BANDINI, Ralph

From Islapedia

BANDINI, Ralph (1885-1961), prominent native Californian, attorney, sportfisherman and member of the Tuna Club, Santa Catalina Island who is considered to be one of the greats among the early pioneers of big game fishing off the coast of California. Bandini’s grandparents had vast land holdings in the southwest. His parents founded the ‘Indiana Colony,’ later named Pasadena. Bandini attended Pasadena public school, Throop Polytechnic Institute, and Stanford University. He earned a law degree and was associated with the firm of O’Melveny, Stevens and Milliken for five years, after which he opened his own practice. Bandini served as attorney for the newly formed Catalina Island Yacht Club in 1924.

Bandini authored and privately published two books about game fishing at Santa Catalina Island and a third about fellow Tuna Club member, J. A. Coxe. He had a son, Stevenson Bandini (1909-1972). In 1999 Ralph Bandini was inducted into the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) Hall of Fame.


  • 1932. BANDINI, RALPH. Tight Lines Los Angeles: Tight Lines, 1932. 239 pages, leather self-folding binding. One of 500 copies. Deluxe edition. With pen and ink sketches by the author. Santa Cruz Island p. 109-128.
[original in SCIF archives] [ex-lib M. D. Daily]
  • 1939 BANDINI, RALPH. Veiled Horizons. Stories of Big Game Fish of the Sea New York: The Derrydale Press, Inc., 1939. #935/950. Five photos of Santa Catalina Island (Avalon and the Isthmus).
[original in SCIF archives] [ex-lib. M. D. Daily]]


» Ralph Bandini Men, Fish and Tackle. The Story of J. A. Coxe (1936).




In the News~

July 3, 1917 [TI/Avalon]: “Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Bandini of Los Angeles have opened their cottage on Clarissa Avenue.”


July 10, 1917 [TI/Avalon]: “Mr. Ralph Bandini, who has been fishing for the past week with Captain K. S. Walker, on the Leona, had his first big thrill Saturday, when a large broadbill, for which we was angling, rushed the bait…”


August 14, 1917 [TI/Avalon]: “Ralph Bandini of Los Angeles, on light tackle, landed a blue fin tuna weighing forty-nine pounds.”


October 16, 1917 [TI/Avalon]: “Guests at the Tuna Club include Ralph Bandini, E. A. Featherstone, W. Z. Bush, David M. Hartford and A. C. Brodie, all of Los Angeles.”


October 16, 1917 [TI/Avalon]: “Ralph Bandini and son of Los Angeles were among the weekend anglers.”


May 14, 1918 [TI/Avalon]: “Mr. Ralph Bandini and family of Los Angeles are among those registering at the New Hotel Catalina for the weekend.”


January 14, 1925 [TI/Avalon]: “Mrs. Ralph Bandini and son Bud, of Los Angeles, are staying on the island for a week. The Bandini family has been regular visitors to Catalina for upwards of 30 years. Mr. Bandini is one of the old-timers in the Tuna Club, and also one of the keenest anglers in that famous institution.”


'June 1934 [Esquire Magazine]: “Believe it or not, Southern California’s San Clemente was once a sea serpent haven. The June 1934 issue of Esquire Magazine For Men featured an intriguing article by a Ralph Bandini who spoke quite openly of his two encounters with the San Clemente Monster. In his article, I Saw a Sea Monster, Bandini comments: ‘San Clemente Island is a lonely, wind-swept bit of rock and sand lying some fifty miles south of Los Angeles Harbor. It is little frequented except by fishermen. Its waters are lonely too… The Thing itself appears to like this remote bit of ocean—that windy channel between San Clemente and Santa Catalina.’ During the early 1900s there were rumors that a strange creature was roaming the Avalon waters, and that some thirty people had seen the monster, but spoke little of it. Bandini was tuna fishing in the southern California channels when the beast emerged from the water about a mile away. It was no whale. No sea elephant. It was a monster. It was a glistening, dark beast that rose out of the wqater, and remained exposed for a minute or so before sinking majestically back into the depths. Bandini chose not to speak of the sighting, despite the possibility of some publicity and small fortune. He respected others who’d seen the beast, and all witnesses he could track down sketched a monster that matched every other sketch he’d seen. Then, in the September of 1920 Ralph had a very close encounter with possibly the same form. He was swordfishing with a Mr. Smith Warren. They’d been positioned at Mosquito Harbor and were passing White Rock when something caught Mr. Bandini’s eye. Just three-hundred yards away he saw what he described as, ‘a great barrel-shaped Thing, tapering toward the top and surmounted by a reptilian head strangely resembling those of the huge, prehistoric creatures whose reproductions stand in various museums. It lifted what must have been a good twenty-feet. Widely spaced in the head were two eyes—eyes such as were never conceived of even in the wildest nightmare.’ These eyes were around a foot in diameter, like dinner plates, belonging to some great, hulking monster seemingly spewed from one of H. P. Lovecraft’s fictional terror tales. But this was real. The men headed for the creature and got to within one-hundred feet. It appeared as thought it was covered in short, dark bristles, and it had a reddish hue. All that protruded from the water was a huge neck and head. Goodness knows what length and mass lurked beneath the waves it frothed around it. And then it was gone… slipping back into the murky domain. Only a few witnesses to the San Clemente sea monster remain today. Many have surely never spoken of the great beast, and others died with their secrets. However, what we do know is that out there, somewhere, there still may be one, two, or more sea serpents eluding science, and stirring the waves of legend.” [Weird Los Angeles: The San Clemente Sea Monster]


July 10, 1961 [PSN]: “Funeral services for Ralph Bandini, 75, a native of Pasadena, a descendant of the Spanish-Italian aristocracy and one of the heirs to the great fortune left by his aunt Arcadia Bandini Stearns Baker, were held today at Redondo Beach. Mr. Bandini died Thursday in Redondo Beach. He lived in Los Angeles County all of his life and was a graduate of Stanford University. He held a law degree but never practiced. He was a direct descendant of Don Juan Lorenzo Bruno Bandini, who was made administrator of the San Gabriel Mission in 1838 by Mexican Governor Juan B. Alvarado. Mr. Bandini made his home in San Pedro for many years. He was an author and sportsman having written for a Los Angeles newspaper on big game fishing. Two of his books are considered classics in their field: Tight Lines and Veiled Horizons. Through marriage and blood ties he was related to most of the prominent families of the Southland including the Carrillo, Estudillo, Scott, Winston and others. He is survived by his wife, Lucette, a son, Stevenson Bandini, and a brother, Elliott Bandini of Fallbrook.”