Holiday fish story

I thought I might submit this as it’s something of local interest. My name is David Coons and I recently went fishing with my good friend, Mark Baldi. I’m a resident of Manhattan Beach and I drove to Mark’s house in Malibu to fish from a kayak in the ocean. We intended to catch some calico bass, sand bass, white sea bass or halibut, but what ended up happening is we hooked up with four thresher sharks that far exceeded the capabilities of our tackle.

We were using medium action rods with 15 lb. test line. When the sharks hit our bait, it was like hooking a passing car going 50 mph. The four hook-ups we had in the hour we were out there all spooled our reels before breaking the line. The hook-ups were spectacular as the fish, that all appeared to be over 100 lbs., jumped out of the water after being hooked. Well, needless to say, we became obsessed with the idea of landing one of these huge sharks the next time we went out.

With the spirit of Captain Ahab, we went and bought a heavy duty rod and Penn Reel with 80 lb. test line and a 10-foot steel leader with a huge hook that would hold a whole squid. Three days later we ventured out. After Mark immediately caught an 8 lb. sand shark and a 10 lb. guitar fish, I finally got the heavier rod set up and dropped the bait in the water. Three minutes later the shark ran into my offering.

With the rod nearly jerked out of my hands, I reared back and set the hook sending the shark into a series of jumps. It was at this point we realized we weren’t going to be able to get this fish near the boat, as their tail can be deadly when whipped around, not to mention, if gaffed, we couldn’t even get it in the boat. So Mark started paddling back to shore which was 3/4 of a mile off.

I was straddling the back of the boat with this fish, testing every bit of strength in my equipment and forearms, not to mention the leisurely paddle Mark had before him as we dragged this anchor. After an hour, we finally reached the beach where I abandoned the kayak in chest deep water as a wave hit us, upending the kayak and swamping Mark and all our equipment. After faltering up to dry land, I was able to pull the tired fish to shallow water. Mark roped its tail and we dragged it up the beach.

To celebrate the conquest, we treated our friends to a 4th of July barbecue where we fed the village like the true sportsman and provider that we are.

It was the fishing thrill of our lives. It was definitely a job for two people and Mark and I still can’t go a day without talking about it. We caught it on July 3. It weighed in at about 120 lbs.

David Coons and Mark Baldi

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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