Fishing / Dan Stanton : Shore Anglers Getting More Distance and Bigger Catches With Float Tubes

Shore fishermen have always been limited by the distance a line can be cast into the surf.

Anglers who head out beyond shore use float tubes with success, and two South Bay tubers have set some records.

Pete Wight, 29, of Torrance attaches his float tube and arms himself with a light rod, small reel and bag of bait.

For six years Wight has ventured 100 yards or more beyond the waves to fish for halibut during the fall and winter.


Last Sunday, fishing off Torrance Beach using a jack smelt for bait, he hooked a halibut that pulled him a quarter-mile out to sea. Using his swim fins as a rudder, he paddled backward over the waves and slowly brought his catch onto the beach.

The flattie weighed in on the Marina del Rey scales at 32 1/2 pounds.

Wight holds two International Game Fish Assn. records. In 1986 he caught an eight-pound, 14-ounce halibut using two-pound test line.

His strategy continued at Torrance Beach last year. Using four-pound test line he set another IGFA record with a 13-pound, 10-ounce halibut.

Does the chance of hooking a great white shark while tube fishing concern him? He replied, “If I identified it as a white shark, the line would be cut and I would scurry back to shore.”

Mark Larson, 25, of San Pedro fishes from his float tube at Cabrillo Beach. He uses six-pound test line but prefers to use feathers and jigs instead of bait.

Larson heads out from the Cabrillo rocks area as much as a mile when the ocean is calm.

Using a red and white feather jig, he recently caught a 20-pound, 4-ounce halibut.


He said he prefers the Cabrillo area because he hooks big bat rays there that he can challenge and move to shore.

Wight and Larson agree it takes practice to become a good float tube angler, since it requires a certain amount of caution.

The Santa Monica Halibut Derby is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, with 2,200 anglers competing for about $25,000 in cash and prizes.

Any angler catching the tagged fish “Big Bertha” will win $5,000.


South Bay Catches:

Myron Wong of San Pedro, fishing at Catalina Island aboard the Topgun, was reeling up from the bottom to change baits and hooked a white sea bass. It awarded him the whopper of the week at 24 1/2 pounds.

Homer Johnson of Long Beach, aboard the Southern Cal at Catalina Island, hit the jackpot with a 24-pound ling cod.

Charles Harwood of Wilmington, fishing at the oil rigs aboard the Hitless Miss, caught a 22 1/4-pound ling cod.


Herb Mueller of Redondo Beach, on the Redondo Special at Twin Roads, landed a 15-pound halibut.

Fish Reports:

Fishing slowed over the weekend as storm conditions shut down most of the surface- and bottom-fish action.

The weather cleared up Monday and anglers nailed halibut, sculpin and rockfish.


With squid absent, big anchovies have proved to be the hot bait.

At Marina del Rey Sportfishing: The Spitfire fished the bay and anglers caught 15 sand bass, seven halibut and six sculpin.

The Happyman on a half-day trip to the Rockpile returned with 23 sand bass, 14 halibut and five calico bass.

At Redondo Sportfishing: The Redondo Special fished Twin Roads on a morning trip, and anglers chalked up 22 halibut and 10 rockfish.


The Sea Spray worked Santa Monica Bay, and 28 sand bass, 21 halibut, 20 rockfish, one bonito and one barracuda went into anglers’ sacks.

The barge Isle of Redondo found the mackerel invading--350 were hooked, plus 210 rockfish and one salmon released.

At 22nd Street Landing: The Monte Carlo fished Horseshoe Kelp on a half-day trip and garnered 50 bonito, 15 rockfish and nine sculpin.

At L.A. Harbor Sportfishing: The Topgun fished Catalina Island and found the bonito, with 140 sacked, plus 20 rockfish and one white sea bass.


The Outerlimits tried San Clemente Island and chalked up 100 rock cod, 69 sculpin, 30 whitefish and six calico bass.

The Matt Walsh on a half-day trip to White’s Point returned with 30 sculpin, 14 rockfish, three red snapper and one sole.

At Long Beach Sportfishing: The Southern Cal fished the west end of Catalina in shallow water and found the rockfish eager to grab the bait; 424 went into the sacks, plus seven ling cod.

Freshwater Notes: Gary Halderman of Lomita, fishing Irvine Lake, caught nine bass totaling 15 1/2 pounds and released them.


Nicholas Litall of Long Beach used mini jigs and landed a six-pound trout at Anaheim Lake.