As some of you may know my wife and I moved back to California to pursue her career. It wasn't what we had in mind when trying to get out of New Orleans but what can you say. At least it is a beautiful place with alot of things to do. We have both been very busy with work and school. Along with the regular day to day stuff we are new parents and enjoy spending alot of time with our little girl Lillian. With a family to love, new house to take care of, and yard to build stuff in I havent had many opportunities to fish.
Even though I haven't been fishing in a while, Iv been able to do a very good amount of research. Covering locations, water depths, drop offs, currents, habits of different species, sightings, and fishing reports. Below are just a few pictures of me getting out with my little girl to catch some bait. Feels very good to get back out doing what we love.
Little girl just hanging out in the back of the truck.
We more or less were looking for a place to come the fallowing day.
I loaded the trailer up later that night with some basic things, chairs, bait, rods, and kayak. We took it easy all morning, enjoyed some breakfast and coffee. Ended up making it to the beach and our location around 11:00am. It was a little hazy and gloomy outside, but we weren't going to let that ruin our first "family" fishing trip. Once we reached our destination Lilly found us a great parking spot and told us to get out and get to work. I threw on the waders in hopes of not getting wet. I wasn't planning on going all out on this trip so I only brought two yak-able set ups. One for bait and One for sharks.
I spent a few minutes adjusting my leaders to fit the location before running baits. I managed to get my Fin-Nor OFC 30 out past the breakers in hopes of catching some more bait. I rigged it with a 130 lb mono leader with 12/0 Mustad circle ( sliding trace style). Not only fishing for bait it could also serve as a rig for Threshers. With nice swells behind me it was fun being able to surf the yak all the way back to the beach. Next was the 12/0, Rigged up with the new leader and fresh stingray. When I ran this bait I must have timed the wave sets a little wrong before deployment. I ended up being engulfed by the last breaker . As we all know, that monster wave magically appears out of thin air creeps up in front of you and everything goes dark. After getting back to my yak ( swimming in waders ), flipping it back over, and making it back to land with leader and bait, I needed a breather. At this time my Fin-Nor started to bend and bow due to a build up of kelp on the line. I started thinking about not running the 12/0. As I was laying on my back with feet up in the air to get all the water out of my waders I decide, I had came here for a reason. Hooked up the bait, hopped back in the kayak and got the job done. After drying off, we just hung out, snacked and played in the sand with our little girl Lilly. She absolutely loves the beach and water.
Acting unusual as always, climbing into her walker backwards and telling tales of seeing fish (THIS BIG).
An hour goes by and my wife and I are having to start picking kelp off of the lines. I end up having to reel in my Fin-Nor and just packed it back in the truck. The 12/0 sat steady for a little longer. Then I decided it wasn't worth walking repeatedly out to waist deep water and pulling kelp off the line. I put on my harness, hook to the reel, and start reeling. Then comes a strange resistance, waves are crashing on the line and kelp (maybe that is why I'm feeling weight), then out of nowhere line starts rolling off the reel slow and steady. I tighten down more and lock it up. I'm really starting to think a large patch of kelp just found my line. So many thoughts are going through my mind, whats going on? Line keeps rolling and I start to notice my line being pulled up current. Its slowing down and speeding up, then I felt it, head shakes and tail slaps. Whatever it is, its running and we immediately get exited. At that point I decide that I have two options, muscle it in and risk something failing and possibly loosing whatever it is, or lighten up and play the fight. I get the shark turned and it runs out and South. My wife grabs the video camera I keep in the truck and starts getting everything on tape.
There are a few breaks in the video. We had to toss Lilly in the truck while all of this was happening (to much stuff going on that needs our attention), along with having to clear a little bit of kelp from the line. I'm not a big fan of chasing fish down the beach unless line capacity is a limitation. I'm able to work the shark back up and out in front of us. At that point it starts to recognize the sandbar. We played give and take for a while before finally bringing it into the shallows.
Words cant explain the emotions we were feeling. Here we were on a simple outing to catch something. I'm telling my wife, this is more than likely a GREAT WHITE. As I'm working it slowly in to shallower water I get to a point where I feel safe putting the rod in the holder and running for the leader. Instinct told me to do what I always do instead, run down to the shark while reeling. It hits me (GREAT WHITE) , I wrap the leader around my right hand while holding the reel in my left. I work with the waves on getting it in to where it cant swim freely. I put the 12/0 in free spool and hurled it about 20 feet up the beach to dry sand. From there it was shock and awe, and the race started to get it back swimming.
My apologies for the quality of the video. I don't know why there are glitches in the video, they aren't in the individual clips. We didn't have our good camera and stand with us on this trip. The video is 4 separate clips put together as half of the fight wasn't recorded. Once everything settles down ill polish up some better footage.
These are the individual clips.
I still haven't broken down the video for specific pictures but here is what we got from switching back and forth from video to picture mode. I know it might look strange with me just holding the dorsal in some of the photos, the shark was just built like a football and wanted to role with the slightest wave, meanwhile me being in disbelief and shock it looks like I'm just standing there.
We finished up with a beautiful afternoon, feeling successful and thrilled. Many phone calls and texts to come. California is a very difficult place to fish, Laws, regulations, locations, currents, kelp, surf, other people, and weather can all work against you. I couldn't tell you how many sleepless nights iv had researching the region and different species. This shark means so much to me on several levels.
First: caught it while fishing with my amazing wife, child, and dog: the whole house. Second: It is a decent shark no matter the species. Third: IT IS A GREAT WHITE. I cant think of the endless amount of amazing feelings I have about landing, handling, and being in the presence of this shark.
We were in such a hurry to get it back in the water because it was just me and the wife that we almost forgot to get a measurement. We used the only thing handy and long enough to measure her. The rope my dog Chief was tied up with. with the shark being partly submerged, my wife used one hand to hold the tail and rope together. She held the spot while I released the shark. She tied a knot in the rope and we measure it when we got home. 9 Foot 6 Inch Juvenile Great White. I have 99% confidence of that measurement. The added 1% could only be given if I had had more experienced hands available to hold the shark steady with an actual tape in hand.
Thank you to all of the sharkers I have fished with. Every experience has prepared me for this day.
Best and tight lines to all.
Last edited by TheFangman on November 13th, 2013, 12:07 pm, edited 4 times in total.
Wow How awesome; To fight all those odds and make it work. There is no doubt about it that kelp is shark fishing's enemy. Glad the GW gave you a little bit of run for your money; and welcome as the first member of the LBSF SOS Great White Club. I am sure there are many more to come as that is only the beginning. Congrads again.
just watched the video, was on the edge of my seat the whole time, upon the release after the reality of what you had just accomplished in the presence of your whole family set in, I could feel the emotion you were feeling, thanks man, was just incredible. js
Blue Collar Bob wrote:Says the guy who pokes bears with sticks
Aside from seeing the incredible shark, it was great being able to feel the emotion and respect you had for that unbelievable catch. It was great to see you and your whole family land this fish together. Congratulations and can't wait to see the next one!
Wow... Absolutely incredible. And to get it all on video?! Amazing. I agree with the other guys, the emotion is definitely there, especially as the fish is swimming off. Huge amount of respect to you and congratulations on this first!!
Hearing about your catch over the phone was nothing compared to seeing the video! The memories of all those days and nights of no luck have been erased by the catch of the apex predator of the sea! The calm and the focus,( despite the adrenalin) demonstrates the caliber of fisherman you are. I'm not sure what you will do to "top" this but I am SURE you will find a way!