only imagine her pride as she reeled in the struggling tuna. Holder described the tuna as the piece de resistance of game fish "on account of its uncertainty." According to Arturo Bandini, the author of entertaining books on early California and Catalina sport fishing, the spotting of tuna would cause a mad dash for all available boats.
Taken by an unidentified photographer, the print has its caption written into the dry plate negative. The weight of each tuna is carefully written over their tail fins. It is professionally and elegantly mounted on an ii x 8-inch beveled board, indicating that this sportswoman may have planned to have it framed or placed in a prominent spot in her parlor or dining room.