Black Pearl skipper Ricky Perez was scanning the horizon at Pyramid Cove, San Clemente Island on Saturday morning, keeping a close on the dozen kayakers he had ferried over to the Island the night before. The group, organized by Andy Allen from OEX in Sunset Beach makes monthly mother-ship voyages on the Black Pearl to a variety of Southern California fishing hot spots.
"There's no reason to be out there," thought Perez as he tried in vain to contact the threesome on channel 71 by VHF radio.
"They're not answering," said Perez. "Something is up."
Perez launched the Black Pearl's 10 foot zodiac and headed in the direction of the wayward kayakers. "What's up," cried Perez from a distance. "There is nothing to catch out here."
Perez then noticed Anthony Pinner's rod bent over with something very big on the other end of the line towing him out to sea. "He was on Mr. Toads Wild Ride and there was no getting off," said Perez.
"At first I though I had hooked into a yellowtail the way the fish was bobbing and heading towards the bottom. But then it started heading out towards sea towing me and the kayak with it," said Pinner.
By the force of the creature at the other end of Pinner's line, Perez told the angler he was hooked to one of three things. "You either have a thresher shark, a mako shark a a giant black seabass," said Perez.
Pinner told Perez that he had been towed out to sea for the past 45 minutes and that the beast was showing no signs of slowing up. Perez side-tied to Pinner's kayak and tightened the drag on his reel. Pinner was afraid that Perez was putting to much stain on the fish. "It's going to break," Pinner told Perez.
Then 10 minutes later, a giant shadow emerged from the deep blue sea. Pinner yelled that it was the biggest white seabass he had ever seen. "It's a black seabass; 225-250 pounds," said Perez. Since black seabass are a protected species, Perez worked feverishly to extract the hooked monster.
"Once I got the hook out, it bolted back down towards the bottom and looked no worse for the battle," said Perez.
"I'm just glad the guys were safe," said Perez. "And now, they have a heck of a fish story to tell for the rest of their lives."
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