Sunday, September 24, 2017

A Speck of Luck for a change

Every year I volunteer and participate in the TKAA Kayak Fish for Charity Tournament to benefit Heroes On the Water and Project Healing Waters.  This year was to be the same, but work commitments threw a wrench in the works forcing me to miss the volunteer setup on Friday of the event.  I ended up arriving right before the Captain's Meeting was about to begin.   I was exhausted and hungry, so I checked in, gathered my captain's bag, finished the meeting and grabbed a bite to eat with fellow Hobie Fishing Team member and Hobie Sale Rep Michael Garett.

As the 5am wake up neared, I was stoked to get my kayak back on the water after a long hiatus.  I launched into a slight breeze and started seeing finger mullet bait busting all over - never a bad thing!!  After a couple hours of bite-less action, I ventured into a protected cove and switched tactics to a suspending presentation.  Almost immediately, I started getting some takers.  Finally after two hours, my first measurable fish was on the board - nothing special but nevertheless a fish!

A short while later, I managed to get a significant upgrade in a 17.5" speck!

Things were looking up and so was the bait activity in the cove! I kept at it for the next four hours with a trout literally every 5-10 minutes - several undersized with a total of 17 trout, 12 keepers but none upgraded the one above.  I lost three sure fire upgrades, including one over 24" that spit the treble as I was lifting her into the kayak and one over 20" in my lap but she had other plans and literally flipped out severing the 15lb fluorocarbon leader and escaping.  I later learned that fish would've secured me at least 2nd Place in the Trout Division.  No worries though, still a great day on the water, learning a pattern, applying it and catching fish for a successful outing.

In the end, I never was able to successfully measure an upgrade, but at least I stuck to my plan and literally fished until I had no time to spare and was forced to head in and load up to beat the check-in window of 4pm.

But the story doesn't end there!  My stress level was put to the test in a way I could have never imagined as a fisherman.  At some point, most if not all of us as fisherman have lost or left something of value at the launch, broken something on the water, etc..  Well for me, I somehow absentmindedly left my three Bull Bay Rods at the launch! How does that happen you ask?  Well, I was loading all of my gear into my car and loading my kayak onto my trailer.  While doing this, my Mirage Drive and rods were drying off after having been rinsed off just a few minutes earlier.  When I finished loading all of my gear into the car and secured my kayak to the trailer, I loaded my Mirage Drive into the car, closed the rear hatch and drove off.

I went back to the hotel, took a shower and went to the load my dirty clothes into the car when I realized I had left my rods back at the launch - over a half hour away.  With a sickening feeling, I drove back to the launch fully expecting to see my rods gone or even worse, run over and broken/destroyed by another vehicle/trailer.  When I arrived, my heart sank when I didn't see my rods.  As I was about to pull away, I noticed a piece of paper taped to the railing where my rods were drying off.

I was floored - the note read, "I have your three fishing rods, if you left them call me at (xxx) xxx-xxxx and describe them to me.  My heart raced with excitement like a kid on Christmas morning.  I dialed the digits and went through a few preliminary niceties and then proceeded to describe the unique features of the rods.  The man who found them was a fellow kayaker and a former Navy Senior Master Chief, basically a man with integrity and honor!  We met a few minutes later and went about talking about each of my Bull Bay Rods and how much I enjoyed them and designed the specifics on each rod.  He confessed honestly admitting that he partially hoped the owner would never call, so that he could have a nice rod or two for a change.  I could tell he really wanted one for his own, so I gathered his contact info and let him know not to worry.  I'll have one made for you as token of my appreciation for his actions.

It was nice to have a speck of luck work in my favor for a change both on and off the water!

Tight lines one and all!

Equipment Used:

Kayak: 2017 Hobie Revolution 13
Lures: Trout Eye Jig (short shank) with Z-Man MinnowZ and Mirrolure suspending jerk baits
Rods: Bull Bay Rods Stealth Tactical Inshore and Tactical PRO spinning rods, custom bait caster
Reels: Shimano Stradic 2500FJ, 3000FJ and Abu Garcia Revo Inshore (GEN3)
Line: PowerPro 30lb Hi-Vis Yellow, 20lb Sufix 832 HiVis Green, P-Line Flouroclear 15lb.
Other: Astral Ronny Fisher (PFD) and Loyal M's (footwear)
Accessories: Yak Attack VisCarbon Pro, GT175-12 on a Crate Rail and GTTL175-04 Top Loading GearTracs