805 head brewer by trade and recreational deep-sea fisherman by choice, Dustin Kral follows a different path to make life interesting. When he’s not brewing beer or spending time with his family, Dustin is enjoying the open ocean and the pristine coastline along the Central Coast.
Dustin was introduced to fishing at a young age, catching large-mouth, fresh-water bass. A friend, Capt. Paul was the one who introduced Dustin to ocean fishing and he hasn’t looked back since.
His favorite fish to catch is the Spring King Salmon. “It is not the type of fish where you go out and say, ‘let’s try for a Salmon today,’” said Dustin. “Our waters hold them in small numbers and it requires days, sometimes weeks, of effort to locate them, find their depth, and present them the right bait. Typically we troll for them, which I also find entertaining. I like to look at the sonar and try to find large bait balls and work the boat in and out of it until either I catch one, or I don’t and move on. It is a definite hunt and I am always up for the challenge.”
When Dustin isn’t searching for Spring King Salmon in his Arima Sea Chaser boat named “Slay Station”, he also enjoys fishing for rock cod, halibut and maybe a bonus of white sea bass.
— Dustin Kral
I love to be on the water and have always had tremendous amounts of respect for it. I love the skill, the adventure, the environment, and the reward the water offers.
Speaking of sea bass…here’s one of Dustin’s favorite stories about his biggest catch.
I was out on my first boat which was a 14-foot aluminum boat. It was the type of boat you only took out in flat conditions with no swell or wind. My buddy and I were out front of Cayucos in about 100 foot of water fishing on the bottom for halibut or maybe a bonus white sea bass.
We had a sea lion following us around for a while and that is not ideal. If you are lucky enough to catch a nice fish, a sea lion is known for waiting around to rip you off and steal the fish away from you. So, we would pick up and move a little. He would follow. We did this about three or four times before settling on a location. All of a sudden my rod went full bendo and line started ripping off the spool and the drag was screaming. I picked up the rod and at first, because it was so powerful, I thought it was that damn sea lion!
All of a sudden, the sea lion popped up by the boat and I realized at that time, I had a fish on! The fish ran the spool out about 90% of its capacity and I had no choice but to start buttoning down the drag to try and stop it. Finally, it did, however, the fish turned back toward the boat and created slack on the line, which is terrible because that’s how hooks come out of the mouth when you lose tension.
I started winding, winding, winding as fast as I can and by the time I caught up with it, it had run under the boat and wrapped the motor. I almost lost it again.
I trimmed the motor up, dipped the rod in the water and freed the line from the motor. At that point, the fish was cooked and it simply floated to the surface about 30 feet from the boat. Holy Shit! It was a 55 pound White Sea Bass which is an amazing fish for us and I couldn’t be happier. That is, until my old pal the Fur Bag (aka the sea lion) came up and started biting and thrashing at the fish’s head.
I was yelling bloody murder at the thing and occasionally it would take his mouth off of it and I would gain a few feet before he came back and attacked it again. My friend was looking for something to throw at it or splash the water with or distract him in any way possible but he couldn’t so he just leaned over the rail and yelled at the top of his lungs. The sea lion finally let go and looked like a defeated Boxer dog trying to pop a basketball. He just couldn’t get a good enough bite in it to steal it from me.
We finally got it to the boat and our yells of terror turned into shouts of joy. We were both elated to get the fish on the boat. To this day, it remains my PB White Sea Bass and one of my favorite days on the water.
— Dustin Kral
I love it because while I am fishing, my stress, fears, concerns, responsibilities all disappear for a brief period and I can connect with myself and the ocean.