If 2012 was the year of the dorado (aka mahi mahi) in Southern California, one could make an argument that 2013 was the year of the opah. The opah is a very rare catch. Before last year, I only knew of one person who had caught one. Last year, I can think of at least four. While not a lot of fish, one in a dozen years vs. four in one year is a pretty dramatic change.
The fish is usually caught 50–100 miles offshore and often it will happen purely by accident. A sports boat will stop on troll-caught fish… tuna, yellowtail, dorado, the deckhand will chum live sardines or anchovies and keep the school at the boat. Most everyone is doing the tuna shuffle, flylining a live bait, waiting to get bit. Then one guy off on the other side sinks a jig deep and gets lucky. Recently, a story surfaced out of San Diego that takes ‘lucky’ to a whole new level.
As co-owner of Fisherman’s Landing Tackle, Doug Kern is accustomed to seeing some big fish off-loaded from the many long-range boats that dock there. But when a huge opah decided to beach itself at the landing’s doorstep, that took the award for the most bizarre fish to hit the Fisherman’s Landing dock on Kern’s watch.
Kern wrote this on his Facebook page on Saturday:
“CRAZIEST DAY EVER AT FISHERMAN’S LANDING! A 91 POUND OPAH SWAM UP ON THE BEACH RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE LANDING. OMG.”
Photos: The San Diego Union-Tribune