One that didn't get away
Mike Cliburn (right) shows off
the 73.8-pound thresher shark he caught off La Jolla Shores while out with Jim
Sammons on a kayak.
In what has been a summer of
incredible ocean fishing comes this story of an amazing local catch from a kayak.
Mike Cliburn of Escondido landed a 73.8-pound thresher shark in La Jolla Canyon
Sunday, 1 and a half miles off La Jolla Shores.
Cliburn was out with Jim Sammons, who owns the La Jolla Kayak Fishing guide service,
and Lou Farkas.
"We were baiting live mackerel for yellowtail and that's what I thought Mike had
at first," Sammons said of his client. "then I thought it was a white sea bass
and finally I thought for sure he hooked a sea lion."
Cliburn, who works at Encinitas Tile, knew what ever he had wasn't fighting like
a yellowtail. He's new to kayak fishing, but he does have a 4 and a half hour
battle with what he thinks was a big yellowfin tuna off Hawaii under his belt.
That fish escaped when the hook straightened.
But he nailed this one.
"I got the shark up four different times, and he ran all four times," Cliburn
The battle went on for 45 minutes, and Cliburn, who is 6-foot, 190 pounds, handled
it well. Finally, it looked as though the fish was ready for the gaff. The men
decided Farkas should see if a boat off in the distance would come and assist
with the gaffing.
I have a small gaff, but there's no way I wanted that thresher's tail thrashing
around me while I was gaffing it in a kayak," Sammons said.
When the boat arrived, Cliburn said the men drew up a plan to land the fish. They
decided that Cliburn should get off his kayak, and board the boat and bring the
big longtail shark up once more. The fishermen in the boat gaffed the fish, and
Cliburn had the biggest fish he's ever caught. They weighed it at Sportmen's Seafoods
on Mission Bay.
"I have a boat and I used to hunt threshers all the time, but I never got one."
Cliburn said. "To think that I'd get one like this, fishing for yellowtail. It's
Cliburn said the boat fishermen who helped him said they'd call him at work yesterday,
but Cliburn never heard from them. The only has their first names, but he said
he has a chunk of thresher shark for them should they decide to claim it.
For information on kayak fishing, call Sammons at (619)461-7172