Hooked a freight train at Oyster Point

Ken Jones

Staff member
Date: March 24, 2000
To: PFIC Message Board
From: Matt
Subject: Hooked a freight train at Oyster Point

Went fishing at Oyster Point for the evening. Was there for a few hours without a hit at all, and all of the sudden, a fish hit and started peeling line off faster than I've ever seen before. I grabbed my rod and I instantly felt the power of the fish. I have a 10-ft Ugly Stick filled with 350 yards of 45 lb. Spiderwire Fusion, and the fish tore 310 yards in 15 seconds. There was nothing I could do but hold on and finally, I had about 10 yards of line left and it snapped cleanly. Everyone and myself estimate this to be a HUGE sturgeon, because normal rays fight differently and don't take line as fast as this one did. Anyone have you any suggestions to how I could better prepare for this, so I don't lose another sturgeon since I haven't even got one yet?

Posted by Songslinger

Wow, a monster! Could well be a sturgeon; I've had them go off suddenly like that without so much as a twitch of the rod tip beforehand. Also possible is a big shark. There have been some huge 7-gill in the Bay recently, up to 90 pounds. Don't know about you, but I think it's kind of cool when I get spooled by a big guy. Sure beats no action at all!
How was your drag set? Too loose and you let out too much line right away and give the fish a head start and momentum that is hard to halt. Too tight and the line snaps. The idea is too tire out the fish, make him work when he's pulling out your line, and get him to turn your way. Basic stuff, but it's always good to review.
And some times there just isn't much a shoreliner can do. I don't know whether there was anything you did that was “wrong” in this case, Matt. There is certainly nothing wrong with your gear. You have sufficient resources to fight a large fish. It was a tough break. Fish happens...

Posted by Ken Jones

I've seen you fish and heard enough of your reports to feel that you are, by now, a pretty proficient fisherman. Unfortunately there are times when you can lose them even when you've followed the 7 p's. Chalk it up to experience and hope you get another chance at the big ‘un. By the way, it's always kind of interesting to wonder what the big one was when it gets away. Was it a leviathan-like sturgeon weighing several hundred pounds (recently one was caught in the Delta); was it a giant 7-gill shark (or even a 6-gill); maybe a baby gray that has wandered into the wrong part of the bay; or perhaps a naval submarine out on a secret inner-bay maneuver? We'll never know.