San Diego Angler Makes Trophy Catch on a Kayak

Bluefin tuna landed just seven miles off shore

San Diego’s sport fishing industry has been predicting 2015 will be a fantastic year. We’re looking at an El Nino, which means warmer waters for longer periods. Warmer water means more sport fish.

Local angler Chuck Levine is proving that prediction might just be true.

Levine took off from Mission Beach early Saturday morning. The idea was to head slightly northwest to the 9-mile Bank, which is fittingly nine miles off the San Diego coast.

“I didn’t make it as far as I wanted because of the headwinds,” said Levine on Sunday afternoon. “So I decided, as I was working my way out, I’d drag a couple of sardines out there.”

About 9:30 in the morning, just seven miles off shore, Chuck heard that wonderful sound of Spectra line screaming off a reel. After a nice fight, Levine had himself a 30-pound Bluefin tuna.

“I knew they were close,” said Levine. “I knew if I was ever going to get (a Bluefin) on a kayak this would be the time.”

Getting a Bluefin that close to shore is a rare thing. Getting one this time of year, when the water is typically too cold for the species to be up this high, makes it even more amazing (and thrills the sport boats).

Levine grew up in Colorado fishing trout and has been kayak fishing in the Pacific Ocean since 2002. This was the trip of a lifetime.

“No question” said Levine. “One, it was my birthday, so that’s crazy as it is. But two, I’ve caught some really big fish out of La Jolla here. I’ve got a 52-pound yellow(tail), I’ve caught a 68-pound white sea bass, but by far I think everybody’s bucket list is that Bluefin. That is the apex fish of the sea, right?”

The now-46-year-old actually had a chance at a couple more Bluefin but made the fatal error of many anglers; he got greedy. With one already on the line, it was decision time.

“That was my thought; I have one on the boat, I’ve got one I’m getting ready to gaff and then the reel went off with one I thought was bigger so I went with the bigger one and lost them both.”

And what does he plan to do with his prized catch? Break out the cookbooks.

 “We’re going to do a little of everything. We’ve already done some of the sashimi, of course, and we’ll fire up the grill again tonight.”

Levine has also caught a couple of thresher sharks on his kayak, but if there’s anything that might be a bigger thrill than landing the Bluefin it might be bagging a marlin, and that is certainly on Levine’s radar.

“Well, of course! The marlin haven’t showed up yet but where there’s Bluefin the water’s right for sails. Whatever I hear is around and available I’m going to target it.”

And he’ll probably land it.

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