Relatively new to the kayak-fishing scene Brady Garrett of Long Beach, Ca settled on Irvine Lake in nearby Orange County as a worthy watershed to fill the gaps between his saltwater outings in Long Beach Harbor where he targets bass, and halibut. However, his appreciation for the versatile fishery the impoundment offered increased with each visit culminating with the 13.90 rainbow trout he landed there in February 2014.
“It was about noon, and I had just turned into a cove when the reel began to sing,” said Garrett. “When I grabbed the rod, I thought it felt way to heavy to be a fish.”
That doubt disappeared after some serious headshakes and a long run, and he fought the fish for a good 15 minutes before finally seeing it surface and realizing what he was dealing with. When Garrett ultimately corralled the fish after multiple long runs, its head hung off one side of his kayak (nicknamed, “The Grey Ghost”) and its tail off the other.
“I was on the water by 9am, and I headed toward the middle of the lake where I saw a lot of active fish the day before,” he said. “I saw a few rolls here and there, so I started to troll and got one by the buoy line. Then, the wind started to pick up so I drifted a mini jig and caught another one. I only dropped the trolling setup back in because I was paddling in for lunch, and that’s when the big one hit.”
Like many kayak anglers, he got into the game with a used boat – in this case, an Ocean Kayak Prowler – with early customizations based around the standards: a milk crate, five-gallon bucket and some PVC pipe. Generally speaking, the outfitting of his ‘yak thus far can be classified as “minimalist.”
This fish came on a pink Berkley Flicker Shad on 6-pound main line to a 4-pound fluorocarbon leader.
“I like Irvine because it’s always a challenge, and a variety of techniques work well there. It’s away from the city, and it’s the only place to troll around here,” he said. “The lake has big fish with serious fight in them.”
On the previous day, Garrett landed five trout with a 4-pounder rounding out his limit.
This story first appeared in KayakFish Magazine.
A Southern California native, Stevens specializes in targeting trout in the Eastern Sierra region of the state, but the San Diego resident also has experience fishing the lakes of San Diego, Riverside, and L.A. counties. He spent five years in the fishing tackle industry, and he also spent two years working in a marine fish hatchery. On the saltwater side, he enjoys the local offshore scene and surf fishing, and he has fished from Montana to California to Cabo San Lucas.
As a writer, his work has been published in Western Outdoor News, Fish Taco Chronicles, and Fish Wrap Magazine to name a few, and he is a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of California.