Rig Right For Your Prey
by Johnny Ceviche

Fishing is more than just putting bait on the hook and throwing it in the water. Often times I hear stories of fisherman loosing a Thresher Shark after a short battle due to broken lines, a bite and spit or not getting a hit at all  while others are catching fish after fish.  This is a result of improper tackle rigged for the type of intended prey.  Using the right tackle or rig could make the difference of successful fishing. The following story is a good example of the proper rig as I experience it first hand.

Launched my kayak at 6:00 AM one Thursday morning on fairly calm waters, 1 to 2 feet of surf, water temperature 62 degrees with incoming tide.  Upon arriving at the fishing ground I noticed right away the abundance of baits from pacific mackerel, jack mackerel, tuna (red) crabs and I even caught a 10 inch sardine.

Today I plan on targeting Thresher Shark so I set out my rig, a 100 lb monofilament leader on a 30 lb main line baited with the biggest live mackerel. As I begin to troll I met Brad a new comer to kayak fishing.  In just a short conversation with Brad Iíve noticed that he could use some help so I invited him to join me and directed him to the place where Iíve caught baits.  I told Brad that fly lining a live mackerel have produced the best result in the area.  Brad did just that He removed the sliding egg sinker that he had on his rig.  Brad caught some mackerel we then begun our slow troll.  Ahead of us about half a mile is Outrigger guy fishing at a depth of 110 ft. I explained to Brad that if for some reason that I have to stop trolling that he should head on out to join Outrigger Guy. As Brad and I get closer to Chris we can see that Chris is hooked up on something big.  Moments later Chris landed a big Yellow Tail followed by another a short time later. Since I have known Chris two seasons ago this guy has mastered  catching Yellow Tails.

With Thresher Shark on my mind I slowly peeled away from Chris and headed on out to the outside kelp area. Brad insisted on tagging along with me. As we neared a patch of kelps I explained to Brad that we are approaching the WSB territory. Iíve just checked the incoming tide, it is about two hours before it peaks in the morning.  It did not take much time upon approaching the kelp. Brads reel started screeming zzzzzziiiiiiinnnnnnnggggg!  I swung my kayak around towards my left and got ready to provide assistance to Brad if needed. After minutes of sleigh ride and tug-o-war with the beast, Brad showed that he might be a newbie in kayak fishing  but he is a veteran when it comes to fighting and landing big fish.  I estimated Brads catch to be 40 lb WSB his first on kayak.  Brad called it a day after securing his catch and paddle back to the beach at 7:40 AM. this was the last time I saw of Outrigger Guy also.

 Brads first White Sea Bass caught on kayak

I proceeded Southwest trolling still looking to hook up a Thresher Shark.  I know they are around as I have just released a small one a few days earlier.  I covered over a mile of fishing ground with no takers only a nervous bait so I decided to double back.  As I approach the point I had three big strikes sudden and hard.  Each time the fish would hit hard taking about 1 to 2 yards of line, stops and I can feel head shaking side to side as if trying to tear the bait off the hook. I waited for that long run before setting the hook but it never happened.  I reeled in some line about a yard or two to tease the predator and waited some more again nothing happen.  I reeled in the line only to find the bait quivering, gasping for his last breath, the gills torn out of its throat the body flattened like someone had just stepped on it. 

After the third strike with the same result I decided to change my rig and give up on Mr.T.  I switched my rig back to fly line for whatever it is thatís killing my bait. Iíve just pinned a lively bait and have sent it down.  The bait was very nervous as I was paying the line out.  I set the clicker and waited, a few seconds later the clicker goes off zzzzziiiinnnnngg stops, head shakes side to side and then it goes off again but this time itís not stopping, I set the hook and instant sleigh ride.  After three more hard runs and a tug-o-war I landed the hardest fighting YT I have fought in a long time. 

I sent another bait to the bottom.  Checked the GPS for my location.  I was only 150 feet South from where I caught the YT.  I started to paddle not even fifty feet away and my reel started SCREAMING ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ, and kept on going 50 yards, then 100 yards through stringer after stringer.  My first thought Iíve just got me a Thresher Shark as I watch one third of the line from the spool peel off my reel.  All that time the fish stayed at the surface.  I set the hook hard and reeled in the line as fast as I can.  My heart started pounding fast as I my kayak is getting towed towards the thick kelp forest.  I got around the first stringer, tightened the drag to fight off the fish from getting tangled deep into the kelps below.  As I checked my GPS location I had traveled almost a quarter mile East from where Iíve hooked the fish.  

White Sea Bass and a pair of Yellow Tail by johnny ceviche

I got close to the fish, within forty feet.  I can now see the fish on the fish finder trying to hide into the kelps below.  Minutes later I got it to color within 15 feet below but then it got hang up on the kelp.  I tried every thing from doing yo-yo to giving some slack, two minutes later the fish freed itself.  My second catch for the day.  A 50 lb class WSB.

I paddled back towards where Iíve caught the YT and once in the area again I soaked another bait.  Paddled slowly heading back to shore minutes later zzzzzzzzziiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnnggggggggg and another hit.  My second YT for the day comes on board. With three big fish on board, it was still a difficult decision for me to leave this wide open Yellow Tail bite.  The wind started picking up to five knots, the water getting a bit choppy.  Each time the kayak pitches and dips, the waves goes over the bow. At times the cockpit takes on water as the wave hits the side of the kayak.  I then realize that it is going to be a hard long paddle back to shore.  On my way in I informed other yakers about the YT hot bite Iíve just left behind.  

jceviche with his 3 prize catches

For those lucky enough to find the place I was told one yaker taking 3 YT while others got  their share of YT and WSB.  For those who have missed the bite is your rig right for your prey?. 

Tight lines.