A trip to Irvine Lake paid off with a kayak record rainbow trout for Brady Garrett of Long Beach, CA.

A trip to Irvine Lake paid off with a kayak record rainbow trout for Brady Garrett of Long Beach, CA. Photo courtesy Brady Garrett.

New Kayak Angler Nabs a Record Rainbow Trout
By Mike Stevens

Brady Garrett of Long Beach, California is relatively new to the kayak scene. Improbably, he already holds a record, but not the kind you’d expect from an angler who usually fishes the salt of Long Beach Harbor.

In February 2014 Garrett was fishing Irvine Lake, a modest suburban impoundment nestled in the foothills of Southern California.

"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. It was a 13.9-pound rainbow trout, the largest ever kayak-caught according to the Kayak Fish Haul of Record database.

"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."

Irvine Lake management boasts they stock more fish than any other single lake. They plant a few trophies among the schoolie stockers. Garrett was lucky enough to get a great one. If he wants the lake record, he’s got a ways to go. That’s 22.6 pounds.

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 Flickr 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.