Rod Bennett’s Record 53-Pound Kayak Yellowtail
By Mike Stevens
When Rod Bennett nabbed his record 53.2-pound yellowtail off La Jolla, California a couple years ago, it didn't exactly come out of nowhere. Earlier that week, the 8th-grade math teacher out of Valencia (who spends his summers in Pacific Beach) landed a pair of 30-pound white seabass.
In a crowd-avoiding move, Bennett worked away from the squid grounds that the bulk of the plastic navy was targeting when he caught another quality seabass, this one weighing in at 32 pounds. Later in the morning, the squid were up on the surface, and everyone was chasing them and throwing iron. Not seeing any hookups, Bennett dropped a heavy jig down with a live squid trailer. He was considering calling it a day when his Calstar rod went bendo and line began to peel off his Shimano TLD 15.
"I was a good distance from the kelp, near an area we call 'The Hotel,' and I could tell it was a good fish when it headed for the weeds," said Bennett. "It towed me through a bunch of 'yaks and private boats before hooking me on up a stringer."
He managed to get the fish out of the kelp only to get stuck in it again. When he finally did get the mossback up to on the surface, it brought a lot of kelp with it.
"I gaffed it and got it in my hatch without taking much of a look at it because my other rod went off and I had to deal with it. It was ended up being a nice calico," he added.
Bennett paddled in and told a buddy that he estimated his fish would weigh 30-to-25 pounds, an estimate that said buddy would laugh at when he saw the fish and immediately knew it was at least a 45-pounder.