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Kingfish dishes out 105 stitches!

April 25, 2007

You want fishing excitement? Sure, you get the quick adrenaline rush when a bigmouth hits and jumps the first time, but heck, a big catfish can give you some scary moments dodging its barbs while you wrestle the thing. For real over-the-top moments though, you need to go to the ocean.

A couple seasons back it was the year of the barracuda. I don’t know how many reports I got about hooked or non-hooked ‘cuda catapulting from the water and hitting people with pretty severe results. And recently there was a summer of shark attacks. This year started off with a bizarre report from outdoors writer Bill Sargent. Here’s what happened:

Josh Landin, his brother Jeremy and friend Dr. Rob Platner were fishing aboard a 16-foot skiff outside Florida’s Sebastian Inlet. The bite was hot. The anglers were into a school of bluefish that were literally creaming their topwater plugs. There were pompano and even some sharks in the fray snapping at the lures.

Josh was cranking in another blue when suddenly the fish seemed to morph into something else, another creature entirely—a creature on the attack: “….huge with its mouth wide open,” said Landin. “It hit me in the chest and as I went down, it grabbed my calf and shin its mouth. It had already clipped my fingers.”

The creature was a king mackerel (kingfish) that was chasing Landin’s hooked blue. As it broke the surface in pursuit of the blue, the king slammed into Landin’s chest and knocked the 6-foot, 3-inch angler to the deck.

Far from being tired, the free-jumping kingfish was going crazy in the cockpit, but everyone’s attention was on Landin who was bleeding uncontrollably. There was no first aid gear on board, so torn T-shirts had to suffice as bandages. They fired up the motor and headed in.

At the emergency room, Josh was treated for more than 5 hours and received 105 stitches to close his wounds, plus a mega dose of antibiotics to counter infection.

As for the fish, it died in the boat. The king weighed 57 pounds and was 5 feet long. Landin is keeping the jaws as a souvenir, and wonders if he’d been registered in a kingfish tournament, whether he would have garnered one of the top $80,000 prizes.

Got a tip, hot story idea, cool photo or just want to know which lure to use? Email Jerry at!

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  • April 23, 2007

    295-Pound Catfish Record Pending-2


    Pending_laulau_recordThere were lots of opinions about “King Kong,” the big, 400-pound catfish caught by Larry Dahlberg. You can still see the photo gallery of images by clicking here.

    Many of you felt the fish could have weighed the 400 pounds that was estimated by Dahlberg by using tape measurements and applying a formula.

    Some of you didn’t think so.

    Larry released that fish so we’ll never know precisely, but now there’s a pending record application for the same kind of catfish—a lau-lau.

    This one weighed nearly 300 pounds (295pounds, 8 ounces to be precise). It was taken in Jatapo, Amazonas, Brazil by Russell Jensen from the Bronx, New York, after a 90-minute fight. If it’s accepted by IGFA it’ll break the current 26-year-old record of 256 pounds, 9 ounces.

    The thing is, pictures can be deceptive depending on how a fish is held and the type lens on the camera. Compare this nearly 300-pounder to Larry’s estimated 400-pounder and tell me what you think.

    What's your opinion? Think that catfish goes 300 pounds? Post your comments below and let everyone know!

    Got a tip, hot story idea, cool photo or just want to know which lure to use? Email Jerry at!

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • April 19, 2007

    Hidden Threat from Hooks, Hatpins & Body Piercings-0


    Sure, everybody knows to keep his/her tetanus (a.k.a. lockjaw) immunity up to date. If you scorn such advice you might want to glance at a rather graphic illustration in the free on-line encyclopedia Wikipedia ( showing an unfortunately afflicted chap in full-body seizure that the tetanus bacterium (Clostridium tetani) causes.

    There are, however, uncounted gremlins other than tetanus that can infect fishermen from hook punctures to fish fin stabs and more. Many of them result in loathsome blood and flesh infections whose visual manifestations I won’t impose on you. And, like tetanus, I have no doubt that many of them can kill you.

    Sometimes seemingly superficial wounds can trigger horrendous results. Take for example my bizarre episode that began during the last OL tackle test. It was a windy day, and in the morning as I slammed the side of my cap down hard to keep it in place, I felt a sharp jab. The back locking plate on the little fish pin on the side of the hat had come off and the through-cloth spike had punctured my head. Other than a few choice words, I forgot about it. Nor did I bother cleansing the small wound. Puncture wounds that do not bleed are not good. They offer a perfect environment to grow bacteria (including but not limited to tetanus).

    A few days later my wife wondered what had happened to my head. Indeed, I seemed to have developed some ugly, knobby swellings and pustules where the pin spike had entered. One more day and I looked as though I’d contracted leprosy. Also my entire body was beginning to ache the way it does if you have to flu.

    “Aaaaakk!” said my doctor who has practiced in some third world environments that would gag a crocodile. “ I don’t know what it is; maybe some flesh-eating bacteria,” he smiled, washing his hands briskly. “But you have a helluva blood infection.”

    After days on some turbo antibiotics I was back, but all during the regimen I wasn’t too well. As the doc advised, “Blood infections can knock the snot out of you.” This one had me.

    I took an early tetanus booster, too, (the vaccine supposedly lasts 10 years), and was thankful not to have incurred the Big T which has high odds of finishing you off post haste. So here’s the deal. Keep some alcohol or alcohol pads at hand and use the stuff on any wound immediately. Squeeze the site of a puncture wound to see if it’ll bleed, but if it won’t pour the alcohol to it. Suspect anything that sticks or cuts you. If you begin developing the slightest suspicion of infection around the wound site, see a doctor. And if you suffer a deep hook wounding, you may choose to go on antibiotics regardless—even if the wound is thoroughly cleansed.

    Oh, I still keep my little fish pin as a reminder. I don’t wear any nifty fish tools or pins on my person any more if there’s even a whisper of possibility that they can find my hide.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • April 10, 2007

    The Record Bass Hunt Continues-0


    Record HuntersAs of right now George Perry’s 1932, 22-pound, 4-ounce largemouth bass record is still intact. But who knows what may happen during the next spawn in the warm waters of California lakes that are home to those trout-gorging bass of such gigantic proportions.

    In southern California, anglers are waiting not so patiently to see whether Dotty will make a re-appearance. Faithful followers of the big bass scene/wars will recall that Dotty, the 25-pound, 1-ounce fish taken and released last year by Mac Weakley from Dixon Lake, was the heaviest largemouth ever seen. As everyone knows, Weakley did not submit the fish as the new record contender because it had inadvertently been hooked outside the mouth. Dotty, sometimes known as Spot, gets her name from the small black “beauty mark” on her right gill cover.

    Dotty has already been hooked and landed three times. “By now she probably thinks it’s part of the spawning process,” said Jed Dickerson, who caught her in 2003, and who is one of Weakley’s regular fishing pals. I’ve been fishing these past days with Jed, Mack and Mike Winn on Lake Dixon where the behemoth bass lives—if she still does.

    Since last year’s catch, and based on the grueling schedule they spend in this big fish hunt, the bass-fishing trio of Winn, Weakley and Dickerson are considered top contenders in shattering Perry’s record. But they’re far from alone. Mike Long, who has also caught Dotty, and who has taken more than 250 bass over 10 pounds, and his partner John Kerr, are serious heavies in the chase.

    Thus far this year, Jed has taken two fish topping 10 while Mac has a 16-pounder to his credit. Both Mac and Mike are truly possessed now says the more laid-back Dickerson. “They got the spell on them,” he said while fishing.

    Just as I was leaving southern California, some more big fish began moving onto their staging areas at Dixon. If Dotty—or another record-smasher—is taken this year, don’t look for her to be released. Add to this the teaser that Dickerson and Weakley are still mulling over whether to submit record applications for their earlier catches and you’ve got an interesting scenario.

    It’s one we’re going to watch closely.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • April 3, 2007

    Bed Fishing for Bass-4


    After leaving Casitas country I drove south to Carlsbad just north of San Diego to meet up with the Three Basskateers—Mac Weakley, Jed Dickerson and Mike (Buddha) Winn, who took that 25-plus-pounder from Dixon Lake last year, releasing it without entering it as the new world’s record because it had been hooked in the side just below the dorsal and controversy was rampant. Such foul hooking is easy to do sight fishing. Stay tuned. More reports to follow on fishing these giant bass on the beds and bed edges with these guys.

    Bed fishing is something some anglers frown upon. It’s not a slam-dunk believe me. But think about how you might stand on the subject. To bed fish or not.

    Let me hear your thoughts!

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • April 3, 2007

    Throwing Swimbaits for Casitas Bass-2


    It figures. I’m in California fishing for monster bass, hoping to catch a hawg big enough for next spring’s cover of Outdoor Life, and as it always seems to play out, my timing is off just tad.

    A week-and-a-half ago the bigmouth bass with the potato-sack bellies of California’s well-known lake Casitas (years back home of the No.2 bass) were staging at ledge edges, off points, atop ridges—all with deepwater access, prepping for yet another spawn. In normal years there are waves of spawning bass here and elsewhere in southern Cal’s mega largemouth waters. Fish move in and out with cold fronts, and some pull off successful bedding. And then another wave pushes in while the fish that succeeded in the mating game slide out to recuperate and while doing so tend to “pack up.” That’s literally on food, but also refers to gang-like behavior amongst the fish. Think the Crips and the Bloods. Yeah, these fish move from the banks and take up ambush points and attack baits en masse. I mean you throw something in the right spot and if you miss the first bang, there’ll be a second and a third until you hook up.

    So we missed all that by a week. This year was abnormally warm and most fish accomplished a major spawn without being pushed off by cold fronts. Those that hadn’t fed like crazy just before I arrived and then began easing up to fan nests. Not to worry. Friends Todd and Rod Thigpin who make Stocker swimbaits in sizes from 7 to 12 inches (the name obviously comes from the favorite noshing fare of California bigmouths, and their buddy the Hawg Doctor (a.k.a. Doc Holiday) understood that hard fishing with the big lures at the right places would scratch out some fish that either were going up to spawn or that finished their post-spawn feeding binges and were playing cute. It was tough fishing.

    Think 13 hour days hurling heavy baits on the new two-handed Swimbait rods G. Loomis ( just introduced for the purpose. Think blanks that will handle a lot of saltwater assignments just fine. At day’s end we were feeling like we’d been worked over with a baseball bat. Yes but we pulled out a few nice fish—a 9 pounder and a 10-plus-pound fish–and we sure missed a few, too. My last missed bite happened about 7:15pm just before pulling out. The bass that hit gave me a scare and upon examining the bait, the fish must have balled the 10-inch lure. There were teeth marks at the head and at the very tail end. I would love to have seen that mamma.

    [ Read Full Post ]