Leffingwell Landing offers protected access to the Pacific. Photo: Nancy McKarney
Leffingwell Landing offers protected access to the Pacific.

There aren’t many places where kayak anglers can back trucks down a boat ramp, launch kayaks and paddle out into the ocean without seeing a single motorboat. And there aren’t many places where towering Monterey pine trees march down steep cliffs to meet the raging Pacific Ocean. And there’s definitely no other place where you can see wild elephant seals and zebras in the same day. That’s why there’s no place like Cambria, California.

The kayak launch at Leffingwell Landing offers easy access to the Pacific Ocean and protection from the powerful swells. Cambria’s most soughtafter fishing target, the lingcod, has a twisted face, gaping mouth and needle teeth. While these fish are far from pretty, lingcod fight hard and taste good.

The giant ling that live in the deep-water caves along the central coast are fiercely territorial. If you are lucky enough to drop a bait in a lingcod’s zone, the fish can’t help but attack. Miss the bite? Don’t worry, drop the bait and the fish will jump on it again. They can’t resist. I’ve caught the same lingcod five times in a row. I’ve even broken off a fish, then hooked it again and retrieved my rig.

After a long day kayak fishing, go up the road to see the elephant seals lounging on the beaches at Piedras Blancas Light Station. And don’t miss the zebras. That’s right, there is a herd of feral zebras that frolic along the road near Hearst Castle Ranch. While you’re there, take a tour of the castle and enjoy the breathtaking views and manicured grounds.

This article originally appeared in Kayak Angler, Spring 2013. Catch the rest of the story on our free iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch Appor Android App or read it online here.

 

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