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World record corbina? ….Nah

Special to Western Outdoor News
Published: Aug 23, 2017
OCEANSIDE — In reality, the 8-pound 7-ounce corbina John Minikus caught below Oceanside on Aug. 8 would qualify for an all-tackle world record, but it doesn’t mean that much to the veteran corbina specialist. After weighing the monster fish, harvested only to win the Pacific Coast Bait Corbina Derby, John ate the fish along with a few good friends. “I was always taught that if you kill something then you should eat it, and I do enjoy corbina,” stated the affable angler. “The majority of fish I catch, I do release.”


THIS 8-POUND, 7-OUNCE corbina would have qualified for a new all-tackle world record if it would have been officially certified by IGFA, but longtime surf angler John Minikus opted for the dinner plate instead.


John is a light-tackle corbina expert who has refined his big fish technique over a lifetime in pursuit of the challenging gamefish, “I’ve been doing this a long time and I still feel strongly that those fish are smarter than me,” said the dismissive angler.

John is a sight fisherman and insists that he sees as many as 100 big fish before he catches one, slightly exaggerating. The key for John is a pair of Maui Jim sunglasses to spot the fish, and an ultra-light rig with 4-pound test P-Line. He favors a 1000 series Shimano Reel and a rare, old Kunnan parabolic trout rod.

In a technique simply called “hunting”, John sights, stalks and carefully approaches a potential fish, “I prefer skinny water, meaning lower tides that are more compatible with spotting fish.” remarked Minikus. “Once I am on a fish, then it is all about a stealth presentation to the feeder. If the fish won’t take, I will often return to the fish a little bit later.”

Most often John fishes a fly-lined sandcrab on an old Mustad, short shank live-bait hook, a hook type preferred over years of mastering this technique. “In most cases, I watch the fish take the bait.” remarked Minikus.

Once the fish is hooked, then it is a matter of an accurate drag setting, a soft parabolic rod, monofilament with stretch and a boat load of patience, “I just follow the fish and let her tell me where she wants to go. Eventually, once she tires, I guide her in for a landing.”

The number of big corbina John has landed over the years is impressive. (He sent me a photo of a fish he caught last year that was bigger than the 8-7) He is a tower of knowledge and probably the most experienced corbina angler I’ve ever spoken with.

The world of surf fishing and specifically the pursuit of corbina is a small niche in Southern California sportfishing. The pursuit rarely exhibits the prestige of other fisheries. But to those in the know, the corbina, and explicitly a big corbina, is the most challenging fish in all of southern California saltwater angling. “World records…who cares.” commented the savvy angler, “I just love to fish for them.”

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