|One of the most bitter episodes on the Pier Fishing In California message board concerned the catch of a yellowtail at the Balboa Pier that may have been a record for the pier. It concerned a young man (Aaron) who was a pretty good fisherman but also one who had made many enemies while posting several false reports to the site (including the capture of an albacore in Newport Bay). When he finally made a catch-of-a-lifetime from the pier, a 35-pound yellowtail, most people were ready to simply chuck it up as another attempt at a hoax.
Date: November 2, 2003
To: PFIC Message Board
Subject: Balboa Pier 11.01.03 35# yellow
Hey everyone, this is a message from yours truly (Aaron). For the unbelievers, we have witnesses (Snookie's friend), and I personally saw it. So you can take it at face value, or if u don't want to... please don't read the following...
The following are the words of Aaron-I arrived at Balboa Pier at 6:05 am and setup just to the left of the end left corner. There were sardines everywhere and a few small boils here and there, probably just macks. Well my buddy Thomas flylined a small 4-inch sardine on 15-lb line on a Corsair 300a and number 4 BRONZE BAITHOLDER hook and was picked up he yelled out fish on. Well after maybe less than 5 min he told me to take over so for the next 1hr 20min I fought a mystery fish up and down the entire length of Balboa Pier. All the way to the surf and back. Getting the fish to color was all we were worried about. First we were thinking bat ray, then thresher, then wsb when we saw a silver flash, and the about 40 min into the fight right near the surf we saw what we thought was about a 1-5lb yellowtail. Well we saw it that was all that mattered.
The fish took me into the pilings once and I pulled him out using the waves, then it did it again and finally just past the second tee it went around 2x and we could see him swimming and wrapped up, this fish was dead tired by this time I was thinking my 15-lb was gonna break and I knew I had no chance so I handed the rod to Chris, (yep were still fishing together) and manned my landing net. Well I dropped it down and missed once then twice then I dropped it deep saw the yellow come over and I swooped up and got him in the net. The fish was so tired it didn't even flop around in the net it just laid there. I could barley get the thing over the railing. Well we finally did and my 2nd pier caught yellowtail. I caught about a 5-lber three weeks ago amidst all the bonito but didn't find it important enough to post since Randy, Snookie's friend, knows about it so it was true. Well after getting measurements and taking it to the Balboa Market where the butcher weighed it for us my buddy Thomas took it to a taxidermist where he's making a mold today and filleting it up tonight. This was a 35-lb yellowtail and I'm sure the biggest taken ever off a California pier.
I talked to a few guys on the half and 3/4 day boat and while trying to find a place to get a wait like Daveys and Newport Landing the Newport landing captains got on the radio and broadcast to all the other sportboats that a kid just caught a 35-lb yellow off Balboa Pier. After that at about 3 I think Fishy showed up and the bonies ran and run they did. We got 'em on bait jigs; it didn't matter these were bigger 2-3-lb fish. Chris lost about a 4-5-lber on a jig.
Well here's the pix my friend Thomas will either be posting today or tomorrow to help verify. I can't reply to any posts because my bayfisher86 posting privileges were revoked and I don't know why? So Fishy is posting for me. I hope this helps back up everything else too like my 8-foot thresher in May that Snookie knows about and her friend saw so if you have any questions or comments email me at greatchef86@.com
<*))>< "something is FishY here"
[The ensuing days saw verification efforts underway including checking with various knowledgeable anglers and even a trip down to Balboa by PFIC member pierhead to authenticate the catch. Eventually it was determined that the fish had been caught on the pier and that indeed Aaron had caught it although it also turned out that three different people had been involved in the fight. A story in the Orange County Register helped to put an end to the debate although it did not settle the feelings about Aaron.]
Posted by hooked
Congrats man, I was the guy fishing to the left of you guys yesterday with the smokes and all. Unbelievable catch man, truly an amazing event. Probably the first and last time I'll ever here about a 35 lb yellow being pulled up from the pier. Good luck and seriously "Enjoy the publicity!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Posted by corbinaman1
WOW!!!! That is an amazing catch you won't ever forget! Awesome that it didn't hang you up in the pilings in that long of a fight either...some luck as well as angler skill was necessary to land that fish. I bet fish that size and larger were occasionally caught off piers about 50 years ago, but you just may be right about that being the largest yellow off a pier in many, many years. That is a fish to tell your kids and grandkids about...simply awesome!!!
Posted by TheCrw
Classic case of the girl who cried wolf...
Posted by spearo
The yellows are definitely around the piers right now...i was diving off the Scripps Pier on Wednesday in some exceptionally clear vis (35' inshore!) and I looked north while floating mid pier and a small school of 4 or 5 BIG yellowtail(maybe 30lb +) just cruise by...mind you this is in less than 20 feet of water, they were chasing a large school of smelt and sardines...they're out there...just getting them is the problem...
Posted by fabolous
Ya right this pic you could tell has been messed around with like Photoshoped or something like this I cant believe you guys are really thinking this is true.
Posted by bill
To add: Wrong pier for sure that looks like Newport to me also A 35 pound home-guard yellowtail caught on #15 using a corsair? Don't thing so, even with my seeker sd8/slx40hv jig stick that would have been a tough fish to pull in and anywhere near structure that fish would have rocked you!
Posted by snookie
It is Balboa Pier in the background. We got the wood railings year before last. Fifteen pound test line is great for a lot of big fish whether it's P-line or not. The fish is a beauty.
Posted by Ken Jones
I decided to delete that thread until we have had time to check a few things. It's unfortunate, and perhaps unfair to Aaron if he did indeed catch that fish at Balboa, but his past misdeeds (false claims about fish) have been well documented here and cause us to be cautious.
Posted by John Mykkanen
I was tuna fishing yesterday out of Newport landing (3 YFT myself) and spoke with some people local to the area that confirmed seeing the guy walking off the pier with the fish. They swore up and down the fish was caught off the pier. I believe the story even though I have not seen the deleted post. I was wondering if this board had it. Seems to be true. Yellows where biting up at the pipe and all along the coast, so it is not out of the question.
Posted by gordo grande
He was seen walking off the pier with the fish...I'm just wondering if anyone had seen him walking ON to the same pier beforehand.
Posted by kds99
I spoke with some of the regular's at Balboa and he did in fact catch the yellowtail off of the pier.
Posted by TheCrw
Did I say girl? Sorry my bad-didn't mean to make it derogatory in that context, just misquoted the saying. Don't want to be know as a “hater.” But again it's a prime example of the “Boy who cried Wolf - or in this case 35lbs Yellowtail.” For those who haven't been on the board to see the false reports this guy has posted in the past may not understand why some of us can't feel happy for the guy - he basically dug his own grave on this one. There was something else that bothered me in the previous deleted post was that he got 'handed' the rod - now that sounds really FishY! I bet he just got his picture taken w/ the fish. ~Elric aka TheCrw
Posted by mocteuzoma
I would've liked to see the pic, I didn't get a chance to see it. That way I can arrive at my own conclusions. Is there anywhere we can see it? Or is there no chance at all.
Posted by kds99
That is up to Ken; from reading his post, once he has confirmed that this is accurate I think he will repost it. Even if he was banned, and even if he is only trying to brag, I feel that since this is such a rare occurrence that it does belong on this board. Isn't everyone being too picky here?
Posted by Chen the fishermen
So what if he is bragging?? Who wouldn't if they caught a fish like this?? Till you catch a bigger fish then that, say your congrats and move on man.
Posted by pescare
It's not about whether or not he's bragging, it's about whether or not he's lying. He's done it before. Ed
Posted by bill
OK it's wood! Darn state and cheap @zz way of repairing things. Guy said he had a landing net right? Smartest thing you can do it to carry a landing net, many moons ago when they still had the bait/tackle shop on the pier they always had a net you could barrow. A long time ago My cousin caught a #47 halibut off there then turned around and got a #30er + #20, all with in about 2-3 hours. All on #15 Ande (1955 or there abouts).
Posted by Ken Jones
Hope to have some definitive answers later tonight.
Posted by pierhead
In all fairness to Aaron I drove to Balboa this morning to check out his story ... and to catch some bonito. No bonito but his story checks out ... I spoke with several regulars including Odin who says he posts under the name FearnoFish ... they all confirm the details of the original post. Supposedly an older couple who eat at Ruby's (on the pier) every morning have pictures of the fight. It's too bad he damaged his credibility with his previously disputed catch but this one appears to be legit. Congratulations Aaron on the incredible fish and the hour+ long fight to bring it in ... Pierhead
Posted by Red Fish
A couple of things here...
1.) Aaron is an excellent angler.
2.) He has much experience with game fish as evidenced from his many charter boat catches documented on this board before the posting guidelines were so stringent.
3.) If a bluefin could be caught from a SoCal pier, I believe he could do it. (Also, I do believe it was a gag before and he was going to come clean later after the ribbing).
4.) Hey, I believe the yellowtail story (and I'm sure Snookie does too).
5.) A fish like that is going to garner bragging rights off a pier any way it goes.
6.) Lastly, actually Fishy, didn't you in fact catch the fish? Aaron reeled it in. So Aaron DID NOT catch the fish, YOU did!!
Posted by FishY
Red fish. Let me explain. Aaron could not post, so he asked me to post it for him. It was not my rod and reel. I was not even fishing near or him, next to him, or around him. I heard the story and posted the picture for him.
Posted by Red Fish
Thomas caught the fish!! 'Well my buddy Thomas flylined a small 4inch sardine on 15lb line on a corsair 300a and number 4 BRONZE BAITHOLDER hook and was picked up he yelled out and fish on.'
Sorry FishY, I thought your name was Thomas (I forgot your real name).
And, sorry Aaron, no props to you for catching the fish (although, nice assist).
Aaron, I sincerely hope you learn to have some integrity in your adult life (your not such a bad person or angler) but your ego is really superceding your talents. JMHO from an ol' fisherman.
Posted by DOMPFA Ben
Pride and prejudice...It is, perhaps, easier to browbeat this young man for past transgressions than to offer congratulations for current feats of skill, with a copious amount of luck thrown in for good measure.
I know neither the angler that purports to have caught this beast, nor do I know of his past issues with being excommunicated from the Church of Pierfishing.
That said, I proffer that each of us, at one time or another, has offered a fish story, or at least, painted a picture of the truth with liberal strokes of color and embellishment. Unless you are a purist, then it matters little whether or not this fish was caught from the pier, or caught under a paddy 30 miles out, or purchased from a fish wholesale operation. This website provides a valuable service to the onshore and nearshore fishing community. However, in my not-so humble opinion, if reports from this board are the sole source of your fishing desire and destination, then it is you I pity, not this poor kid with a sordid posting-past. I dismiss any argument that it “does a disservice to anglers.” On the contrary, it adds to the great mysteries of the ocean, and maybe, the magic of our sport. In the end, this young man will derive no financial gain from this. He will probably not make a commercial career out of pier-caught yellowtail. His credibility will in no way be restored by posting this catch, especially among those who felt duped the last time around.
But maybe, for the briefest of moments, he stood on a pier in the morning, like so many of us have before, and caught the fish of a lifetime. If it is true, then no one can take that away from him, and I hope that if his story is legitimate, that he will enjoy the experience for what it is: a PERSONAL best.
Furthermore, if a 400 lb. baby white shark can be poached from Hermosa Pier (not a proud moment for pierfishing, btw) then I can certainly believe that a yellowtail was caught from Balboa. If memory serves, the all-time calico bass record fish was caught just a few miles from there off a jetty in Newport.
If the story is complete balderdash, then perhaps a “boys will be boys” approach is most warranted, and we can dismiss the tale like twice-thawed squid. It is in our nature, fellow anglers, to facilitate and forward the most vivid picture of reality. And regarding the braggart aspects of the post, who among us has not posted a report for the sake of pride, even along side a verifiable “informational report?”
In the words of another great fisherman: “Let he who is without sin CAST the first stone.”
In summation, I don't know whether I should offer congratulations or denigration. Karma is what it is, and lightning sometimes strikes twice on the same graphite rod. Allah smiles even on the infidel from time to time. So the only question left is this: Are you going to cut bait, or fish?
Posted by Ken Jones
We're simply checking it out...Several times Aaron posted storied that turned out to be untrue and it caused a considerable amount of dissension on the board. He was banned as a result. If this was a legitimate catch at the pier he will receive considerable praise from all of us but we simply our checking with people that should be able to verify the catch and if it indeed was made on the pier.
Posted by DOMPFA Ben
I am sincerely glad to hear that, Ken et. al...As I said, this website is extremely valuable as an informational resource, and a place to share our experiences. It would be a shame to see it go to H-E-double hockey sticks with fake reports and the like. Other boards that I frequent are experiencing real problems with haters and aggrivators. It is wise and appreciated by many that measures are taken to ensure this kind of problem doesn't go unresolved.
I am fully cognizant, as I said before, that I have not been around long enough to know the whole story with this kid. From what I have gathered, there were false posts and unsportsmanlike fishing activities going on, which I agree, is not to be tolerated.
If anyone feels so inclined, I'd entertain an e-mail explaining what has happened in the past.
My real feeling on it is similar to GG's and others' who stated how unfortunate it is that past transgressions have lead to him not being able to share an alleged lifetime catch with others.
Aesop is rolling over in his grave, I'm sure.
Thanks for keeping the integrity of this website at an A+ level, Ken and others.
Posted by pescare
Well said, but... There's another way to look at it. Most of us don't like being jerked around by a mola mola snagger, who when confronted about misdeeds and mis-truths spouts vulgarities and blames everyone but himself. It's a tired old behavior and if this guy caught Moby Dick on kite string, it wouldn't elicit a yawn from me. Ed
Posted by mel
I agree... Let's all make fools of other people, and tell our friends to lie for us, post fake reports about it, then go out and catch a big fish, and after that, let's all forget about what happened and be friends again. Oh, and don't for get to congratulate me and give me my props.
Posted by gordo grande
I might point out that the dissension caused by the previous hoax, (which is what it was), turned quite vehement and nasty after a while. As I remember, he expressed little or no remorse for wasting every one's time. If this story is indeed true, then young Aaron has indeed learned a good lesson, for the sweetness of this victory is sadly tainted by his untruths of the past. How much more would he be able to savor this moment, if we could share in his happiness without misgivings? What a shame to finally get the catch of a lifetime, and have no one believe you because of your past pranks!
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Last edited by Ken Jones on Sun Jun 01, 2008 1:31 am; edited 1 time in total