Malibu rampage/Brian's huge luck

The following occurred last Saturday. I was at the CH today and all I managed was three 20# bat rays.

However. . . Last Sat. I arrived at the Malibu Charthouse beach at about dawn. My two regular fishing friends, Henry and Brian, were already set up on the beach and I blasted them with my horn as I drove by and they waved at me up on the road. I pulled into the CH parking lot and grabbed my stuff and scrambled down the rocks and set up between the two guys.

Brian, who did very well last year on large fish, had his Diawa Sealine X 12 footer with a Shimano Baitrunner 6500 strapped on. We were chatting for about a half hour when suddenly the Shimano spool starts to crank up to full speed rpm and the big Daiwa arcs over like a willow in a hurricane. Brian yanks the rig out of the holder and flips on the main drag, but he has a real steamroller at the end of the Power-Pro 30# braid and so he is hanging on for dear life. Henry and I knew that this was serious, so we both pulled in our lines and let Brian have the whole beach.

And he needed it ! The thing at the end of the line first bolted all the way left, until the braid got dangerously close to the jagged rocks, and then swung way around to the right, all the while still traveling at top speed. After Brian managed to take the beast in about 100 yds, it then ran straight out another 150 yds. By this time we all knew it was a monster bat ray, and after a half-hour battle, it was finally landed.

And how big was it? Well, I was left to drag it out of the surf, and I would have to honestly estimate it at about 150 lbs. The thing was positively HUGE, and was the biggest bat that I have seen in the ten years that I have been fishing in this area.

But as if that wasn't enough, a half hour after we released that creature, the Daiwa cranks over again, but this time we all knew by the way the rod was surging that it could be only one thing :


And that's just what it was. Because Brian was using 50# leaders with 9/0 hooks, he was able to beach this baby after only one scorching run. It turned out to by a five foot+, beautiful leopard shark, and it was very wide and flat in the head area, and so this also turned out to be the largest cat shark that I have seen pulled from these waters.

So, what for an encore? How about two, three foot diameter, twenty- five pound spider crabs? Brian was throwing large chunks of frozen mackerel, and that's just what the beasties wanted. He landed these two frightening sea monsters within the next hour after releasing the shark, thinking both times that the crabs were large lumps of seaweed right up until they were yanked out of the suds and into view.

Brian had to leave at around 11 am that morning, so he gave it one last shot. This time, he hooked up with a shark so damned big, that blitzed out so fast, that he was only able to hang on to it for about ten or fifteen seconds. When he pulled in his broken leader, it was clearly seen to be frayed where it rubbed up against the file-like skin of the shark, and was instantly snapped. By now, Brian was so pumped on adrenalin that he nervously rigged up a huge wire leader and heaved another giant hunk of frozen mackerel out, but he soon realized that it was time to go and had to haul in after only another fifteen minutes or so, with no further berserker fish activity.

Altogether, I would estimate that within the space of about two hours, he pulled in close to 250 lbs. of primo, table-quality fish, although all were returned to the sea.

And all the while, Henry and I stood by the whole time and got not one single bite.

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