San Diego photographer and angler Jarred Davidson and friend Nate Lindsay were on a mission. After seeing yellowtail on bait just outside the breakers in La Jolla and Ocean Beach recently, they decided to walk out on the Mission Bay Jetty on Monday, September 14, with a few swimbaits in hand. Jarred was thinking that they might even catch a yellow from shore as the incoming tide pushed the bait inside. The jetty seemed to be the best spot to have a chance at hooking one of California’s favorite game fish while fishing from terra firma. They were in the zone where they were spotting the fish on previous days: about 50 yards behind the breakers and 50 yards short of the “box” that sits about halfway out on the jetty from the beach.
Mr. Davidson was using an M.C. Swimbait tied to 25-pound test Izorline wound on a Shimano Torium 16 that was mounted to a Phoenix Abyss 808 rod. They were in the “right place, right time,” said Davidson. “I saw them pushing bait into the rocks and I saw 10-20 of them chasing it, but they all were 5-10 pounders”.
Though chances were good and fish were there, he added “I did not expect one of that size to be there. Once it started pulling drag I knew I was in for it.” The fish, in his words, “Took me up and down the jetty twice. I fought it for about 15-20 minutes, and once I saw it at color I nearly shit myself I was so stoked. I forgot to bring a gaff so my friend (Lindsay) jumped in and grabbed it when it got close to the rocks. Once we landed it, I started screaming and put my arm through the gills, walked back to my truck, and went straight to the Marlin Club” to weigh it.
Now the question is: Might this be the largest yellowtail caught from shore in U.S. waters? The largest yellowtail caught from shore in any waters? At an official 45.6 pounds, the fish tied the largest fish caught this year by boat in the 36-day International Yellowtail Derby. That is certainly a remarkable accomplishment in the near-shore San Diego fishery from a vessel. From the rocks it’s a historic catch and, for any angler, truly “epic.” After giving Mr. Davidson big kudos for his catch during the interview, he said: “Thank you. Fishing and photography are my specialty.” It certainly seems so; you can see his photography work at his website: decentexposure619.com.