Surf fishing for bigger game. Did you know John Dillaha or Fred Oakley?

kichigai1

Almost A Member
  • Sep 2, 2007
    189
    238
    Los Angeles
    Name
    Michael
    Boat Name
    none
    I never fished with him but i knew about him. One night I almost got my legs chomped on by a Mako he caught.
    I was supposed to go to a bar/club ( the Oar house )with my friends one night and was dressed appropiately. There was Fred night fishing @ Gladstones for sharks. I saw him hooked up and asked what do you catch over here? Shark was his reply. I asked do you need any help? a gruff NO was his reply.
    I went back to the pay phone to see where my flaky friends were and he was still fighting it. I came back and he was still fighting it 15 mins. later. I go back and try to call some more friends to see if we were still going out. Every 1 was occupied, so the night was a wash.
    I go back down the road a bit and ask him if he needed help 1 more time, suprisingly he said yes. Now keep in mind these factors -

    #1 the tackle he was using was a 10'+ rod that might have been a little softer than a cue stick,with a huge senator type reel. I would later find out he was using a#250 wire leader with a whole frozen big mackerel flylined. taht should have been clue no. 1
    #2 it's a dark moonless night with myself dressed in club/bar type clothes, especially slick no grip dress shoes.
    #3 I being the young know it all ASSumed he just had a Bat Ray...this was the late 80's and flylining Makos off the beach wasn't a well known technique at the time.
    #4 I offered to gaff it and ASSumed it would be easy. He didn't ask for my gaffing credentials and I didn't offer him the reality of having no experience at all. I mean how hard could it be?

    So he told me where the gaff was ,I grabbed it and proceeded to walk down an asphalt type landing/road which almost reached the water and the surf. I m young and full of myself and assume i will be gaffing a Bat Ray or a Leopard shark at most.
    So he tells me it's close - and I keep asking where is it? there are no lights and it 's dark with a 2' swell crashing into the so called beach which is composed of mostly trash can sized rocks and smaller mixed in.
    I'm looking and looking assuming its a Bat Ray and cant see S#iT. He yells " it's right there " I'm like where? in my head. A wave crashes on shore and there it is. It's a 7'+ Mako ,the 1st 1 I have ever seen in my life. It's less than 3 feet from me and it suddenly becomes a little red riding hood moment.
    What's a little red riding hood moment you ask? well my 1st thought was - my what big teeth you have , my second thought was "i think it's pisssed off". I could tell by the way it kept chomping it's jaws over and over again. My 3rd thought was i could easily fit in that mouth- whole. My 4th thought was it's only 3 feet away. My 5th is this is a real life Sea monster and it's going to eat me. 6th is gaff the effer to defend myself and I did.
    Now telling this took about 50 times longer than the actual events happening. I processed all these thoughts within a second easy and that's with about 20 extra curse words added into the thought process. ...... Oh and it gets better....
    So do you know what happens when a PISSEd Off 7'+Mako ,with a hook in its mouth flailing 1/2 in and half out of the water on rocks Aaaaand now with a gaff in its nose does? Weeellll let me be the 1st to tell ya. It goes ballistic, It goes Ape S#!T It starts to roll,it chomps its teeth even quicker and it proceeds to shake my hand off the gaff. And as if God or the Devil or Poseiden or whoever wasn't having a great enough time falling off their chair in laughter at my misfortune. My dress shoes lose there grip by probably hitting that slimy brown algae film. So there goes my feet from underneath me ,I'm sliding towards those chomping jaws that seem 4' high. I say a micro second Oh S#!T in my head and think about losing my legs.
    Now if there was ever to be an Olympic event of quick thinking and scrambling out of the way, I won it that night easily - I took the Platinum medal home.
    Fred drops his rod and grabs the gaff, He STARES at me -Thaa STARE somewhere between the U R an effinn Idiot and I cant believe That happened..with some humor mixed in.
    As i shook myself off slimy,scraped wet,bloody and bruised...I asked "are you ok? do you got this?" he snorted than just grinned . I took my leave battered ,humiliated,slimy and bruised.
    And that is the only time I met Fred Oakley while he was fishing
     
    Upvote 0

    fsh4calico

    Paralabrax clathratus
    Oct 31, 2004
    122
    186
    Torrance, Ca
    Name
    Pete
    Boat Name
    Long Range, Float Tube
    I never fished with him but i knew about him. One night I almost got my legs chomped on by a Mako he caught.
    I was supposed to go to a bar/club ( the Oar house )with my friends one night and was dressed appropiately. There was Fred night fishing @ Gladstones for sharks. I saw him hooked up and asked what do you catch over here? Shark was his reply. I asked do you need any help? a gruff NO was his reply.
    I went back to the pay phone to see where my flaky friends were and he was still fighting it. I came back and he was still fighting it 15 mins. later. I go back and try to call some more friends to see if we were still going out. Every 1 was occupied, so the night was a wash.
    I go back down the road a bit and ask him if he needed help 1 more time, suprisingly he said yes. Now keep in mind these factors -

    #1 the tackle he was using was a 10'+ rod that might have been a little softer than a cue stick,with a huge senator type reel. I would later find out he was using a#250 wire leader with a whole frozen big mackerel flylined. taht should have been clue no. 1
    #2 it's a dark moonless night with myself dressed in club/bar type clothes, especially slick no grip dress shoes.
    #3 I being the young know it all ASSumed he just had a Bat Ray...this was the late 80's and flylining Makos off the beach wasn't a well known technique at the time.
    #4 I offered to gaff it and ASSumed it would be easy. He didn't ask for my gaffing credentials and I didn't offer him the reality of having no experience at all. I mean how hard could it be?

    So he told me where the gaff was ,I grabbed it and proceeded to walk down an asphalt type landing/road which almost reached the water and the surf. I m young and full of myself and assume i will be gaffing a Bat Ray or a Leopard shark at most.
    So he tells me it's close - and I keep asking where is it? there are no lights and it 's dark with a 2' swell crashing into the so called beach which is composed of mostly trash can sized rocks and smaller mixed in.
    I'm looking and looking assuming its a Bat Ray and cant see S#iT. He yells " it's right there " I'm like where? in my head. A wave crashes on shore and there it is. It's a 7'+ Mako ,the 1st 1 I have ever seen in my life. It's less than 3 feet from me and it suddenly becomes a little red riding hood moment.
    What's a little red riding hood moment you ask? well my 1st thought was - my what big teeth you have , my second thought was "i think it's pisssed off". I could tell by the way it kept chomping it's jaws over and over again. My 3rd thought was i could easily fit in that mouth- whole. My 4th thought was it's only 3 feet away. My 5th is this is a real life Sea monster and it's going to eat me. 6th is gaff the effer to defend myself and I did.
    Now telling this took about 50 times longer than the actual events happening. I processed all these thoughts within a second easy and that's with about 20 extra curse words added into the thought process. ...... Oh and it gets better....
    So do you know what happens when a PISSEd Off 7'+Mako ,with a hook in its mouth flailing 1/2 in and half out of the water on rocks Aaaaand now with a gaff in its nose does? Weeellll let me be the 1st to tell ya. It goes ballistic, It goes Ape S#!T It starts to roll,it chomps its teeth even quicker and it proceeds to shake my hand off the gaff. And as if God or the Devil or Poseiden or whoever wasn't having a great enough time falling off their chair in laughter at my misfortune. My dress shoes lose there grip by probably hitting that slimy brown algae film. So there goes my feet from underneath me ,I'm sliding towards those chomping jaws that seem 4' high. I say a micro second Oh S#!T in my head and think about losing my legs.
    Now if there was ever to be an Olympic event of quick thinking and scrambling out of the way, I won it that night easily - I took the Platinum medal home.
    Fred drops his rod and grabs the gaff, He STARES at me -Thaa STARE somewhere between the U R an effinn Idiot and I cant believe That happened..with some humor mixed in.
    As i shook myself off slimy,scraped wet,bloody and bruised...I asked "are you ok? do you got this?" he snorted than just grinned . I took my leave battered ,humiliated,slimy and bruised.
    And that is the only time I met Fred Oakley while he was fishing
    Are you sure it was a mako? I fished that spot dozens of times with Fred and we caught a lot of soupfin there, which also have some good dentures.
     
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    GClev

    Newbie for Life
    Nov 21, 2015
    355
    627
    LA County
    Name
    Gary C
    Boat Name
    HMS Hotspur
    The beach along that stretch of Malibu? is notorious for odd catches, black sea bass, an occasional thresher, a GWS now and then. Great parking and you can damn near fish off the tailgate when the kelp allows it. In June and July usually, but it depends on everything like temps and currents, juvenile white sharks are known to cruise the beaches, especially there.

    Like Russ said, "Mako my day." The odd part is Fred fishing a steel leader. We all preferred 250-300# mono. I could tell when Fred had fished a beach ahead of me. He left a lot of litter and old leaders on the ground and I could tell who did it by his knots.

    What a great freakin story. That's one unforgettable fishing memory. One of the best Oakley stories ever!
     
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    sickcat

    Silverback
  • Aug 5, 2003
    4,424
    2,944
    66
    LA
    Name
    Kerry
    Boat Name
    Yellow spot
    I never fished with him but i knew about him. One night I almost got my legs chomped on by a Mako he caught.
    I was supposed to go to a bar/club ( the Oar house )with my friends one night and was dressed appropiately. There was Fred night fishing @ Gladstones for sharks. I saw him hooked up and asked what do you catch over here? Shark was his reply. I asked do you need any help? a gruff NO was his reply.
    I went back to the pay phone to see where my flaky friends were and he was still fighting it. I came back and he was still fighting it 15 mins. later. I go back and try to call some more friends to see if we were still going out. Every 1 was occupied, so the night was a wash.
    I go back down the road a bit and ask him if he needed help 1 more time, suprisingly he said yes. Now keep in mind these factors -

    #1 the tackle he was using was a 10'+ rod that might have been a little softer than a cue stick,with a huge senator type reel. I would later find out he was using a#250 wire leader with a whole frozen big mackerel flylined. taht should have been clue no. 1
    #2 it's a dark moonless night with myself dressed in club/bar type clothes, especially slick no grip dress shoes.
    #3 I being the young know it all ASSumed he just had a Bat Ray...this was the late 80's and flylining Makos off the beach wasn't a well known technique at the time.
    #4 I offered to gaff it and ASSumed it would be easy. He didn't ask for my gaffing credentials and I didn't offer him the reality of having no experience at all. I mean how hard could it be?

    So he told me where the gaff was ,I grabbed it and proceeded to walk down an asphalt type landing/road which almost reached the water and the surf. I m young and full of myself and assume i will be gaffing a Bat Ray or a Leopard shark at most.
    So he tells me it's close - and I keep asking where is it? there are no lights and it 's dark with a 2' swell crashing into the so called beach which is composed of mostly trash can sized rocks and smaller mixed in.
    I'm looking and looking assuming its a Bat Ray and cant see S#iT. He yells " it's right there " I'm like where? in my head. A wave crashes on shore and there it is. It's a 7'+ Mako ,the 1st 1 I have ever seen in my life. It's less than 3 feet from me and it suddenly becomes a little red riding hood moment.
    What's a little red riding hood moment you ask? well my 1st thought was - my what big teeth you have , my second thought was "i think it's pisssed off". I could tell by the way it kept chomping it's jaws over and over again. My 3rd thought was i could easily fit in that mouth- whole. My 4th thought was it's only 3 feet away. My 5th is this is a real life Sea monster and it's going to eat me. 6th is gaff the effer to defend myself and I did.
    Now telling this took about 50 times longer than the actual events happening. I processed all these thoughts within a second easy and that's with about 20 extra curse words added into the thought process. ...... Oh and it gets better....
    So do you know what happens when a PISSEd Off 7'+Mako ,with a hook in its mouth flailing 1/2 in and half out of the water on rocks Aaaaand now with a gaff in its nose does? Weeellll let me be the 1st to tell ya. It goes ballistic, It goes Ape S#!T It starts to roll,it chomps its teeth even quicker and it proceeds to shake my hand off the gaff. And as if God or the Devil or Poseiden or whoever wasn't having a great enough time falling off their chair in laughter at my misfortune. My dress shoes lose there grip by probably hitting that slimy brown algae film. So there goes my feet from underneath me ,I'm sliding towards those chomping jaws that seem 4' high. I say a micro second Oh S#!T in my head and think about losing my legs.
    Now if there was ever to be an Olympic event of quick thinking and scrambling out of the way, I won it that night easily - I took the Platinum medal home.
    Fred drops his rod and grabs the gaff, He STARES at me -Thaa STARE somewhere between the U R an effinn Idiot and I cant believe That happened..with some humor mixed in.
    As i shook myself off slimy,scraped wet,bloody and bruised...I asked "are you ok? do you got this?" he snorted than just grinned . I took my leave battered ,humiliated,slimy and bruised.
    And that is the only time I met Fred Oakley while he was fishing

    Great story!

    I am a little skeptical though - wearing dress shoes heading to the Oar House??! J/K!! LOL
     
    Upvote 0

    Amberdillaha

    Newbie
    Dec 31, 2022
    3
    10
    43
    Hermosa Beach
    Name
    Amber Dillaha
    I had the chance to fish off and on with John maybe 20 times. He was one hell of a surf fisherman. He's the only guy I know who also fished in the main tank at Marineland of the Pacific. He had a 400# grouper on when they arrested him.

    Here's some of the gear, the spots, and the results. I almost never carried a camera, so photos from my best days of surf fishing are rare. These pics are far better than any story I can tell. Best day - 11 Leopards and a Thresher from the beach, Malibu. Biggest fish on the beach ~ 350# GWS, LAX. Biggest fish that I just couldn't get to the beach had to be the 40' Gray Whale that I snagged at El Porto. Cow and calf were swimming right next to the beach and I couldn't get out of the way. Rarest catches were the Six Gill and Seven Gill, both at Will Rogers SB. One night a school of Pinbacks came in close to the beach at Redondo and John and I caught more than 70. Some great memories all lumped together. I was young and obsessed. Check out the gear.


    Surf1.jpg

    Surf2.jpg

    Surf3.jpg

    Surf4.jpg


    I always carried a commercial license at the beach. He and I both sold everything edible to SM Seafoods for pennies. John dug sandcrabs for Wylie's B&T for many years and that's where we met, a chance encounter at the best sandcrab hole I've ever seen anywhere. John filled a 5 gal bucket in about 15 minutes in that infamous spot. I filled my little waist creel.

    It took 45 minutes to land the Black Seabass at Gladstone's. It spooled me to the knot twice. I expected a big shark, not a bass. It was high noon on a Sunday and there were more than a hundred people watching by the time I caught this fish. This photo was taken by a German tourist who sent several to me six months later. The fish was released. The owner of the the restaurant gave me three tokens for drinks at the bar and I stumbled out three Mai Tais later.

    Without a photo I guess it never really happened, right? I carried a gaff on the beach. Someone stole it out of the back of the truck along with 3 coolers one crappy day near LAX. If you ever see another white rod like the one in the top photo, a converted outrigger, it's stolen too. I loved that rod. Some Sumbitch grabbed it when I wasn't looking and ran off the Manhattan Pier with it. I was concentrating on fishing mackerel for bait. I still want it back. I still have its twin for proof, rods with the same DNA.

    Best question - one that I heard over and over, "Did you catch that here?" With 2 or 3 sharks at your feet, how would you answer that?
    This is Amber Dillaha, John Dillaha’s daughter. I want to start off by saying thank you so much for sharing that wonderful story about my father, may I ask what is your name? The story about marine land is correct. Other than my dad did not get arrested for it he escaped the security. Only certain few know that story.

    My father was one hell of a fisherman, he practically lived at the beach. He worked for Red’s bait and tackle up until Red passed away. He also work for Wileys for more than 40 years. Some of my best memories are fishing with my dad, and helping him get sand crabs for Wiley’s and reds bait and tackle.

    One of my fathers, best accomplishments was catching a 35 pound striped bass in Oxnard. It was a California record at the time. I still have the stuffed bass. He also caught a 285 pound stingray up at sunset Gladstones.

    My fathers passion was fishing, he loved it up until the day he died, I miss him greatly and truly appreciate any memory and or story about him.

    Thank you so very much.

    image.jpg


    image.jpg
     
    Last edited:
    Upvote 0

    Amberdillaha

    Newbie
    Dec 31, 2022
    3
    10
    43
    Hermosa Beach
    Name
    Amber Dillaha
    I had the chance to fish off and on with John maybe 20 times. He was one hell of a surf fisherman. He's the only guy I know who also fished in the main tank at Marineland of the Pacific. He had a 400# grouper on when they arrested him.

    Here's some of the gear, the spots, and the results. I almost never carried a camera, so photos from my best days of surf fishing are rare. These pics are far better than any story I can tell. Best day - 11 Leopards and a Thresher from the beach, Malibu. Biggest fish on the beach ~ 350# GWS, LAX. Biggest fish that I just couldn't get to the beach had to be the 40' Gray Whale that I snagged at El Porto. Cow and calf were swimming right next to the beach and I couldn't get out of the way. Rarest catches were the Six Gill and Seven Gill, both at Will Rogers SB. One night a school of Pinbacks came in close to the beach at Redondo and John and I caught more than 70. Some great memories all lumped together. I was young and obsessed. Check out the gear.


    Surf1.jpg

    Surf2.jpg

    Surf3.jpg

    Surf4.jpg


    I always carried a commercial license at the beach. He and I both sold everything edible to SM Seafoods for pennies. John dug sandcrabs for Wylie's B&T for many years and that's where we met, a chance encounter at the best sandcrab hole I've ever seen anywhere. John filled a 5 gal bucket in about 15 minutes in that infamous spot. I filled my little waist creel.

    It took 45 minutes to land the Black Seabass at Gladstone's. It spooled me to the knot twice. I expected a big shark, not a bass. It was high noon on a Sunday and there were more than a hundred people watching by the time I caught this fish. This photo was taken by a German tourist who sent several to me six months later. The fish was released. The owner of the the restaurant gave me three tokens for drinks at the bar and I stumbled out three Mai Tais later.

    Without a photo I guess it never really happened, right? I carried a gaff on the beach. Someone stole it out of the back of the truck along with 3 coolers one crappy day near LAX. If you ever see another white rod like the one in the top photo, a converted outrigger, it's stolen too. I loved that rod. Some Sumbitch grabbed it when I wasn't looking and ran off the Manhattan Pier with it. I was concentrating on fishing mackerel for bait. I still want it back. I still have its twin for proof, rods with the same DNA.

    Best question - one that I heard over and over, "Did you catch that here?" With 2 or 3 sharks at your feet, how would you answer that?
    This is Amber Dillaha, John Dillaha’s daughter. I want to start off by saying thank you so much for sharing that wonderful story about my father, may I ask what is your name? The story about marine land is correct. Other than my dad did not get arrested for it he escaped the security. Only certain few know that story.

    My father was one hell of a fisherman, he practically lived at the beach. He worked for Red’s bait and tackle up until Red passed away. He also work for Wileys for more than 40 years. Some of my best memories are fishing with my dad, and helping him get sand crabs for Wiley’s and reds bait and tackle.

    One of my fathers, best accomplishments was catching a 35 pound striped bass in Oxnard. It was a California record at the time. I still have the stuffed bass. He also caught a 285 pound stingray up at sunset Gladstones.

    My fathers passion was fishing, he loved it up until the day he died, I miss him greatly and truly appreciate any memory and or story about him.

    Thank you so very much.

    View attachment 1451736

    View attachment 1451737
     
    Upvote 0

    Chinomalo

    Newbie
    Apr 30, 2022
    17
    12
    55
    Los Angeles
    Name
    Dee
    Boat Name
    None
    I never fished with him but i knew about him. One night I almost got my legs chomped on by a Mako he caught.
    I was supposed to go to a bar/club ( the Oar house )with my friends one night and was dressed appropiately. There was Fred night fishing @ Gladstones for sharks. I saw him hooked up and asked what do you catch over here? Shark was his reply. I asked do you need any help? a gruff NO was his reply.
    I went back to the pay phone to see where my flaky friends were and he was still fighting it. I came back and he was still fighting it 15 mins. later. I go back and try to call some more friends to see if we were still going out. Every 1 was occupied, so the night was a wash.
    I go back down the road a bit and ask him if he needed help 1 more time, suprisingly he said yes. Now keep in mind these factors -

    #1 the tackle he was using was a 10'+ rod that might have been a little softer than a cue stick,with a huge senator type reel. I would later find out he was using a#250 wire leader with a whole frozen big mackerel flylined. taht should have been clue no. 1
    #2 it's a dark moonless night with myself dressed in club/bar type clothes, especially slick no grip dress shoes.
    #3 I being the young know it all ASSumed he just had a Bat Ray...this was the late 80's and flylining Makos off the beach wasn't a well known technique at the time.
    #4 I offered to gaff it and ASSumed it would be easy. He didn't ask for my gaffing credentials and I didn't offer him the reality of having no experience at all. I mean how hard could it be?

    So he told me where the gaff was ,I grabbed it and proceeded to walk down an asphalt type landing/road which almost reached the water and the surf. I m young and full of myself and assume i will be gaffing a Bat Ray or a Leopard shark at most.
    So he tells me it's close - and I keep asking where is it? there are no lights and it 's dark with a 2' swell crashing into the so called beach which is composed of mostly trash can sized rocks and smaller mixed in.
    I'm looking and looking assuming its a Bat Ray and cant see S#iT. He yells " it's right there " I'm like where? in my head. A wave crashes on shore and there it is. It's a 7'+ Mako ,the 1st 1 I have ever seen in my life. It's less than 3 feet from me and it suddenly becomes a little red riding hood moment.
    What's a little red riding hood moment you ask? well my 1st thought was - my what big teeth you have , my second thought was "i think it's pisssed off". I could tell by the way it kept chomping it's jaws over and over again. My 3rd thought was i could easily fit in that mouth- whole. My 4th thought was it's only 3 feet away. My 5th is this is a real life Sea monster and it's going to eat me. 6th is gaff the effer to defend myself and I did.
    Now telling this took about 50 times longer than the actual events happening. I processed all these thoughts within a second easy and that's with about 20 extra curse words added into the thought process. ...... Oh and it gets better....
    So do you know what happens when a PISSEd Off 7'+Mako ,with a hook in its mouth flailing 1/2 in and half out of the water on rocks Aaaaand now with a gaff in its nose does? Weeellll let me be the 1st to tell ya. It goes ballistic, It goes Ape S#!T It starts to roll,it chomps its teeth even quicker and it proceeds to shake my hand off the gaff. And as if God or the Devil or Poseiden or whoever wasn't having a great enough time falling off their chair in laughter at my misfortune. My dress shoes lose there grip by probably hitting that slimy brown algae film. So there goes my feet from underneath me ,I'm sliding towards those chomping jaws that seem 4' high. I say a micro second Oh S#!T in my head and think about losing my legs.
    Now if there was ever to be an Olympic event of quick thinking and scrambling out of the way, I won it that night easily - I took the Platinum medal home.
    Fred drops his rod and grabs the gaff, He STARES at me -Thaa STARE somewhere between the U R an effinn Idiot and I cant believe That happened..with some humor mixed in.
    As i shook myself off slimy,scraped wet,bloody and bruised...I asked "are you ok? do you got this?" he snorted than just grinned . I took my leave battered ,humiliated,slimy and bruised.
    And that is the only time I met Fred Oakley while he was fishing
    Great story and you board name cracks me up. Kichigai = crazy in Japanese. Lol
     
    Upvote 0

    GClev

    Newbie for Life
    Nov 21, 2015
    355
    627
    LA County
    Name
    Gary C
    Boat Name
    HMS Hotspur
    Amazing! Great to hear from you, Amber! And thanks for the pictures of John. Happy New Year! What a great way to start 2023.
     
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