Started trying to hunt Striped Bass in the surf out here in California when it became legal in 2013 to do so…
2013, 2014 and 2015 went by without having any success…saw a few here and there but nothing big and no good chance at a shot…
Starting in May of this year I started having a little more luck, and got five over the course of a month between approx. 20 and 25 inches. Of course these smaller fish fit great in my Orion 85.
While these fish were tasty and fun to hunt, they were still not really the size I was looking for, and hadn’t gotten any killshots on film so I kept trying…
Big swells in late June gave me a few skunks and a few aborted missions, but I knew it was only a matter of time until I would get another chance…
On July 3rd I headed down to a local beach at first light, and jumped in and swam out through the surf.
It was calm enough that I was able to get in close to shore and still see in between sets.
Didn’t see any fish for the first few hours, then I saw a school of nice sized ones at my 4 o’clock but they spooked and vanished as soon as I swung the gun around.
Half an hour later I saw a BIG fish come under me…it turned and started to swim off into the haze and I fired my Pathos OpenPro Laser 75cm Speargun and my reel line took off.
Wasn’t sure how great the shot was so I let it run….it ran for what seemed like forever, and I started gently hand over handing up the reel line.
When I got to the bungie between the reel line and the shooting line I still couldn’t see the fish, but I could feel it thrashing and it was pulling me through the water.
I pulled up a little more and saw the beast and could see that the shot looked solid right in her back, so I pulled in the last few feet and got my legs around her and my hand in her throat, and knew she was mine.
Ripped her gills and let the blood flow out while admiring how beautiful she was before swimming back into shore.
The walk back down the beach and to the car was hard with the heavy fish, but it felt great to walk past some surf casters and see them admire the fish.
The Striper taped out to a solid 43 inches, and weighed 28 pounds.
Took me a little work to get the Orion 85 to close with the big fish in it, but with a little rearranging I was able to get it closed with just a tiny bit of the tail sticking out, and it stayed plenty cold all day until I had time to filet her up.
Back at home, the fish was longer than my 5 year old daughter Jayme!
We gorged on the delicious meat that night and we fed fifteen people and still had leftover meat!
The next day I did a little surgery on the head, and was able to remove the beautiful otoliths (earstones)
This Striper is the longest fish that I have ever shot (previous was a 41.25 inch Halibut in 2014), and am super stoked on finally getting a Striper in the surf on film.
Thank you Orion Coolers for keeping my fish cold and safe, and thanks for looking!