Kayaker adds 42-pound yellowtail to 2016 tally – La Jolla once again provides Brian Fagan with outstanding catch

La Jolla once again provides Brian Fagan with outstanding catch

Brian Fagan flylined a mackerel while fishing from his Hobie and nailed this 42.6-pound yellowtail. Photo courtesy Brian Fagan
Brian Fagan flylined a mackerel while fishing from his Hobie and nailed this 42.6-pound yellowtail. Photo courtesy Brian Fagan

Same kayaker who caught 74.2-pound seabass nails fat forktail off La Jolla

By Rich Holland

Seabass were the target when Brian Fagan of Poway launched at La Jolla Shores at 5:30 in the morning Thursday, March 10. He didn’t expect to match the 74.2 pound white seabass he caught in January, but it was yet another beautiful winter day in Southern California and anything can happen when you paddle out to the magic waters of La Jolla.

White wouldn’t be the color of the day. Nope, it was yellow as in a 42.6-pound yellowtail that gave Fagan all the fight he could handle from his Hobie Revolution 13.

“I headed out as the light was just peeking through,” says Fagan. “I made bait easily by 6:30 and started bottom fishing for seabass. After nothing for a couple of hours I went in search of yellowtail around the Northwest corner to no avail, so I came back inside and set up a surface rig with a lively mackerel attached.”

The bite was instant.

“I cast out and before I had time to think I was off to the races,” Brian notes. “This thing took line like crazy and then went deep. I was fishing in 100 feet and knew I was clear of any worry of kelp down below.

“After 15 minutes of tug-of-war I got the fish to gaff,” he continues. “I sank a good shot and the gaff comes flying out of my hand and the fish heads straight to the bottom with the gaff attached just behind the head.”

It took Fagan most of 10 minutes to get the yellowtail back to the boat.

“Just as I grab my gaff the fish turns and out the gaff comes and he’s straight down to the bottom another time,” notes Fagan. “Okay, so another 5-7 minutes more and I get him up again, sink another gaff shot behind the head and hoist him into the yak.”

The battle was far from over and there were a couple poachers waiting nearby for a chance to steal the catch.

“Then the fish goes nuts and I’m hanging on for dear life as two seals are yakside just waiting for this fish to jump out of my lap and provide the freeloaders an easy lunch,” Brian says. “Fortunately I was able to pull a gill and hold the fish as he bled out while I made my way back to the beach.”

The day after the catch when Fagan told Kayak Fish the story, he admitted he was “One tired fisherman.”

“Yellowtail are pound for pound the best fighting fish in our seas, and they are great table fare,” concludes Fagan.

“Gotta love the kayak!”

Fagan said this yellowtail put a much harder battle than his big croaker did. Photo courtesy Brian Fagan
Fagan said this yellowtail put up a much harder battle than his big croaker did. Photo courtesy Brian Fagan