This is my third weekend in a row with an oversized out of my kayak, but this one dwarfed the previous fish. She was around 7 or 8’ long. I hooked up around 2:20PM. It was a very solid bite, no nibbling around, just vacuumed up my anchovy and started to swim away. From when I tightened the circle hook into place it was clear that this was a big fish. She immediately took off on a pretty blistering run and the battle was on. I fought this fish as hard as I could, more than once I was amazed I did not snap my rod given how hard I was leaning on it. You got to love those tiger stiks! My strategy to land the fish as quickly as possible was to get right over top of her each time she stopped running and try and pull her up. She would respond by taking off on another run. This seemed futile at first, but I think it really helped to land her out quickly. She pulled me back and forth across the river in a generally downstream direction past parks and docks, the fight lasted 35 minutes and I ended up a mile downstream from where I started. As she was pulling me around quite a few boats stopped to see what was going on. At first one boat stopped to watch, then another, then a few kayakers. By the end there was a small armada watching the fight, it was really cool. I thought I had her beat once. I got her to the surface, but she just soaked me with a big splash as she dove all the way back down to the bottom. Once I finally got her whipped, we got a few pics just of her head. Folks wanted to know if I was going to drag her to the shallows to measure her and get some better pics, but I decided it was better to get a just get a few quick pics and then let her go. I was tired, she was tired. So instead I got some help from the guy in the green kayak. While I held her he took my pliers and twisted the hook out. It felt great to watch her slowly swam away. I have to say at that point I am glad I have a pedal kayak, because I am not sure I had the upper body strength left to make it the mile upstream back to my anchor.
When I got back to my buoy I decided that I felt recovered enough to fish a bit more. Man, I am glad I did. The bite turned insane. I was hooking up on every drop within a count of 50 (If I get to 500 I move the bait). This last pic is a fat 45” fish that I decided to end the day on. Overall on the day I caught 13 sturgeon, 9 shakers, 3 keeper sized and the one beast.
Fish tremble when they hear my name
A ship in harbor is safe -- but that is not what ships are built for.
--John A. Shedd, Salt from My Attic, 1928