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Kayak Angler Hauls in Near-Record White Sea Bass in California

white sea bass
The San Diego Union-Tribune

This white bass falls just four pounds short of California state record.

The huge white sea bass Brian Fagan hooked into last week while kayak fishing north of San Diego not only took him for a ride as it pulled his kayak around for half an hour, it’s nearly a state record.

Fagan’s 74.2 pound sea bass falls about four pounds short of a state record, but white sea bass this large don’t come around often. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports only four others cracking the 70-pound mark have been recognized by the International Game Fish Association since 1950.

While Fagan has caught some large sea bass before, he’s never hooked into one over the 50-pound mark until now. The large fish hit on a mackerel at a depth of 65 feet. Fagan had caught the bait earlier that morning.

The fish was so heavy, he initially thought he might have hooked into the ocean bottom, but it quickly became clear he had a larger than average fish on the line.

“I really thought I had hooked into a large black sea bass, which is protected in California and must be released,” Fagan told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “I’ve caught many in the past and even though they are still fun to catch, you’re always disappointed once you get the fish to color and know you need to release it.”

Since he was fishing from a kayak, the large fish ended up taking Fagan around for a ride during a 30-minute fight. It wasn’t until he fought the fish to within 10 feet of the surface that he realized it wasn’t a black sea bass at all. It was a white, and it was bigger than any he’d caught before.

Fagan was able to wrestle the five-foot long fish into his kayak with a gaff. Even though he’d already caught a huge fish, he kept fishing. It didn’t take long for him to hook into another huge fish, this time it was the black sea bass he’d suspected the first time.

It was only after he had landed and released the black sea bass that Fagan decided to head in for the day where the large white sea bass caused quite a stir on the beach and when he weighed it in at Dana Landing.

While it is short of a record, no one can argue it isn’t one heck of a catch, especially from a kayak. But Fagan is just happy with what one could argue is the catch of a lifetime.

“I could care less about records; I’m just a fishing fool and love the peace and quiet the kayak-style fishing provides me,” Fagan said.

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Kayak Angler Hauls in Near-Record White Sea Bass in California