By Anthony Nuccio
We were rigged and on the water a little after 5, and loaded up with 6- to 8-inch greenbacks at the headlands off Dana Point, California. We worked the area off the kelp down to Ritz Point and back with a 2-ounce Carolina rig, but got nothing to show for it. Fishing was slow but there was a lot of life and bait was thick. At this point there was a decent wind building, so we made a long paddle to a new spot to set a drift in about 60 feet. We drifted out to about 85 feet over good structure the entire time, then paddled back to set another drift. We did this several times before my number got called.
I was drifting in about 75 feet with my bait out and in the rod holder while I was fishing a jig. I made a cast with the jig and noticed my docile bait suddenly got nervous. I quickly retrieved the jig, staring at the rod in the holder until I could put the jig away. When I picked up the rod, the bait was just cruising along normally. Then the line went completely slack all of a sudden, I backspooled real quick but couldn't catch up so I clicked the reel in gear. As I did that I saw the rod start to load up on its own. As the tip hit the water I took a swing and I was on.
This thing brutalized me. I told my partner Troy that I thought it was a shark. He said potentially a BSB – I didn't care at that point, expecting a BSB but was just enjoying pulling on something. A few minutes into the fight I feel a heavy vibration as the line cut through the kelp, but the braid held. When I could finally make out color, and I see what could potentially be my first-ever legal WSB, the only words I could muster were 'It's a white!" The beauty came up still green after three huge runs. I gaffed it near the tail after a miss and Troy helped secure the 52.5-inch, 46-pound fish on the game clip and safe on the boat, away from potential predators.
My heaviest seabass to date. No world record, but my heaviest seabass to date, and definitely a big one for Dana Point.
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