What we did last weekend: Fish-Off at Sunset Beach

**the following is a variant on what I posted on the Southern California Surf Fishing forum last weekend.**  Ryan’s a big fisher, which means I get dragged to the beach a lot if I want to hang out on weekends.  Not that I’m complaining… there are much worse places to be, and if I’m not fishing, I’m reading/napping/walking.  I figure in a couple years when Ryan finishes his PhD, we won’t be in California anymore, and certainly not anywhere this close to the beach, so we should take advantage as much as we can of our awesome location.

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My first foray into fishing was when I surprised Ryan with a boat fishing trip for his birthday a few years back.  Little did I realize that I had awakened this crazy fish-loving spirit inside of him that had lain dormant for lots of years (he hadn’t fished since he was a kid, but his family are all serious fishers). We went out for a half day on the New Del Mar out of Marina Del Rey, caught some barracudas, and he was hooked. Which meant I was going to be dragged to the beach a lot over the next couple years.

Fast forward to now, and I’m certainly not much good, and I’m terrible with knots and gear, but I’m getting better. I can land a fish, and I can bait a hook, and I’m working on my casting.  Now Ryan gets jealous when I out-fish him. [He wouldn’t admit it, but it totally happens]

And now, here’s what happened at the fish-off last Saturday:

My mum was in town visiting from Georgia all last week, and although she’d never fished, she watches fishing shows on TV all the time because she gets excited about the fishing we do and she was super excited to try. She was really excited to see all the fishers in action.  I was glad she could come visit because she’s awesome, and also that she could try her hand at fishing in person, instead of just watching other people do it.  She’d reeled in a little fish when we’d been pier fishing earlier in the week, but didn’t catch anything at the fish-off.  And not for lack of trying.  Her casting is getting better.

There’s Ryan and my mum setting up all the poles. The little Shimano is what I caught all my fish on. It’s a good little pole.

That’s the coastline pretty early, maybe 7:30ish?  When we were setting up, the guys to our left were pulling in perch on every cast, which made me excited to get into the water.

And those are the 4 perch I caught!  Then Ryan stole the perch pole and left. I took it back when he came to check on his shark poles. I had some trouble casting and kept casting over his lines, but once I moved clear of them, I caught perch #2 and #3 on pretty much my next two casts. #4 came around 9:45, but no one around us seemed to be getting as many bites by then, and the tides were changing.

Side note: Ryan caught this 47″ leopard shark with the head of my first perch. It was a good little perch. I catch good bait.

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He was quite pleased with himself, as it’s his biggest shark to date.

They also had a raffle, and I was pumped to come home with some awesome swag.

On Sunday, Ryan went out on his own and caught a 54″ bat ray.  They’re like sting rays, in that they have poisonous barbs on their tails, and I think he’s insane to try to catch them, but they’re one of his favorite fish to catch.  The SC Surffishers are having a “Bat Fight” next weekend and we’re going.  Ryan wants me to land my first bat.  I’m not quite sold….

This is Ryan reeling in the bat ray.  He was pretty excited.

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And here it is landed. Image

It was in the 80s yesterday and today, which is awesome, because it was weirdly cool earlier in the week.  It’s our first weekend in a while not heading to the beach.  Although Ryan will probably go tomorrow while I’m at work.  And hopefully none of these big fish will haul him into the water with them.

Hopefully I’ll have more fishing pictures to post next weekend!

**Disclaimer: no fish were killed in these fishing exploits, except for one little perch who was used as shark bait and caught the shark above.  Everyone else made it safely back to the water and swam away.  That’s how I like it.**

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