Landed by: Arne Rovell of Escondido, California

I launched at around 4:45 am so I could make bait at Scripps Pier and then head back across the canyon. I picked up a handful of greenbacks at the pier and paddled back towards the point. Just before sun up I dropped a greenie down on a 3-way swivel with an 8 oz. torpedo and a 2/0 ringed gorilla hook on 40# mono. I didn’t have to wait long before my bait got hit hard. I let it run for a few seconds, set the hook, and I was on for a ride. The SE wind was up and the wind chop was already pretty hectic, so the sideways ride in the choppy slop made it even more fun. The fish made a couple sideways runs and then it was all up and down. I finally got the fish up about 25 minutes later and had a big and chunky YT on deck. I was thinking 30#-35# and was pretty ecstatic at this point. I distributed some bait to a couple other yakkers out there and sent one of my last two greenies out. I started paddling back to “the spot” when my bait took a massive hit. This fish hammered my bait and spun me around taking line at an amazing pace. I finally started getting some line back when the fish decided to head for one of the many lobster buoys out there. Luckily, it didn’t want to sit and circle around the buoy rope, so I was able to clear the rope and continue the sleigh ride. At this point I thought something was wrong with the drag setting on my Shimano TLD 15. Even with the drag buttoned down I couldn’t horse her in. My arms and back were tired from the first fish so I had to break a few times from the tug-of-war. About 20 minutes later I got her to color and was amazed at the size of the fish circling underneath me. With the one fish on my lap it made the gaff a little difficult, but both the fish and I were tired by this point so there wasn’t much of a fuss. I finally got her to gaff and threw her on top of the other fish that lay bleeding on deck. After securing her with my other fish I bled her as well and thought this one could be pushing forty+. With its head hanging over to my left, its tail was hanging in the water much like the 43#er I caught in January – so I was stoked and ready to paddle in.

I was all alone on the beach upon landing – no one to share my prize with and no one to take pictures. When I stuck the tape on the “smaller” one it measured 44 inches from nose to fork. I got pretty excited about then since the other was a tad bigger. I stuck the tape on her and I was shocked to see it top out at just over 52 inches – and fat, too, with a 27 inch girth.

I didn’t bother weighing them on my handheld – I went straight to the bait/tackle shop by my office for an official, certified weight. When I asked if their scale was up and running he said yes, and could I bring the fish into the shop in a bucket – a bucket I said?

The first one hit the scale at a whopping 39 lbs. 14 oz.

The second one floored me ….