Marin surf

Have not written up any reports lately, although I have been fishing. I retired after 30+ years of employment and immediately began fishing in earnest with time constraints largely removed. As a parting gesture I was gifted a generous gift card with which I purchased a rod and reel combo I would not have purchased but for the gift. For years now I have looked for an ideal surf perching rod, and while not perfect, I believe I bought an ideal combo of a Shimano Stradic and G Loomis 8.5’ steelhead rod rated medium fast.
I have wanted to write up some reports but none seemed especially noteworthy and I chose not to report. I’ve had many happy outings in the surf these past four months, some more productive than others of course, but all enjoyable. Yesterday was no exception. However, it was probably one of my most exhilarating outings in my fishing career of 50 years.
I set out to my go-to Marin beach, arriving about an hour before an estimated 6.5’ mid-day high tide. Surf was manageable in the 2-4’ range. I set up with a 3” pumpkin seed grub with 1oz Carolina rig on 8# line. The water was way up on the beach and I made sure to be aware of my surroundings; I’m old now and need to avoid getting knocked down by an errant wave or worse. I picked up a perch or two as I made my way down the beach, including a couple good sized Red Tails up to 12”. The action picked up as the tide peaked and started the outgoing and I picked up some more big perch, all released. As I made my way to a more sheltered area with some good sized rocks interspersed along the beach, I get a massive strike followed by an immediate sizzling run. At first I thought I had snagged on some bull kelp, but no the sizzling runs continued. At this time I was more than knee deep in the surf trying to keep up with what was at the end of the line, feeling big head shakes and massive weight. I tried desperately to keep it away from some rocks nearshore, luckily the beast was making runs parallel to the shore. I began to worry about my equipment under the amazing stress, but the reel let out a smooth whirl of consistent sound reassuring me the superb drag was doing its job; the rod was no slouch, although doubled to its maximum extent it still felt solid. After a few more rocket-like parallel to the beach runs, I began to, slowly, make some headway. By then I thought I had a good sized bat ray on the line, until I saw the huge spiky dorsal fin of a Striped Bass. I very slowly used the incoming waves to coax the fish closer to shore, and finally out of the water. I was stunned. It was a massive Striped Bass! First things first, I removed the #2 hook, snug in the corner of the mouth. Luckily the fish was exhausted and mostly lay still, which allowed me to try and measure it. I did not have a measuring tape and wanted to get the fish back in the water ASAP, so I used my crude form of measuring with the width of my hand. Laying hand upon hand I got a rough measurement of 38+”. I took a couple of photos, and as I cradled the fish in my arms, I felt its weight, over 20 lbs., and marveled at its girth. At that instant, three bikini-clad teenage girls showed up on a selfie excursion on the adjacent rocks, like nymphs in an ancient tale, and when they saw me cradling the fish back into the water, they let out a collective “Wow!!”. I gently placed the fish in about a foot of water and held it for a while until it slowly but assuredly made its way back into the ocean. I was shaking from the adrenaline and exhausted from the fight. Soon, all I saw was the dorsal fin dip and disappear. I loved and will remember this fish forever, I doubt I will ever encounter another as large or indelible.
I continued fishing and picked up another half-dozen large Red Tails and BSPs up to 14” as the tide went out and eventually, after four hours in the surf I went home elated and wiped out at the same time. What a day to remember! 22CC8786-A3D4-4305-92DD-2E85B2A827A4.jpeg