Housepainter Danny Linville finds the experience of riding the swells offshore from Cambria in his kayak to be a therapeutic, calming activity. And sport fishing is one of his favorite weekend pursuits.
So, there he was this past Saturday, Aug. 10, putting his 14-foot kayak into the water at the Leffingwell boat launch and paddling out to one of his preferred fishing spots about 200 yards offshore between two massive kelp beds.
Linville was using a squid jig with a chunk of squid bait attached to the jig. After a couple hours of catching and releasing several blue rockfish — called “blues” — he felt another fish hit his lure, much like previous “bites.”
But as he was reeling it in, a few seconds went by and suddenly he felt another strike, “A big tug, much bigger than the first,” Linville recalled. He kept reeling until he saw what he had caught — two fish for the price of one — and pulled it up onto the kayak deck.
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A ling cod had attacked and tried to swallow the rockfish, and the two were attached.
“The ling cod’s teeth were biting into the rockfish,” Linville explained. “And the rock fish’s spines were imbedded in the ling cod’s mouth, which kept the little fish from getting away,” Linville explained.
“I said ‘Oh man!’ and grabbed the ling cod’s lips with my retrieval tongs, pulled them into the kayak, and put my legs around the two fish so they couldn’t get away.” He managed to get the small rockfish out of the ling cod’s mouth and he let it swam back into the kelp.
The ling cod was 30 inches long and weighed 10 pounds — plenty of “good eating,” Linville told a reporter.
A Morro Bay resident who paints houses in Cambria, Linville has been kayak fishing offshore from Leffingwell Landing for about two years.
“I have anxiety problems and I take medication for the condition, but when I go out there off Leffingwell, everything just goes away. It’s peaceful. I’m away from vehicles, away from people — and it gives me time to think.
“Out there I reflect on life and how good life is,” Linville said, while on a break from prepping a house for painting on Skye Street. “It’s good for the soul,” he added.
“I actually caught a baby great white shark about four months ago. It was 4 feet long, and once I saw it was a juvenile great white, I just cut the line and let it go. I didn’t really want it up on my kayak.”
And, of course, Linville wasn’t eager to reach into the shark’s jaws with hook-removal gear, given those hideously scary rows of razor-sharp teeth waiting for one awkward angler’s move.