Do You Catch Fish In the Dark?
by Johnny Ceviche

The past two months of fishing has been said to be slow in La Jolla, California.  Some comment it's like a parking lot out there due to so many kayaks, powerboats and party boats fishing in close quarters.  This condition makes it so difficult if not impossible to catch fish.  I still fish on the weekends when the crowds are out in force to keep up to date with what’s going on in the water.  My serious fishing occurs in the evening when the fishing grounds are all mine.  Well, almost except for a few hard-core fishermen like LGG or Katchfish.

One weekday afternoon I launched at 6:00 P.M. and headed straight past the point.  On the way out the presence on marine life is noticeable.  Plenty of baits jumping out of the water as they are chased by bigger predators. 

I made bait fairly easy, four pacific mackerel in one cast of the Sabiki rig.  I slow trolled a 12+ inch mackerel until I was well clear off the point before getting bit.  My reel screaming while the line peels off.  I set the hook, but the line became slacked.  I waited awhile then the line started taking off again.  I set the hook a second time.  My kayak started making wake as I get towed towards the open ocean.  I was thinking this fish got to be big for it to swallow such a big bait. The fish dove straight down until it was directly below my kayak.  I am able to see its huge mark on my fish finder at a depth of 60 feet before coming to the surface almost as fast as it went down.  I can see the wake that it leaves behind as it tries to escape towards the sea.  The fish doubled back towards the kayak and closing in fast. I crank the reel as fast as I could to regain the line tension.  The fish got close to within 20 feet before turning away. One strong headshake is all it took to free up itself.  My heart beat still racing as I sat there thinking of what I've done wrong to loose such a huge fish.  I was a bit disappointed at first but the adrenaline rush was so intense that I was just happy to know that there are still fish out there to be caught.

The sun had just set so I decided to turn back towards the inside kelp area.  As I look towards the West about a quarter mile out to sea I can see the silhouette of another hardcore kayak fisherman. I wondered who could this person be, being out there when darkness is beginning to set. As I paddled back in I kept checking on the lone kayak fisherman.  I saw him starting to  paddle in so I waited for his approach.  The lone kayak fisherman finally got close for me to be able to recognize him. It was Brian the Life Guard Guy.  I told Brian that I've just lost a big fish just a few minutes ago that's why I am still out there and he told me the same about the fish that broke off from him. I gave Brian one of my bait so we both were trolling slowly as we heads back in. All the while we were exchanging fish stories one after another.  We reflected on our past fishing experiences, how we enjoyed fishing together during our rookie days together with Dr. Gary, and John (aka) Soulwinner.  We talked about the kamikazi flying fish that barely missed hitting us as they soared past our head.  "What time is it?", Brian asks.  I said it's 8:21 P.M.  As we paddled slowly we were admiring the beauty of now glittering La Jolla shores.  From the shores fire works were going off.  The almost full moon providing as some light in the dark.  Brian asked me if I ever catch fish in the dark to which I responded quickly with an assuring YES to his question.

The water is very flat so we were not so concern about a rough landing.  Inside the point we heard some splashes the seemed to be fish boil.  We closed in to investigate.  I shortened my line to within 20 feet.  I can barely see the boil but can clearly hear the splashes created by the baitfish.  It wasn't long before my line started peeling off.  I set the hook  "I am on", I yelled to Brian.  I checked my fish finder and all I saw is kelps below me.  The fish wrapped up on the kelp so bad that I had to cut a bunch of kelp to gain two feet of line at a time.  After a few minutes of cutting kelps and pulling some line the WSB surfaced belly up five feet away from my kayak with my line still doubled up on the kelps below.  The fish measured 48 inches long shy of 30 pounds.  It was past 9:00 P.M. when Brian and I landed dry in the beach.  A few days later I had landed another WSB also caught in the dark.  This time it was Katchfish who played the role of the lone fisherman.  The week prior I bagged two more Yellow Tails one caught in the morning the other caught at dusk  

This puts my fish count year to date to 10 WSB and 4 Yellow Tails for a total of 450 pounds.  What others call to be a slow fishing in La Jolla is just about right.  I haven't seen much action other than from just a few hardcore fishermen who spent the time in the water.

Tight lines,

Johnny Ceviche