Late Night Shark Fishing

About a month ago, I unsuccessfully attempted to catch the great white shark that has been patrolling La Jolla cove for tasty seals, and in the process invented the new fishing craze called ‘strumming.’ Since I still had some mahi mahi and bonita defrosted from that attempt, I decided to go out fishing before the bait completely rotted. I had never successfully caught fish on an outgoing tide, but decided ‘what the heck.’ So nearing sunset, I headed out and proceeded to fish. After an hour of catching nothing, i decided to go strumming, only to find a bunch of bat rays swimming around my feet. While my strumming attempts were unsuccessful, I did see a few large guitarfish, and an ominous shadow swim within 5 feet of me, signs that I would at least catch something. I put a ‘fresh’ piece of mahi mahi on my large surf pole, and cast 15 yards out into the surf and set it on a sand pike, while I fished with my smaller pole in the shallower waters.

Eventually I caught a small stingray, and started playing with it. Within a few minutes, I heard the reel on my larger pole screaming, and saw that the pole was bent nearly 90 degrees. I immediately rushed over, made sure the hook was set, and started reeling in. After 10 minutes of fighting, I was confident that I was not reeling in a large piece of kelp. A few minutes later, I saw 2 fins break the surface of the water. I then knew that I had hooked the prize that I had been seeking since I saw 2 guys catch 2 large leopard sharks in the same place a year and a half ago. My elation quickly turned into dread that I might lose the prize since I only had 20 lb test on a corroded and paint chipped fishing rod with a barely functioning reel to match. Eventually, I got the shark in shallow enough water, where I ran in and grabbed it by the tail and dragged it to shore.

Now that I had my catch, I called my roommate to tell him that I caught a shark. In my head, I imagined myself saying ‘Hey Law,  just wanted to let you know that I caught a large leopard shark, no big deal.’ In reality, I was more like this girl, and was jumping up and down and screaming into the phone ‘L! I CAUGHT A BIG ASS SHARK! COME QUICK!’ Soon, both my housemates were on their way to meet me on the beach, but I knew it would take them awhile, and not wanting to show them a dead leopard shark, which he could say I bought, dragged to the beach, and claim that I ‘caught’ it, I kept the shark alive by bringing it into shallow water, and using natural channels, let water flow through it’s gills. My housemates finally arrived, and after a few photos it was time to bring the shark home.

4 Responses to “Late Night Shark Fishing”
  1. Anonymous says:

    What did you catch that Leopard on?
    I’ve been trying to catch a legal size one for a while now. Do you have a picture of your shark rig?
    Good stuff, keep surf fishing.

    • jmw590 says:

      I don’t have a picture of the rig, it was a super simple set up, I had a 3 oz pyramid weight attached to a wire leader and 4/0 hook. Good luck catching one! Where are you fishing at?

      • Anonymous says:

        I use a carolina rig with a 50lb mono leader and a 3oz pyramid weight as well.
        I’ve only caught big bats on it ( fun fight nonetheless).

        I fish in the OC. Newport/ Huntington/Bolsa Chica. I always hear people catching legal Leopard in San diego/ Cardiff area.

      • jmw590 says:

        Your set up would work pretty well down here, and I know that leopards are all along the west coast. But I’m sure you’ll get one eventually. I’m trying to catch YT and WSB, but I think I may have missed the YT season.

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