Bay / Harbor Afternoon Delight

NateWinicki

Newbie
Nov 4, 2019
33
396
22
Oceanside
Name
Nathan Winicki
Boat Name
Advance
I define luck as being the moment when preparation meets unexpected opportunity. We got lucky today.

It was a regular Saturday afternoon at Pacific Coast Bait and Tackle, the local fishing shop where I work. I’ve been there for a little over two years, and this is the time when it starts to really slow down. I was preparing myself for another quiet afternoon when around 1pm, there’s a zap and all the lights go out. We hear sirens up the street and find out there was an accident that downed an electrical pole, and the whole block was out of power. The boss was out of town so we update him on the situation. We stayed open in the dark store until about 3 when we got another call saying it’s not going to be fixed anytime soon and we can close up. My coworker Connar and I look at each other and figured we can spend the rest of the day trying to catch a bass or two on my boat in the harbor. I live close by so we loaded up and launched out of Oceanside harbor around 3:40.

I figured the Oside bait barge had switched to their winter hours and had closed up early. To my surprise, there was a kid sitting there and swung us a $10 pass. Stoked that we now had live bait, we got a couple halibut rigs ready and headed to our first drift spot. We had about an hour of good light so we got right to it.

About 20 minutes into our first drift I’m starting to talk about winding up and re-setting when Connar’s rod gets slammed. I wind up a big piece of seaweed and wonder if he’s just stuck on more of the same. I look over his shoulder and his reel is dumping line. Seaweed doesn’t move like that. I clear everything and get the gaff ready. After an initial crazy run, the fish starts moving all over and making big circles around the boat. Classic leopard shark I’m thinking. Connar thinks otherwise. “Big butt dude. I’m telling you.” We keep fighting and the fish keeps fighting back. I’m on the trolling motor trying to move over deeper water and the fish just keeps dogging us. Connar plays it on a light drag but the longer we fight it the longer I’m thinking it’s either a shark or ray. I’m delighted that we’re hooked on something legit on this spontaneous trip, so anything will make my day. It’s been almost 10 minutes and we now have a couple people spectating. Connar starts gaining and then whispers “oh my god” I look down and say the same thing. Out of the murk this brown diamond materializes. It’s the biggest halibut I’ve ever seen. He keeps winding and the fish lays out perfectly for a gaff and I take the shot.

40 INCHES!!!

We’ve fished together all Winter, Spring, and Summer down in San Diego Bay for a fish of this caliber, and here in the local oside harbor on a trip that shouldn’t have even happened, we get one.

I’m so happy for Connar! He’s been working just as hard as I have on catching big fish this year but has been stuck in the “shoulda been here yesterday” curse all season. For him to get this marks a conclusion of a seven year quest and a lifetime experience that I’m so glad to be apart of. This is why I fish!!

Thanks for reading

E662D763-1378-418F-848C-C4010C6A50B3.jpeg


982E6E8F-06F5-4940-A227-1F324F33320B.jpeg


24643336-E860-4164-AD90-E32F480A7BBD.jpeg
 
Last edited:

watersdeep

I CATCH IT. I KILL IT. I CLEAN IT. I DON'T DELIVER
  • Jan 19, 2016
    2,663
    2,727
    LB
    Name
    Jed Venture
    Boat Name
    the twisted ducker
    Great fish !
    Great read!
    Great attitude!
     
    • Like
    Reactions: NateWinicki
    Upvote 0

    Steve Francis

    Member
    Sep 11, 2006
    475
    719
    --
    Name
    StephenKatSea
    Boat Name
    .--.
    Outstanding. There was a time when an occasional Black Sea Bass would be caught and released in O'side harbor. Believe Billy Miyagawa Jr caught one there when he was just a little guy. Those BSB were released into the harbor by various O'side sportfishing boats.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: NateWinicki
    Upvote 0

    Reel hip

    Meet my "Well known Member"
  • Feb 19, 2008
    5,169
    1,813
    62
    San Diego
    Name
    Doug
    Boat Name
    25ft Skipjack fly 35 ft Silverton
    Awesome catch ! It's looking good on the halibut front.
     
    Upvote 0