While kayak fishing off La Jolla, Brian Fagan felt a bite and set the hook. At first he thought he snagged bottom — until the bottom started moving.
Suddenly, a monster fish was towing Fagan and his kayak between other boats in the early morning hours, taking him on a 30-minute ride, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
“I really thought I had hooked into a large black seabass, which is protected in California and must be released,” Fagan, 56, a self-described fishing fool, told the Union-Tribune. “I've caught many in the past and even though they are still fun to catch, you're always disappointed once you get the fish to color and know you need to release it.”
Convinced it was a black seabass, Fagan left the gaff in a rod holder as he finally reeled the monster fish up to within sight.
“Then I see the fish 10 feet down and kinda stopped breathing for a moment and reached back quickly for my gaff,” he explained.
It wasn't a black seabass after all. It was a white seabass — a very big white seabass.
With adrenaline pumping, Fagan gaffed the fish and pulled it onto his lap in the kayak.
“I was hoping it went 50 pounds since I've never broken 50 with any of my other seabass catches,” he said.
At Dana Landing, the monster fish officially weighed 74.2 pounds and measured five-feet long, an impressive catch considering the International Game Fish Association has only logged five other white seabass of 70 pounds or bigger.
The white seabass was short of the state record of 78 pounds by David Sternberg in 2002 in Monterey but qualified as a line-class world record for 80-pound test. The current world record for that line class is a 74-pounder caught at Catalina Island on May 11, 1968, by Allan Tromblay.
On Wednesday, the IGFA announced it was expecting a world-record application from Fagan shortly.
As for the monster fish being the biggest white seabass ever caught on a kayak? It comes close. According to Kayak Fishing, that record belongs to Dennis Spike at 75 pounds.
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