Now on to the good stuff!! As many of you know, I canceled this outing the Wednesday prior to the outing. The reason for this is because there was a hurricane by Mexico that was messing everything up for us in Texas to do BTB kayak fishing. This hurricane was pushing our window to fish to the following weekend. The conditions looked pretty bad so I canceled and rescheduled the outing to the following weekend. The next morning around 6:30 am, Thursday, I woke up to around four to five text messages telling me to put the outing back on the original weekend as the conditions had changed. At first, I was like ha ha, as if they were joking with me. Not long after, I started to get calls. I then started to think that maybe this wasn’t a joke at all. I checked multiple sites (for those of you that don’t know what sites to use, there are many to choose from. I use Magic Seaweed, NOAA, Windfinder, Weatherbug, The Weather Channel, just to name a few.) and after looking things over, I found that the joke was on me. The hurricane had been down graded to a tropical storm. Additionally, this storm changed directions making it where the original intended date of this outing was once again possible. I started to think on how I could do this to where I could get the word out, if it was possible, to where everyone would be informed. With the internet readily available, anything is possible now of days. I decided to put the outing back on its original weekend but push the date to a day later to allow better conditions to prevail. I immediately updated the TKF thread, other sites I posted this thread on, and finally, FB. Social media has a way of getting the word out to anyone and everyone. It was a good thing I moved this outing back to the original weekend because the following weekend turned out to be bad (which is the weekend we are currently in right now).
Now that the decision was made to put the outing back on but for June 9th, I had to get to packing. The problem is that I had unpacked everything that I packed originally for this outing when I thought it was on for June 8th. No worries. If I focused on what needed to be done, I could do this. The reason I was pressed for time is that a few of us where heading down to Corpus the very next day, Friday. We were going to get some of our own time in fishing before the big outing on Sunday. I had 24 hours to get my stuff together. Friday arrives and I am pushing to get everything packed. The game plan was to meet at my boat storage around noon. From there we would load everything from my storage and car into Bryce’s truck, put the trailer on to Bryce’s truck, place the yaks on the trailer, secure everything, and then we would be ready to roll. Troy was driving his own truck. We decided to take two trucks just in case we had issues down the beach line. From my storage, we had to head back to my place so that I could drop off my vehicle. This drive is just around the corner. I live fairly close to my boat storage. From there, all three of us headed out of Houston to Corpus Christi.
As we were driving toward Victoria, I believe we were close to El Campo, Bryce and I saw a flatbed 18-wheeler with an empty load on the back. At the rear of the flatbed, a Tonka truck was strapped down. We were both amused by this. I wish we would have taken a picture of this but we were laughing so much that it totally skipped our minds. Further down the road, we finally ended up in Refugio. Troy pulls up to us on my side. We roll our windows down and he tells us that something is dangling from the back of the truck. We all pull over to investigate. It turns out that Bryce found some fishing line laying on the ground at my storage unit, not mine. He placed it in the bed of his truck. As we were driving down the road, the line started to work its way off of the spool and stretch out on the road past the trailer. Quickly we got the line back on the spool and then we continued our drive. Another thing that happened is that once you get to Bayside, Texas, there was some construction last summer. This construction caused both lanes to merge down to one. Construction crews had to monitor both sides allowing one side to go first, then the other side. It caused back ups on a back road that was a shortcut to Corpus. I am happy to say that this construction is now finished and everything has returned to normal. Another reason I enjoy taking this way to Corpus is that aside that it’s a shorter route, I enjoy looking at the water along this drive. The other way to Corpus doesn’t have water to look at.
Finally, we make it to Corpus. Once we arrive on the island, Bryce, Troy, and I stop to get gas and ice. Our goal was to spend the night on the beach Friday night so that we will be right where we need to be come Saturday morning. All we would need to do is wake up, eat breakfast, then hit the water to fish. I’m glad we took 4x4 vehicles as the beach was really bad, as I expected it to be. It’s been so hot lately that the sand had been fluffed up quite a bit to where it made it where your tires would sink in the sand easily. 2wd vehicles will not make it where we went. After a bit of driving, we made it to where we were going to camp and launch the next day. Once we arrived, we immediately started to set up camp before it got dark. After camp was set up, we started to get our yaks ready so that we didn’t have to do it in the morning. Finally, we set our chairs out in front of the ocean around 10 pm and we sat to watch the ocean speak to us, chat amongst ourselves, and look up at the stars. What an amazing sight to see!
Next morning arrives. I wake up early, as I usually do. I started to get myself together. Troy and Bryce wanted to sleep an extra 30 minutes than me so no worries. I am up early as I always get up early. Finally, it’s time to hit the water. We didn’t rush anything. We took our time and we said we will get on the water when we get on the water.
We are on the water now and heading to our destination to fish. Today’s target was snapper. Anything else was a bonus. After we made it through the surf, with what surf there was, we started to head to where we were going to fish. Once we hit the water, we had overcast skies until around 10 am, the water was around 83 degrees, the water visibility was around 10 - 15 ft ish, the winds were as projected in the single digits, and there was current but nothing that was strong (not like on Sunday).
Half way to where we were going, we started to troll ribbon fish. I think Troy was trolling a single line, Bryce and I were trolling two lines. I believe I hooked into the first screamer. This fish took awhile to get up. After a long fight, I pulled up my largest king for the day, 50”.
Sorry for the lack of pics of my fish but it’s hard to take a pic of yourself while on the water fishing and holding up a fish, lol. While I was hooked up, Bryce gets hooked up. Not long after, Troy gets hooked up. A lot of screaming reels is exactly what we were hoping for and it was all coming true. Here are just a few kings that were caught.
As the morning progressed, I caught a blacktip shark.
We saw and caught quite a few sharks. There were quite a few hammerhead sharks that were seen. All hammerheads that were seen we huge. Nothing small in the hammerhead family out there that day. At one point, I was fishing for snapper. I managed to hook into another trigger fish. As I was pulling it up, I saw a hammerhead coming towards my trigger fish. This hammerhead was every bit of 16 foot. I made a quick decision to hoist the trigger fish out of the water and on to the front of the yak to avoid the hammerhead surfacing to get the fish and possibly knocking me off of my yak. Once the fish was out of the water, the hammerhead changed directions immediately and disappeared. It was really cool to see such a huge fish in the water such as a hammerhead, extremely amazing! Another thing I saw was cobia. I saw around four cobia that looked like they were on a mission. They were in transit to where I didn’t have enough time to pull out a rod and cast to them. Finally, we arrived at our destination. It was time to start fishing for snapper. I decided to do something different this trip than I normally do but if it didn’t work, I had my normal setup for snapper ready to go as a backup. I was using smaller circle hooks (1/O) and a bigger bank weight (16 oz). I usually use bigger circle hooks so I don’t have to deal with the smaller fish (7/O). In regards to the weight issue, I usually don’t have to use anything larger than an 8 oz but I figured if I could get the bait down quicker than the fish could swim, the trigger and spade fish wouldn’t be able to follow it. I’m not sure if I got lucky or if that was the ticket because I was hooking up every other cast. All of us were hooking into triggers, a few spades, and some snapper. The largest snapper that was caught was 19”.
Bryce even hooked into a toad fish. This was not Bryce’s fish but so that you would know what a toad fish looked like, here is a pic (this was a pic that was sent to me by the PINS park rangers):
While I was still vertical jigging, Bryce was fishing nearby. He saw a cobia and didn’t have anything hooked on to throw at it. The cobia was swimming in my direction. Bryce told me a cobia was heading toward me. I saw the cobia and I grabbed my rod. I was throwing a Snapper Slapper 3 oz Slab Jig (basically a spoon). I flipped the lure out past the cobia and started to reel it in casually. The cobia saw it and changed his direction from where he was going to the spoon. Within a few seconds, the cobia took the lure and away we went. As many of you know, cobia can still be small and you will swear that you are fighting some huge fish. Cobia provide some of the best fights you can possibly imagine. After this fish took me for a short ride, I was finally able to get it up. I was faced with a new dilemma. The cobia (also referred to as a ling) was border line keeper. I didn’t want to bop it on the head and risk possibly hurting the fish if it wasn’t a keeper. Since the cobia was hooked really good, I decided to wear it out even more. This meant that I was going to have to keep the fish in the water for awhile until it was thoroughly worn out. Once this has happened, I would then work on getting it in the yak to get a measurement. If you are not familiar with catching this fish, cobia put up a bigger fight on the yak than in the water. These fish can hurt you when they thrash around. This is why we knock them on the head a few times before placing them on the yak. I kept on trying to get the fish up but he wouldn’t cooperate. Finally, I decided to try and Fish Grip him. Once the Fish Grip was on, I kept him in the water for a short time longer before removing the hook. Just a word of advice to the newer kayak fishermen, never place the bungie on the Fish Grip around your wrist with any fish. If that Fish Grip came out of your hand and the fish was able to swim freely, you could be putting yourself in a potentially dangerous situation. Now back to the cobia….. After I determined that the cobia might cooperate with me, I pulled out my bump board. Next, I laid the fish on the board to get a measurement. The entire time the fish didn’t give me a hard time. I was absolutely amazed. I thought it was going to get nasty for a second but things went quite smooth. I would never recommend doing this if you are a novice. After trying to pinch the tail, I was only able to get 36.5”. I was ½” shy of legally keeping this fish. I admired the fish for a few secs then threw it back in the water. The cobia swam away as if it was never caught. What a wonderful time it was catching that cobia. I will never get tired of that!!
After catching a bunch of sharks, cobia, snapper, trigger and spade fish, smacks, a toad fish, and kings, it was getting time to head back to shore. We trolled on the way back to land but the bite slowed down. Bryce headed in first while I waited for Troy to finish securing everything down in his yak (PA 14). Bryce headed in forward while Troy and I headed in backwards. A PA 14 doesn’t do well coming in forward and I had too many fish in my fish bag, weighing it down in the front, to come in forward or I would have. We came in backwards. Nobody turtled coming in.
Once we were back on land, we had to get the kayaks broken down while on the trailer. Next, we had to get the fish all in the cooler. I have a 256-gallon cooler. All the fish somehow managed to fit in the cooler with ice. That was definitely a meat haul. After everything was packed, we were ready to head back. First things first, we had to go and clean our fish. We took our fish on over to Billing’s Bait Stand to clean our fish.
That was the heaviest I have ever had that cooler. It was so heavy that I started to look online after we left the cleaning station on Harbor Freight’s site to see if there were any options to make it easier in the future to getting the cooler from the truck to the cleaning station without lifting. I did find a solution. Harbor Freight sells a moving dolly. In addition to that, Harbor Freight sells a handle that is made for the moving dolly. Essentially, you have a wagon when pulling the moving dolly. I now own one of these and hopefully it will do the job I am hoping it to do in the future. Time will tell. If this doesn’t work, I didn’t lose a lot of money into this project. It’s worth a try. Now that we are done cleaning fish, we went to get something to eat. Subway was the choice of the day for dinner. Next, we went and got some ice and then on to Bob Hall Pier.
Once we got to BHP, it was difficult to find a spot. There were so many people on the beach even though it was later in the day. The sand was much more difficult to maneuver through than last year. No worries for us as we were in 4wd vehicles. Somehow, we managed to find a small place to squeeze our trucks into. Once we were parked, we pulled out the chairs to sit along side the beach. Some people that were doing the BHP outing came out the night before to camp. As I saw kayakers show up, I went to meet everyone. As it got later in the evening, everyone just sat around chatting. The ocean was calming down. This was a good sign for the next day.
FINALLY, the day has come! The BHP outing has arrived. People were arriving and starting to get their things ready on the yaks for today.
Around 6:45 am, I called a meeting to answer questions that anyone might have and to explain a few safety things to the new people. Most people managed to have a VHF radio so that was good. Right after a few ground rules were explained and all questions were answered, it was time to hit the water!
I hung behind in case anyone turtled and I needed to provide assistance. To my surprise, nobody turtled. The surf was down more so than Saturday. Saturday wasn’t bad so you can imagine how nice it was for Sunday. I will say that the swells were higher than predicted. The winds kept things to where it wasn’t hot. There was an overcast until about 9 am. The water visibility was still the same as on Saturday. The one element that wasn’t nice to us was the current. The current was moving! For the paddle yakers, the current made for a very good workout. If you were in a peddle yak, the current was of no issue. If you caught a fish on Sunday, by the time you brought the fish onto the yak, you would have drifted quite a way from your original spot from where you were. There were a few others still rigging up to launch that arrived late. I went ahead and launched. After I made it through the surf, I got my yak settled in for catching fish. I didn’t start trolling until about 20 foot of water. When I was in 25 foot of water, I heard Bryce on the radio hook up. He was in 35 foot of water. At first, I thought that Bryce landed the first king of the day. While Bryce was doing his thing, I talked to some people that were in a Hobie Oasis. The individuals are a husband and wife couple. They are from Australia. I asked them if they were having any luck. They told me they already both hooked up and caught kings. I was impressed and happy for them!
As I was taking a few photos, all of sudden my reel starts to scream! It was on!! After the fight was all over, I couldn’t believe how long it took to land this king. The king was not big but fought very well for its size. It was definitely a wonderful fight and I was pleased with the outcome. The entire time I was fighting this fish, my two trolling lines got caught into each other. As the married couple watched me try and get things untangled while a fish was on the line, similar to what Prof. Salt was going through in his most recent video, I finally managed to free the lines and get the king in. Right after I pulled in the king, I had the other line in the water tighten up. It was a double and I didn’t even realize it. This fish wasn’t pulling very hard which is why I never knew I had another fish on the line. After getting this fish in, I landed a small atlantic sharpnose shark. This fish was small enough to where I was able to handle it by hand so that I could get the hooks off of the shark. This shark was released safely. The married couple were through for the day and starting to head back to shore. We said our good byes and back to fishing I went. Not long after I rigged up two more ribbon fish onto my hooks, I got a radio call from my buddy Bruce. It turned out that one of the paddle yakers were having a hard time staying up with the current. After describing the kayak, I knew who it was. Bruce stayed with the kayak keeping me posted in case if I was needed. I decided to not go to the rig in case my assistance was needed closer in. Besides, Bryce was closer to the rig than I was. He could deal with anything out that way if needed. Bruce radioed in to let me know that the paddle yaker made it to the surf. If you are looking at BHP from the water, everyone launched to the left of the pier. The paddle yaker made it through the surf and was on land to the right of the pier when he came in. He had drifted quite a way off. No worries, he did the smart thing and went to land instead of trying to fight the current and exhausting himself to where it wasn’t safe. During his time on the water heading to the surf, I left this person on his phone a voicemail asking for him to give me a call once he made it to shore. Once this person arrived on shore, he walked to get his truck. As he was walking, he called to let me know he made it in safely. I radioed Bruce to let him know that the yaker was safely back on shore. The paddle yaker brought his truck down to where his yak was and loaded up from there. I’m glad to hear he was safely on shore and he was in good spirits!
As all this is going on, I landed another king in about the same depth as Bryce did earlier. The key depth was around 35 foot and the fish were down low. I told everyone on the radio about this. Some came to get into the action while others stayed at the rig and tried their luck out there. Not many came out to where I was though so I wasn’t able to get any pics on my end. I did meet up with this one guy. He was on a Hobie PA 14. He hadn’t hooked up yet. While we were talking, I got another run. I gave him my rod to bring in the fish. It was another atlantic sharpnose shark. Even though it wasn’t a king, at least he wasn’t going to be skunked. I was happy that he was able to hook up. I told him that if he stuck with me and I got another run, he could bring it in. Somehow, we were separated and I didn’t see him again except in the distance.
As the day progressed, a guy named Sam hooked up. Sam has the exact same kayak and color as Bryce. They both roll in a Native Slayer Propel. Sam hooked into a shark.
Sam is the one that made the YouTube video that I posted in this thread. Thanks, Sam, for sending me that. Even though I don’t have many pics to show of the outing, I would say that about half of everyone that came out caught at least one king. A total of 30 ish people showed up to the outing. That’s pretty good considering that I had canceled and rescheduled the outing for the following weekend. Then, I turned around and put the outing back on the intended weekend but moved it a day later. When things like that happen, we will lose people. I had to make these changes though for the safety of everyone. For those that made it out, we had a great time! For those that couldn’t make it due to the changes, I totally understand and I look forward to seeing you on the water down the line. If you want to hit the water sometimes, just give me a call and we will see about hooking up. My number is listed publicly in the thread.
Bryce was ready to turn around and head back around 11 am. There were a few people still at the rig. I radioed to everyone asking that whoever is the last one to leave the rig and get back to shore, give me a call. Later in the day as we were driving back to Houston, I received that call. Thanks to the individual for keeping me posted on things. As we made it back to shore and started to get things packed, my buddy Mike Flores, 2015 BWKC cobia winner, showed up. He dropped by to say hi. It was great to see Mike.
Bryce met Mike last year when we all fished together a few times. I introduced Mike to Troy. As we all were talking, we kept on packing. Soon, everyone parted ways. We went back to Billings Bait Stand to clean our fish. The cooler wasn’t as full as the day before. It was much easier to handle. After we cleaned our fish, Troy headed back to Houston. Bryce and I had to make a short detour to Rockport. After Rockport, we headed back to Houston. We made good time as we got back before it was dark. Bryce stopped at my place first so that I could get my car. From there we went to my storage. After we unloaded, it was too hot to clean gear so I headed home to clean up. I figured I would clean up gear later in the evening on Monday when it’s much cooler outside. Bryce headed home and at this point, the day was over and that concludes the 2019 BHP outing.
Thanks to everyone for showing up to this outing. It was a pleasure to meet everyone. I look forward to seeing you guys out on the water. If you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to give me a call. 832-588-7091
Have a great summer and Tight Lines!!
PS: IF YOU WERE AT THIS OUTING AND MANAGED TO TAKE A FEW PICS, PLEASE POST THEM ON THIS THREAD. THANKS.