Beauty and the Beast E-mail
Monday, 06 February 2017 12:11

8  china camp

 

After those mighty California storms and plenty of rain, Nick and I decided to kick off the new year with some good ol’ sturgeon fishing. We prepared all day Saturday and went out on Sunday 1/15 for our first fishing trip of the year. This wasn’t my first time targeting sturgeon, and I knew I was likely to spend all day on the water and potentially see no action. We slept in a little longer than planned, which was no biggie because Loch Lomond's bait shop doesn't open until 8 am. We waited for Keith Fraser to get there and picked up some live ghost shrimp. Then we headed to the launch.

Getting our gear together took longer than expected. We knew we had a long day ahead of us. The water was as brown as could be, and there was a lot of debris floating. There were a couple of boats where we wanted to go so we distanced ourselves and anchored. The tide was coming in and by the time we got settled, it was close to 10 am. After about two hours of waiting we thought about moving south to fish with a fellow NorCal Kayak Angler, but then I got my first bite. It seemed 'darty' like a striper bite, but you can never be too sure. I waited for him to bite again but he didn't come back. About 10-15 minutes later I decided to put on a livelier bait. Well, it didn't take long for my little friend to return. He inhaled the shrimp and gave me a fun little fight. I caught myself a nice striper and my first fish of 2017. Stoked!

By now it was 12:30ish and high tide was just about to peak. About thirty minutes later I was checking out my striper pictures when in the corner of my eye I see my line go way slack. I quickly grab my pole thinking to myself, “Shit shit shit,” reel the line tight and set the hook. That sends the fish on my line blasting out of the water. Holy shit, it’s a sturgeon!!!

I quick released from my anchor and went for quite a ride. He was pulling me on my Ocean Kayak Trident 13 so fast, but the fight didn't last too long. He was quite acrobatic jumping fully out of the water and surfaced multiple times. After a couple minutes he came up on his side, and Nick came over to help me. I handed the leader to Nick so I could try and grab the tail. I was a little nervous since I wasn’t sure how this new-to-me fish would react, but luckily he was tired and very cooperative.

According to our "at a glance" slot measurer it seemed like it just made it as a keeper. We got out the measuring tape and it looked to be about 41.5 inches. It was a little too close for me to feel super confident keeping, so after getting a couple pictures I revived him and let my buddy swim off into the muck. What a rush!!! SO STOKED!!!

I got back on my anchor and was just as happy as can be. I tossed another shrimp out there even though my day already felt complete. Over the next couple of hours I got a couple bites but didn't hook up. Then at about 3:30 I get a big ass bite. It was like bam and then my line went slack and quickly went tight again.

I set the hook and my reel screamed like I've never experienced before. Like I was in sincere shock, and thought I was about to get spooled right before my eyes. I released from my anchor about to go on a ride of a lifetime. I felt like I'd never get the fish in after all the line he took, but then he started swimming back towards me.

Reel reel reel! He changed directions and pulled me right into Nick and took off heading south. This one was no joke, and I literally thought he would never tire out! He took some epic runs, and I honestly don't know how my reel didn't catch on fire with all the friction. After about 7 minutes I finally saw the head, which was double the size of my first one. He towed me quite a ways and every time I got him up he thrashed like crazy. I grabbed the leader and managed to land him after an 8 or 9 minute fight/sleigh ride. Then I waited for Nick to come help me measure him. He looked to be about 51.5 inches, but trying to measure a fish that big on our kayaks isn’t always easy. We chose to keep him as he fit comfortably within the 40-60 inch slot limit. What a beast that thing was. I couldn't believe it. FREAKIN STOKED!!!!!!

We stayed out a bit longer, but the sun was making its way behind the hill. We called it a day and paddled back to the launch. On land we measured the big guy again and his fork length was exactly 53". It is still so surreal to me that I actually caught a dinosaur. The beast bottomed out our 40-pound scale, and I'm guessing it was about 45 pounds. My personal best fish from the kayak and honestly ever. I've caught lots of leopard sharks but nothing as dense or long as my sturgy! I will never forget this epic day landing my first and second dino and earning a new personal best!! Check out the video of the dino hunt here: https://youtu.be/FYwe_rcXTR4

 

 

 

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