By Rich Holland

With the advent of giant swells and cold water out of the Northwest, the phenomenal fishing brought to Southern California has backed off, yet history shows there will be at least one extended gap in the weather pattern and warmer air and water temperatures, and yellowtail, as the Southern jet stream joins into the game with abundant tropical moisture.

While yellowfin tuna may pop up within single day striking distance (and there will be albacore on the outer banks if anyone has the desire to check) the best bet is for yellowtail to show up in strength at the usual locations such as La Jolla, Del Mar, the Pendleton Coast, the 150, Catalina Island, San Clemente Island and even the northern Channel Islands. An added bonus could be an early shot at big white seabass and the availability of squid for bait.

What it all adds up to is an excellent opportunity for kayak fishermen to get in on some holiday action without resorting to paddling into a steep slope of powder.
Still yellowtail are the best bet and you can look for them to appear in a three- to four-week window of opportunity between Christmas and February.

That said, we grabbed the video on short-pumping techniques produced by the gang at Hobie and featuring Hobie’s Morgan Promnitz.

“Here is one of several yellowtail we caught this morning that ranged between 23 and 30 pounds a piece,” says Morgan of the video. “The two that I landed were both boated in under 3 minutes.”
“This video shows the technique of ‘short-pumping’ a fish where the angler uses the stronger portion of the rod with short lifts to keep the fish’s head turned towards the surface, he adds. “This is crucial to landing larger species on the kayak before they take you into structure or get eaten by predators like seals or sharks, and it eliminates the chances of breaking rods by high-sticking.”

Hobie's Morgan Promnitz uses rod, reel and boat to keep constant pressure on a yellowtail. Photo Hobie

Hobie’s Morgan Promnitz uses rod, reel and boat to keep constant pressure on a yellowtail. Photo Hobie

High-sticking is bringing the plane of the rod (basically the portion that does not bend) past a 90-degree angle to the tight line. Not only can this put all the force on the bend, crushing the blank walls and breaking the rod, it is very easy to throw slack into the line by dropping the tip too quickly, which is a great way for a fish to unbutton.

It is important when you watch this video to pay attention to the angle of the line to the rod. For instance, the rod is held higher when the yellowtail takes Morgan on a sleigh ride and still maintains the right angle,then is parallel to the boat when the fish is up and down.

The key to effective short-stroking is to keep in mind the idea of letting the rod do the work. You always want to keep a bend in the rod and simply reel the tip down as it responds to the fish coming up. Good luck and Happy Holidays!


Rod: St. Croix Triumph Salt TSWC70MHF
Reel: Daiwa Saltist 35H
Line: 65-lb Power Pro Braid – Green
Leader: 40-lb Seaguar Fluorocarbon
Hook: Owner Gorilla 2/0

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