View Full Version : A good fight on light tackle!

Bob Cleek
02-09-2008, 02:00 PM
Fishing sturgeon from kayaks really takes sport fishing to a new level.


Fish wrap: Monster sturgeon tows kayaker across bay
Nels Johnson, Marin Independent Journal angling beat reporter.
Article Launched: 02/07/2008 06:36:07 PM PST

Brent Barnes of Woodacre paused for a photo of the 100-pound-plus sturgeon he hooked near China Camp before releasing the fish. (Photo provided by Rob Chew)BRENT BARNES of Woodacre says there's nothing quite like hooking a big sturgeon while fishing from a kayak off San Rafael.
A fish weighing more than 100 pounds towed the 38-year-old Presidio firefighter for 90 minutes the other day, cutting a zig-zag pattern along the bay as it zipped along at about 3 knots at times. The sturgeon pulled the kayak from China Camp toward the Pumphouse and back, at one point turning abruptly, just missing a dredge barge stationed offshore.

"I thought about that book, 'The Old Man and the Sea,'" Barnes said of the spectacle, noting his rod was bent to the bay as his kayak trailed the fish . "I didn't think I've ever get it near the boat."

He was almost spooled after hooking up near the duck blinds beyond China Camp. The sturgeon took off, surging toward deeper water in a long, breathtaking run, emptying the reel as line melted away. Barnes' eyes widened as the knot tying the line to the spool popped into view.

After what seemed like an eternity, and with no line to spare, he was able to untether his kayak, chase the fish and gain some ground.

Finally, after a pitched, seesaw battle across the bay, the fish neared the boat, but "as soon as he saw the kayak, he took off again" with a final burst of energy. Minutes later, the big creature was spent. Barnes was able to lasso it and work it partially aboard, draping it over the kayak. "I never could get it completely out of the water," he said. "It was too big, definitely over 100 pounds, and seven feet" long.

Rob Chew, a buddy fishing in another kayak, snapped a photo and the fish was released.

Barnes said he was not aware that a sturgeon obviously outside the legal 46- to 66-inch slot limit should be released at the side of the boat. The weight of a big fish can damage its internal organs when it's removed from the water.

Marty Gingras, supervising biologist for the Department of Fish and Game, said that while "taking an oversize sturgeon out of the water for a photo is not illegal in and of itself," wardens can issue citations based on the circumstances.

"Current regulations in California require immediate release of oversize and undersized fish and prohibit (their) possession," Gingras noted.

Run into a warden having a bad day who thinks that the sturgeon on deck represents an "unlawful taking of fish," a deputy district attorney with nothing else to do, and a cranky judge, and that photo could cost you $540 in Marin Superior Court.

- Allen and Patrick Leepin of Cotati, members of the Northern California Kayak Anglers, also had luck with sturgeon the other day, hooking four roughly a half mile off China Camp in back-to-back trips. They cranked three fish to their kayaks without having to release an anchor, but one 56-incher towed Patrick more than a half mile before it was decked.

02-09-2008, 02:34 PM
Lordy, that looks like a handful! LOL

I'm pretty sure the biggest freshwater sturgeon ever caught in Michigan was pulled from the lake where we had a cottage. I wanna say 700 some pounds.

They were fished in the winter, with chum through a hole in the ice, then speared. Circa 1960. The pics are impressive, the fish longer than the men were tall.

Wonder how the sturgeon population is doing in that lake. Probably not well. The zebra mussels have moved in and taken over the shallows where the clams and crayfish and leaches and turtles used to hang out. The whole bloody lake is built up, unlike when that big fish was caught. It was probably 120 years old, they live a long time.

Tar Devil
02-09-2008, 03:31 PM
I don't know how you could ever put enough pressure from a kayak on a sturgeon that size to land it. Obviously, he did! :)

02-09-2008, 03:46 PM
I don't know how you could ever put enough pressure from a kayak on a sturgeon that size to land it. Obviously, he did! :)
There's a fella here in Florida that does it with billfish. Marlin, Sails etc.

Tar Devil
02-09-2008, 04:02 PM
Does he use a drift anchor?

Phillip Allen
02-09-2008, 04:11 PM
looks like jug fishing where the fisherman is the jug

02-09-2008, 04:56 PM
Does he use a drift anchor?


This is not the Florida guide I was talking about but I found this one while doing a search.
Geez...talk about dangerous. I keep expecting the fish to take flight and run one of the kayakers through.

Bob Adams
02-09-2008, 05:03 PM
There has been some threads on alternative propulsion lately, but here's the answer! Just harness up one of those suckers!

02-09-2008, 05:13 PM
I guess this type of fishing is the contemporary equivalent of the "Nantucket Sleigh Ride":D

One fellow in the fishing club uses a kayak that has the Hobi Mirage propulsion system. This is a foot-powered contraption, leaving his hands free to manage the rod and tackle. He mentioned that even large striped bass and bluefish will pull him around.

02-09-2008, 05:28 PM
I guess this type of fishing is the contemporary equivalent of the "Nantucket Sleigh Ride":D

One fellow in the fishing club uses a kayak that has the Hobi Mirage propulsion system. This is a foot-powered contraption, leaving his hands free to manage the rod and tackle. He mentioned that even large striped bass and bluefish will pull him around.

I see a few of those mirage drives out and about and they really move.

Tar Devil
02-09-2008, 06:18 PM
This has to been extremely hard on the fish. I wonder what the post-release mortality rate is on fish caught this way?

Domesticated_Mr. Know It All
02-09-2008, 07:39 PM
Sturgeon's are interesting fish.
Once common to my local waters they are rare now.
Had one scare the crap out of me when I was a kid.
They're huge!!!

A good read on this page.....


Bob Cleek
02-09-2008, 10:07 PM
Pretty hard to hurt a sturgeon. Watched some buddies kill and clean one down at the YC last week. It was still alive and it's mouth was sucking after they'd decapitated the bugger. It was just under the 66" or so that is the limit. I think the limit this year is something like between 44" and 66". Under or over and you have to release them. Incredibly good eating, too! Smoked is the best. No bones. All meat. Just a cartilage backbone you yank out whole when you're cleaning them. They almost aren't fish. Something prehistoric. The meat resembles good veal. If you land a female full of roe, you've really hit the jackpot! Caviar! BUT... sport only. Fish and Game are really watchful. Take an illegal sturgeon or get caught selling one and you're dead meat.

02-10-2008, 09:32 AM
They are, if I remember my comparative anatomy correctly, considered "primitive." Meaning nothing disparaging, just that they've been around a long time. On the spectrum of fish, from cartilaginous to bony, they and the shark are down on the cartilaginous end of the scale. They've thrived for millions of years, been a success in Darwinian terms.

Never seen one in person, but one can imagine them, and the sharks, and the crocodillians hanging with the dinos. Been around that long.

From what I've read they are hard pressed, in both freshwater and salt. Loss of habitat to development, I guess. And over fishing in Europe, where their eggs form the basis for much of our caviar.

As a kid, swimming that lake, knowing they were down there, always gave a bit of a chill. BIG FISH! Cue the music from 'Jaws' LOL.

Gary E
02-11-2008, 11:30 AM
Last Updated: Sunday, February 10, 2008 6:46 PM CST

Sturgeon spearers get more than 1,100 fish on opening weekend

OSHKOSH, Wis. - Sturgeon spearers harvested more than 1,100 fish from Lake Winnebago and other lakes on opening weekend, and set a record Saturday for the largest number of fish more than 150 pounds registered in decades.

In all, 888 fish were harvested on Lake Winnebago over the weekend and another 215 were taken from the upriver lakes of Poygan, Butte des Morts and Winneconne.

Of those caught Saturday, three weighed more than 160 pounds. The opening day, which marked the start of Wisconsin's 75th regulated sturgeon spearing season, netted the largest number of fish weighing more than 150 pounds in the past 60 years.

Ron Bruch, a sturgeon biologist with the state's DNR said in some areas spearers reported seeing a clear lake bottom in 16 feet of water.

"Spearers enjoyed ideal conditions with very clear water and good weather," Bruch said.

Bruch on Sunday tallied nine fish over 100 pounds, including a male that weighed 104 pounds. It was first male lake sturgeon in the harvest to exceed the 100-pound mark since the department began mandatory registration of all harvested fish in 1956, the DNR said.

There were 3,171 shanties around Lake Winnebago and 512 shanties at the other locations, making Saturday's opening day the largest since 2004.

The largest fish caught Saturday weighed in at 162.5 pounds and was more than 6 1/2 feet long. It was speared on Lake Winnebago by Matt Johannes of Berlin. On Sunday, Tom Birschbach of Fond du Lac speared a 155-pound, 76-inch female.

The number of fish caught was not enough to end the season in a single weekend, so spearing was set to continue Monday.

Based on good ice conditions and clear water, Bruch said conditions are right for a short season.

The season length on is limited to tight caps placed on the harvest of adult females, males and juvenile males on Lake Winnebago, the upriver lakes or Winnebago and the upriver lakes as a system.

Once the caps are met on one or more groups, the season closes the next day.

Spearers are allowed to harvest one sturgeon per year. The minimum length of a harvested sturgeon is 36 inches.

The season is scheduled to run through Feb. 24 unless spearers reach the preset harvest caps.

At a check-in station on Saturday, authorities from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were taking blood samples from the sturgeon to check for viruses or diseases, including viral hemorrhagic septicemia, better known as VHS.

The virus has yet to be found in the sturgeon.

Information from: Oshkosh Northwestern,

http://www.rhinelanderdailynews.com/articles/2008/02/09/ap-state-wi/d8unpiag1.txt (http://www.rhinelanderdailynews.com/articles/2008/02/09/ap-state-wi/d8unpiag1.txt)