by alternative fishing methods are becoming more common these days.
Earlier this summer there was Scot Cherry landing a couple of thresher sharks
from his surfboard and Nathan Rayle snagging a thresher from the surf at Sunset
And now this: Jim Sammons, the guide and owner of La Jolla Kayak Fishing had an
adventure Sunday on his kayak that puts him at the top of the alternative angling
Sammons hooked and fought an estimated 180 to 200-pound striped marlin for 2 and
a half hours off La Jolla. Twice he had the big spike close enough to his kayak
to gaff, but he and two friends, who were paddling in kayaks behind him, opted
not to gaff it. The battle ended with a busted line approximately eight miles
out from La Jolla Shores.
"I had it within 2 feet of the kayak two different times, but I didn't think gaffing
it was the safest or smartest thing to do," Sammons said. "I had my legs dangling
over the side of the kayak for more leverage, and the fish still had a lot of
life. It wasn't worth risking our safety or our gear."
Sammons said the odyssey began about 1 and a half miles out from Scripps Pier.
Sammons and his friend, Mark Beverage of El Cajon, caught mackerel for bait and
then paddled out to La Jolla Canyon for yellowtail.
Both were trolling mackerel on the way out when Sammons noticed some flying fish.
"I told Mark that in the past few weeks, whenever I saw flying fish, I usually
saw marlin,": Sammons said. "Ten to 15 minutes after that, I was bit."
It only took a few minutes for Sammons and Beverage to identify what Sammons had
hooked. Sammons saw the fish's huge tail first and then it put on a spectacular
show that Sammons and Beverage enjoyed from a view at eye-level to the water.
"It just went ballistic,"
Sammons said. "It jumped and I didn't really think I had that much pressure on
the line. But it just kept jumping and tailwalking. It was the most fantastic
thing I've ever seen."
Sammons was only using 20 pound test Ande line, and his gear - a Seeker rod and
Shimano Charter Special reel - was more suited for yellowtail. The mackerel was
pinned to a small 2/0 hook.
"I was lucky I had brand new line on the reel," Sammons said.
The marlin towed Sammons approximately 8 miles out, and at times, Beverage and
another angler, who joined them after the marlin bit, had trouble keeping up to
"The tough part was holding on when it made deep runs," Sammons said. "As long
as he was going straight out, it wasn't a problem."
Toward the end of the fight, Sammons said his instinct told him to gaff the fish
and bring it back to the beach. But he's mostly a catch-and-release angler, and
he didn't thing gaffing the big striped marlin was the best idea. Sammons said
he never once felt he was in danger, although marlin have been known to charge
boats when hooked. And anglers have been speared by their bills on swim steps.
"He never really got to the point were it was violent or made any turns back toward
me," Sammons said. "It was like it knew we were behind him, but it never turned
At one point, Beverage set off a flare in an attempt to attract a near by boat,
but the fishermen in the boat never responded.
Seeing that he wasn't going to get any help, Sammons tightened down the drag and
put more pressure on the fish. Sammons said if they had flagged a boat down, he
likely would have gaffed the fish. But the line broke, and ironically, two boats
came by within 10 minutes of losing the fish.
"It was 2 and a half hours of fun out there, a wonderful adventure," Beverage
said. "But the thing is, Jim beat the fish, and now, someone else can hook and
Sammons felt good about the battle and didn't regret not gaffing it. He said he
was very sore yesterday, and he'll always have the memory of seeing at eye level
such a majestic fish jump 12 times out of the blue-purple ocean.
"Usually my clients get the big fish, but this time I got the big fish," Sammons