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Old 10-04-2017, 06:34 AM   #1
dpricenator
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No Bugs, but I came out the big winner.

Sorry guys, this was from a pier, but I had to share.

9/30/17 San Clemente Pier.

I made my way down to the SC pier at about 8:30 PM with my oldest boy, who is 13 and autistic. We were there with everyone else hoping to catch some bugs. We baited our traps and tossed em over the edge. Then we spent an hour catching more macks, using a glow stick about 24 inches up from a little hook with mackerel Skin on it. The glow stick didn't sit in the water for 30 seconds before we would get bit. My boy was loving it, though he wanted to watch the glow stick run all over the water more than he wanted to reel in the mackerel. Was pretty funny watching him sloooooooowwwwwwwwllllllyyyyyyy reel each one in. Anyway, Check the lobster traps and nothing in em. toss em back over the edge. Back to Macks, which were all over 12 inches with a bunch of 15 inch size. Then I caught the one I had been looking for. 8-9 inches. I put him on a #1 Live bait hook, with the extra ring, and hooked him through the nose to keep him alive longer. Back to making bait. half hour goes by and I went to check on my traps and the bottom rig I had out. Nothing in the traps, tos em back over. The mackerel I had down there wa sstill alive, but clearly not making enough noise to get the attn. I was hoping for. So I gave him a big gash down the side of his gut and a few slashes across the back, and sent him back down.

Half hour later, some thing takes my line for a little ride. I tried to get a hook set, and thought I had it, then the rod straightened out and there was nothing. I set the rod back against the rail and crossed the peir to get my mackerel rig with was slowly being worked by my son. After we had that one I the cooler I baited the bait hook and tossed it over for him to get some more, and the Line started screaming off my bottom rig. Everyone with in 25 yards heard it. Run across and tighten down the drag, and set the hook. The fish went on a hundred yard sprint for the next 10 seconds. Just tearing line off the reel. I actually let off the drag ab it, because I had an old Shakespeare Combo I bought for $40. All I needed was for my drag washers to melt or fuse together.

Once he slowed down a bit the next couple of minute were pump and reel, pump and reel. The the end of my flipped up straight again. The whole pier moaned in disapproval, as I must have lost the fish. I started to reel in as fast as possible and caught up with the fish who had turned and made a run back toward the pier. We knew it wasn't a Bat Ray, because it was shaking too much, so maybe shovelnose or even a Halibut, but the bait would have been wrong for a butt, and I've never seen a but go for that long of a run before.

Then someone yelled, "It's a big Leopard!!!!" I heart jumped as I have been wanting a keeper Leo for a few years now. He made an attempt to get under the pier, but I was able to keep him right under the rail, and not around a piling. Unfortunately, she wrapped around the rope on someone's lobster trap.

I should mention a dude ran over to help me at the very beginning of the fight. He totally guided me when I couldn't see, and then was super instrumental in getting her over the rail. Thank you Jonah.

The owner of the lobster trap , I was not stuck to, was no where to be found. So after a very quick discussion about removing someone else's gear from the water, we decided it was in the fish's best interest, and Jonah brought the lobster trap to the surface. Anther 10 minutes trying to get the fish to sit still long enough to get the head in the trap. Finally she poured herself through the top hoop, and up she came.

Just looking at this fish I was beside myself. Just a magnificent creature with beautiful markings. We got her out of the net to see what the hook removal situation might be. As we laid her down she gave a little kick so she fell the last 4-5 inches and the hooked popped out and landed next to her. Easily 20 minutes on the hook and I never had the barb set. Crazy.

As many times as I had thought about catching my legal Leo, I always said I would take it home and cook it and try to tan the skin. But looking at a 5 foot long reproductively mature Female, I couldn't do it. That fish belongs back in the water. Had it been a 40 inch male, he would have gone in the cooler.

We took some pictures, I gave her a kiss on the head and torpedo'ed her back over the edge.

High Fives and smiles all around.

Thanks for reading. I could have just posted a picture, but what fun would that have been.

Caught on a single dropper loop, #1 ringed live bait hook, and a hole mackerel cut down the gut to bleed.



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Old 10-04-2017, 07:06 AM   #2
steveooo
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Stoked! Congrats!
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Old 10-04-2017, 09:41 AM   #3
goldenglory18
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Absolutely beautiful. Way to CPR!
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Old 10-04-2017, 10:02 AM   #4
dpasinli
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Very cool, thanks for a great read! Congrats!
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Old 10-05-2017, 06:18 AM   #5
PapaDave
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Lots of fun to catch, glad you released her.
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Old 10-06-2017, 07:10 PM   #6
EastLosYaker
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Way to go brother!
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