Oh My God, Oh My God, Oh My God!! E-mail
Written by Aviv Ben-Dashan   
Thursday, 20 August 2015 14:20

Originally, I grew up in Taiwan. Fishing for various species of fish in the local streams and from the rocks was the start of my craze for fishing and the journey that inevitably led me to kayak fishing in Santa Cruz. Moving to Santa Cruz seven years ago fully changed the path of my life, including the fishing part of it.

With not much to work with but a few tips from local anglers, I persisted with shore fishing thinking that one day I might get lucky and catch a big halibut or striper. Even without much luck, I kept fishing. One day, when I was at school, spaced out and thinking of stuff to think about, I told myself that I had to come up with a way to at least get in to the kelp beds and catch some rock cod. Eventually, I came up with the idea of strapping a milk crate with PVC pipes onto my surfboard. That same day, I went out to the kelp beds in Capitola in the evening and slayed a half a limit of rockfish plus a lingcod! Thinking I was the first to surfboard fish in Santa Cruz kept me proud and smiling for the remainder of the week.

After a few months of surfboard fishing, my parents heard about some shark sightings near where I fished and immediately put an end to my surfboard fishing "sessions.” Kayak fishing would be my next step. At the time I didn't have much money. I just wanted to get "out there" the cheapest way possible. When I asked my parents for a kayak, to my surprise, they said they would talk about it. The next evening, my parents and I had a talk. They came up with the proposal to provide me with a kayak that my dad and I can fish on, as long as I stick to playing classical music on my violin and staying with the school orchestra. Since that wasn't such a big sacrifice on my end, I said YES! We ended up buying a used 2012 Hobie Oasis.

lingggg copy aviv cabby copy

Learning the ways of kayak fishing was hard, since I was young and inexperienced. It was only after a full year of kayak fishing that I really started catching decent fish. The turning point was when I landed my first halibut on a swimbait. Since then I have had countless memorable, exciting and sketchy adventures, and I’ve caught many halibut, salmon, and lingcod.  But even after a few years of kayak fishing, my dream of catching a 30-pound fish off my kayak felt so far away. Recently, I got the best fitting job a 17-year old kayak fisherman can ask for: a job at The Kayak Connection as a shop worker and kayak fishing guide. After six years of kayak fishing, I also felt the need to join Nor Cal kayak Anglers, our online discussion and forum group. Being new to the group at Kayak Connection and NCKA, I kind of felt that I had to prove myself somehow. I thought, if I put in my time, I will have to run into a tanker white sea bass or a big flatty. The day that I had been waiting for was soon to come. After putting in numerous hours of drifting for halibut and shuffling through lings, little did I know that one drift from Pleasure Point to Capitola was the last drift I'd do before I join the 30-pound club.

It was midday, and I already caught a lingcod limit, which I threw back. My buddy and I were each drifting two live bait rods, when suddenly one of my rods doubled over. I quickly grabbed the rod from the holder and the fish ran across the bottom for about 20 seconds, peeling out line like I've never seen before. While slowly pulling this beast up, I thought to myself, there are only two types of fish that would run across the bottom like that. It's either a giant cabezone or a big halibut. But a cabezone couldn't pull that hard. So my mind was set on a halibut. After about three minutes of pulling this fish up and away from the bottom I wasn't disappointed, it was a huge halibut.

aviv halibut copy hlaibuttt copy

I missed my first gaff shot, and told myself to calm down and take it easy. On the second gaff shot, I nailed it right in the stomach. By then, my adrenaline was uncontrollable and I just screamed as loud as I could to let it all out. "Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god!" I claimed, as I put two stringers through the gills. My buddy and I quickly secured the fish and paddled in. As soon as we got to the dock, we weighed the fish. Not 30 pounds, but 33 pounds and 42 inches. My personal best halibut, and my biggest fish ever!The moment I got the fish on land, I told my buddy that all the time, effort, and money I put into fishing, was well worth it. My stoke for kayak fishing increases each year. As I mature and learn from the more experienced, kayak fishing will always take a part in my future.

 

 

Aviv Ben-Dashan

 

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