Windfishing: Call Me...Dude

May 2, 2004
Outside Magazine
Outside magazine, July 1995

Windfishing: Call Me...Dude
By John Galvin

Though catching air off the lip of big waves is Jeff Olson's first love, he's also been known to tell a pretty good fish story. "When this one hit, he pulled my board backward," says Olson, shown here with his prize catch, a 28-pound dorado, and his rather unconventional fishing craft, a 12-foot Mistral One-Design sailboard. "But then I went to optimum reach angle, found some wind, and took him for a ride."

Olson, a 26-year-old professional boardsailor from California, says he pioneered open-water "windfishing" as a way to liven up the sometimes tedious all-day training sessions. Trailing a deep-sea lure and 30 feet of 200-pound-test line, he trolls the big wavy until he gets a strike. Then he drags the presumably confused catch till it tires, pulls in the line hand over hand, and lashes whatever's at the end to his board for the ride to shore.

Olson's creation, a dicier variation on what's sometimes done in shallow, reefy water, has caught on with a number of top boardsailors, but nobody yet claims to have topped his 28-pounder. This month he hopes to nudge the record a bit higher on a trip to Baja California. Not that there aren't a few concerns about his technology. "I think I can snare some really big fish," he says with optimism, "but one might end up taking my whole rig down."

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