It was a warm almost summer morning. June 16, 2016. The Hobie pros had invaded my house for the week and were swarming around getting all their fishing rods and tackle loaded in the truck and checking to make sure we had all the new kayak accessories loaded in the trailer they were going to test. We all had a great night’s sleep in my newly built casita. We made our way down to the coffee shop for a couple quick burritos and cup of Jo and we were on our way to the salt factory to target big yellowtail on surface iron and live bait.
It was a short drive to Playa Tulita, just to the north of the salt factory. It is a very easy beach launch and a quick peddle to my favorite zone straight out in front of the dock. The Calico bass kept us busy but we were looking for big yellows so we kept moving south to the next cove. Using the Lowrance electronics to scout the waters, one of the pro staffers marked a nice fish. He dropped down his light 20lb tackle rigged with a buck tail jig tied on and proceeded to hook into the fish, which after a 45 minute fight and nearly a mile sled ride he was rewarded with a 40.7lb Yellowtail. The team was ecstatic with the great catch. Photos were taken and the fish was quickly put in the panga to be bled and put on ice.
After the celebration subsided, I slowly made my way back to my favorite area to fish. I knew there were big Yellows swimming out front of the salt factory. I have caught one every month of the year right there so I wanted to go where I was most confident. The Hobie PA 14 made quick work of the trek back to my honey hole. I settled in out front of the dock and proceeded to get my jig stick out. I was using my new Okuma Komodo baitcaster spooled with 65lb power pro and 35lb leader matched to my Phenix M-1 Inshore series 15-35 rod and a Kicker 25 surface iron. This is my favorite set up for throwing iron. When I cast I let my surface iron sink for several seconds. It has more action than a heavy yo-yo type jig. I will reel halfway in and then free spool again and allow the current to move me. This way my jig is being fished way out away from me without casting and also lower in the water column and longer in the potential strike zone. You can get away with this lighter outfit on the kayak because basically you are a big buoy and if you stay calm and in control you can land big fish.
A few casts in, using my long cast and sink method, wham I get bit! I immediately call to the group using my handheld vhf radio that all boats are equipped with. (Very important tool for us so the group is always in constant contact and also with the panga.) “I’m on at the salt factory” I announce to the group. They are still south of me in the cove. The fight is not like a usual big yellow with a huge first run and then a hard charge right back at you, then bulldog straight down. This feels different almost like I have a kelp stringer or old rope. I gain line, and then it just slowly peels it right back off. After 10 minutes or so Kevin Nakada calls out to me. “You still on that fish?” I reach over to the radio and with a grunt in my voice reply “YES”. Workers on the dock are cheering me on and yelling with excitement as they see me being towed all around out in front of them. Two of them get in the dock boat and come out near me to watch. The power of the fish was incredible. I held the rod in one hand and used the other to steer my kayak in the direction the fish was going so my rod was always out in front of me. I could feel the fish laying on the bottom rubbing his face trying to free himself from my jig.
After 25 minutes I could see deep color but it was not blue and white like a big home guard. I could see a large brown shape coming to the surface. My first thought was big Black Seabass. I was stoked as I had never caught one near as big as the brown mass that was approaching the surface.
The fish came up along my port side. It was the biggest fish I had ever caught in a boat, let alone on a kayak. As it went by I noticed the tail was shredded. I knew right then that this was not a Black Seabass but rather a giant Broomtail Grouper. The dock workers in the boat were screaming! I grabbed my gaff and sunk it in right behind the head. Lucky for me the fish was exhausted and did not make another move. I grabbed the VHF radio and started screaming for the panga. It seemed like an eternity before he got there. Once David pulled up and saw the fish he froze. He could not believe what he in my lap. He came over and grabbed my gaff and tried to pull the fish in the panga but could not. A worker on the dock boat jumped on our panga and helped David pull the beast in.
As the Hobie team made their way back to where we were, they were amazed by what they saw in the panga. I was floating nearby, still in shock as to what just occurred. It was the biggest fish of my life! Everyone was just in amazement. The entire drive down they had asked where to catch grouper. As of this point I had never caught one at the island so I was not sure. We all laughed and exclaimed “Big Grouper live at Cedros!”
About an hour later while we were enjoying our Carne Asada BBQ lunch on the beach, Kevin says he thinks we may have a record and he wanted me to look into it. I called home to my friend Chris and told him I had just caught a huge broomtail Grouper and could he look up the current IGFA World record. He pulled up the IGFA site and saw that the current record was 100.8lbs caught in Panama. I knew my fish was bigger than that.
We decided to head into town and see if we could find a scale that we could weigh the fish on. The local market had a brand new certified digital scale but it was not IGFA certified. We contacted IGFA directly and asked for specific instructions. They told us to video the entire weighing and measuring process and also photograph the calibration decals on the back of the scale. Then submit all this with the application.
We loaded up the scale and headed to the house to grab a sheet of plywood to help us balance the fish on the scale.
We videoed the whole process and took several photos. We even videoed the cleaning process. The filets were huge and we even cut out the ribs. We shared the meat with several local families. The stomach felt really hard so we decided to cut it open to investigate. We could not believe our eyes when we pulled a baby seal from the belly. Incredible!
To insure I had a chance for the record I purchased the scale from the market, loaded it on the plane and brought it back to San Diego to be certified by the IGFA official scale master for our coast. It checked out to be dead on. I was awarded the IGFA All Tackle World Record for Broomtail Grouper. 108.9 lbs. smashing the old record by over 8lbs.
Cedros Island is a magical fishery and exploring it on a kayak is an even more intimate experience. The virtually untouched waters around the island are teaming with life and are very accessible for the beginning kayaker/angler to the advanced one. We have fully equipped Hobie Outbacks professionally rigged and all of our trips are fully guided by our team. We also work with local SO Cal guides and host special trips with them as the guide for the trip. Visit our website cedroskayakfishing.com for more info and to book your trip of a lifetime.
Tune in Saturday April 8 to The Mighty 1090am from 7am -9am where we’ll have special guest Captain Tim Ekstrom from the Royal Star.
Tim pioneered long range fishing and RSW (refrigerated salt water) treatment for keeping fish fresh. The Royal Star is known for unbelievable catches, fine food and the freshest fish to ever hit the dock! Join Pete, Rick and Tim for exciting news about this spring, summer and fall’s upcoming trips.
If you are interested in a trip aboard the Royal Star please call Tracy, Brian, Randy, or Tim at (619) 224-4764. Also, check us out at: www.royalstarsportfishing.com
Tune in Sunday April 9 for Big Time fun! We have a great show coming to you straight from Day At The Docks. We will have a variety of guests to cover every aspect of fishing. Learn the facts from Steve Carson or long range technique from Frank Lopreste. Come on down to the event and enjoy seminars, tackle sales and a chance to talk with some of your favorite Captains. We will have our broadcast from 7-9am so stop by and ask a question.
So What’s biting out there?
Offshore action has slowed a bit this week. The fleet will be looking this weekend for tuna and yellows so you can count on several live reports from the water. Catalina is coming back to it’s spring glory with lots of squid and white sea bass on the backside. Frontside Catalina has smaller yellowtail and a bucket load of bonito. Just wait, San Clemente will bust loose any day now with monster bass and yellowtail. Will the bluefin be there again this year?
Rock Cod Rick and Pete had the opportunity to pre-fish Lake Barrett on Tuesday and found incredible fishing. They posted 200 plus catch and release bass, and most fish in the 1 to 3 pound class. Pete did score a 6 and 7 pound bass. Barrett will open in May and tickets will go on sale April 11.
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Islander Kayak Trip
Get off your butt and go!
Join in the fun with the guys from Hobie and Fast Lane Kayaks aboard the Islander. On this very unique trip, you will have the opportunity to fish San Clemente Island on your kayak and use the luxurious Islander as a mother ship.
There will be 4 live broadcasts & casting contests:
June 3- Encinitas Ford
July 1- Mossy Ford
August 5- TBD
September 2- El Cajon Ford
SEE YOU THERE!
Tune in this weekend for fantastic giveaways, live fish reports and tips from the pros to help make you a better angler. Don’t miss a minute of this great show!
Let’s Talk Hook-up features different experts guests on every program, and has the best fishing reporters from southern California and baja waters and host trips from Alaska to Panama. Join in the fun and excitement of Let’s Talk Hook-up, heard from Santa Barbara to San Diego every Saturday and Sunday 7am to 9 am on The Mighty 1090AM, or you can listen anywhere at www.letstalkhookup.com . If you miss a show, listen to the archives of previous shows available through the web site www.letstalkhookup.com.
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