Darkness set in. A few of us stayed up for a while but eventually we all fell asleep to the sound of the ocean. The wind was blowing just enough to keep the heat off of everyone therefore making it easy to fall asleep. I believe I feel asleep around 10 pm - 11 pm thinking about the journey that is about to take place in the morning.
I woke up around 4:00 am to go to the bathroom. Shortly after, I was unable to fall back to sleep so I began to start my morning. I changed clothes, ate breakfast, made my lunch, checked to make sure that the GoPro has batteries and SD cards readily available, and then double checked everything on the yak to make sure I was prepared for the water. Everything checked out so I was ready. About this time, people started waking up that camped out and others that drove to get here in the morning were starting to arrive.
I waited until around 6:15 am and then I started to take video of everyone that had arrived. I went to each kayaker and videoed while introducing myself to the people I hadn't already met. There were quite a few different kayaks that were out there; Hobie, Native, Viking, Wilderness, Ocean Kayak, and a few others. Many people came prepared this year with VHF radios. Only a couple of people didn't have them this round and those individuals stayed with people that had radios. I'm glad to see that many of the new people took the initiative to buy a good quality VHF radio.
At around 6:45 am I have a meeting with all the yakers to run through a few important details. Questions were asked and answered and then it was time to hit the water. I stayed on shore to make sure that people got out. Once I felt everyone or most everyone was on the water past the breakers, then I would get out there. From what I saw, nobody turtled going out. There was close to 25 people that showed up to this outing. This is a pretty good number considering that I had to reschedule this outing due to high winds from the previous weekend.
After watching a good portion of the kayakers making their way through the breakers, away I went. I quickly swept through the breakers with no issues. After setting up a few things on my yak, I began to troll. It was a great morning. The weather, winds, surf, and swells were better than predicted. The winds throughout the day were never over 10 mph in my opinion. The surf in the morning was 1 ft with an occasional 2 ft and lowering throughout the day. The swells were low at first and then picking up through the middle of the day. Toward the end of the day I felt the swells lessening. There was an occasional 3 ft swell every now and then but it was nothing to fuss over. For the most part, the swells were of no issue. The weather was awesome!! No rain and all sunshine. It was a beautiful day and a great day for having the BHP outing.
I was about half way to the rig when I decided to get on the radio to see if anyone got any fish yet. Nobody had anything to report. The bite was non-existent which meant there was no early morning bite. I was hoping that I would have already heard some good reports at this point but nothing yet. I kept on trolling out to the rig and then I noticed something. The water was much cooler than normal. I checked my fish/GPS finder and it said that the water temp was in the mid 70's. Later I found out that there was an upwelling. This explains why the water was so cool. It definitely helped later in the day when it started to get hot. All I would do at times was put my hand in the water and splash some cool water on my face. It felt very refreshing. For those of you that are not familiar with what an upwelling is:
Winds blowing across the ocean surface push water away. Water then rises up from beneath the surface to replace the water that was pushed away. This process is known as “upwelling.”
Upwelling occurs in the open ocean and along coastlines. The reverse process, called “downwelling,” also occurs when wind causes surface water to build up along a coastline and the surface water eventually sinks toward the bottom.
Water that rises to the surface as a result of upwelling is typically colder and is rich in nutrients. These nutrients “fertilize” surface waters, meaning that these surface waters often have high biological productivity. Therefore, good fishing grounds typically are found where upwelling is common.
As the day progressed, the water temps made it barely into the 80's. the water stayed nice and cool all day. I trolled around the rig a few times watching everyone making sure things were good and hoping someone would catch a fish. By 9 am the first "fish on" came about. It was me. The line hit hard and started to run like crazy just as kings like to do. I grabbed the other rod, reeled in the line some, and then I placed it back into the rod holder. Next, I grabbed the rod with the fish on it and began counter measures! This king decided to run away first then go toward me. After I figured out what the fish was trying to do, I reeled really fast toward me to compensate. The king then does a 180 degree turn and make another run away from me. The line was screaming once again. The rods I troll with are Tiger Stiks with Release LG reels. I was trolling with ribbon fish, which seemed to be the choice of bait for the day for these fish. There wasn't any need for lures unless that is all you came with. After I reeled the king to the yak, it did its circle dance. I got it next to the yak, gaffed it, and in the yak the king went. I was keeping fish this day so the first three kings were getting the gaff to ensure I wouldn't lose anything. Before you know it, king number 1 was in the fish bag. One of the kayakers managed a photo. Juan-Carlos, of Houston, thanks for the photo.
After my king was in the bag, I started to hear others hooking up. It was like the bite just all of a sudden turned on. It was great to see the excitement. I missed out on a few pics because I was trying to get my ribbon leader changed out on the rod that just caught the king. By the time I was setup again, there were very few pics taken (for those of you that caught some pics, please post on here). The bite turned on around 9:30 am ish. Here are a few pics of some people that caught fish that I managed to snag a pic of:
A few people decided to stay at the rig and vertical jig while most of the others kept on trolling in hopes to find the kings and whatever else is out there. Another friend that I know that lives in Corpus Christi managed a nice stingray. Domingo fought this guy for a very long time. Once Domingo managed to get the ray off the bottom, things started to get easier in getting the ray to the top. Domingo has a few yaks but this day he was riding in a Viking.
More trolling continued around the rig. The rig seemed to be where the action was at this day. I've had days where I didn't have to get near the rig to catch kings but this day was a rig kind of day. Every now and then someone would cross lines while trolling with another person that was trolling. Fortunately, this didn't happen too much. Everyone was respectful and it made it great being out there watching everyone getting along.
Soon I got a call over the radio. A friend who came out to the outing in an Adventure Island (AI) told me he was heading back to shore because he was having trouble. When I got to him, his AI back end was completely submerged. Somehow, he was taking on water. The best thing this person did was he managed to keep calm and level headed. He started to make his way back to shore as Domingo and I followed him.
Now I know what some of you guys might be thinking but I will tell you this much. Even though the AI was almost completely full of water, the amas (pontoons) would have kept the AI from sinking. The other thing is that this material the yak is made of has somewhat of a buoyancy factor to it to help keep the AI floating.
About half way to shore, I noticed a boat going across with a jet ski. I flagged these guys down along with the help of Domingo. Domingo had a blow horn which was a tremendous help in getting the attention of the boater and jet ski. Both the boat and jet ski came over. I asked if they didn't mind helping our buddy out by towing his yak back just shy of the breakers. The breakers were hardly nothing this day so it would make it easy to get back in. The boater agreed to help out.
After hooking a rope to the AI, those guys were off and headed to the breakers. Domingo followed as he was going back. I was going to head back with them to get the AI back to shore but I figured that things were in order there. I figured that if anything was to happen at the rig, at least I would be there to assist. Nothing happened at the rig but I was just being cautious. I asked The AI group to radio to me once they were back to shore. I had heard that things went good getting through the surf zone but the kayak was so full of water that it couldn't be lifted ashore. Others there helped get the water out of the AI so that it could be lifted on to the beach.
Later the next day I was told that the bottom drain plug was not completely tight. This is an easy mistake to make. I've seen this happen time and time again. One of the things I do to not make this mistake is that after each trip I make, I immediately bilge out any water in my yak and then what's left I sponge it out. This way I never have to mess with my drain plug ever. The same thing applies on my Tandem Island (TI). If there is enough water in my TI, the electric bilge pump turns on. What that doesn't get rid of by the time I get back to shore, my manual bilge and sponge will take care of. If you do ever loosen your drain plug, just be mindful of it so that you don't end up in this same situation. Also, keep in mind that on the older model AI's that they have two drain plugs. One plug is on top and the other is on the bottom in the back. If people can't get to the lower drain plug without falling out of their yaks, you may have to get into the water while holding on to the yak and close off the drain plug. For those of you that are thinking of buying an AI/TI, I highly recommend an electric bilge pump. That will solve many problems. To the owner of the AI, thanks for letting me tell the story and showing the pics. Hopefully others will learn from your experience to better their own.
While I am heading back to the rig, I began to troll. Before you know it, I'm finally back to the rig.
Even though there are not many yaks in the pic above, there was still plenty of yaks trolling on the water. A few people had gone back to shore but most were still out fishing. It just so happened that most of the kayakers were trolling further outside of the pic when I took that.
It was starting to get later in the day and I finally decided that it was time to start trolling back to shore. The wind kept the heat down but it was still hot. Marvin (PACK member) and I trolled back together. Neither one of us got any hits until right before the breakers. I got a nice run. I reeled in my other line and started to reel in whatever it was I had on the line. After a good fight, I managed almost a 50" king. What a way to finish off my day! The king was catch and release only at that point because I had my limit already.
After I released the king, Marvin and I started to get things in order for re-entry through the surf. I showed Marvin how to maneuver through the surf going in backwards. Marvin did an excellent job for his first time with no mistakes. We both made it back with no problems what so ever. It was a wonderful day of fishing! Many of the new people caught kings and quite a few brought back limits on the kings. Great job!!
The four PACK members that made this trip caught kings. Bill caught 1 king, Mike caught 2 kings, Marvin caught a limit of kings, and I caught my limit as well.
I hope everyone had a great time and learned a lot from the experience. It was great to see some of the regulars again and to meet some new people as well. Hopefully next year the outing will take place on the initial date intended and there won't be a reschedule. I don't control that, Mother Nature does. Hopefully she plays nice next summer. For now, I hope everyone has a great summer, great fishing, and a lot of tight lines!!