Pickle Run 2021: A West Coast Kayak Fishing Marathon (Video)

12 hours of non-stop fishing in Southern California

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If a little kayak fishing is fun, a whole day is fantastic. That’s the idea behind the 2021 Pickle Run, a day-long tour for members of San Diego’s Mad Macks Fishing Club. Michael Gutz Muto from Submission Fishing Co takes us along for the ride as he fishes for 15 miles straight. Along the way, Muto encounters “a marathon of calico, sheepshead, kelp beds, rock fish, and more.”

All-Day Fishing at the Pickle Run 2021

San Diego’s Pickle Run takes place in early October, launching from Dana Landing in Mission Bay and heading south to Shelter Island in San Diego Bay. Besides fishing, the event is a chance for local anglers to meet and socialize.

angler stands up and photographs kelp beds during Pickle Run 2021 kayak fishing marathon
Point Loma kelp beds offer fantastic saltwater fishing opportunities. | Image: Submission Fishing Co/YouTube

The group begins to gather before sunrise, and Muto is on the water soon after. He waits for the other anglers to get organized and in the meantime catches a couple of calico bass. Switching to cut shrimp, Muto lands double whitefish on circle hooks. He shares a few tips on how to target whitefish, or not. The anglers finally set off to the south as the sun begins to climb higher.

“That’s why we’re out here in the kelp.”

The group arrives off Point Loma and Muto ties his boat to a handy strand of kelp. He reels in a couple of keeper sheepshead, explaining how the hermaphroditic fish start as females and change to males as they mature. “Few things better than going out and getting your target species,” Muto says with satisfaction as he hoists his catch.

The anglers don’t set off again until about 2:00 p.m., seven hours into their trip. The next location is an outlet pipe from a water plant, but it doesn’t really pan out. After ten hours of fishing the finish line is almost within sight. Muto captures some great time-lapse footage as he pedals past a cargo ship into San Diego Bay.

Getting Into a Pickle—And Loving It

Muto and the other anglers convene at the take-out 12 hours and 15 miles after the Pickle Run began. The sun has risen and set on their day-long trip, but tired participants are happy to compare notes and reflect on what they learned. “One step closer,” Muto says, “in the long pursuit of someday becoming a black belt in fishing.”


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