While we were getting ice, I spoke to Hosam. Hosam came to one of my earlier outings at Surfside this summer. He was already in Corpus when we made it back off of PINS and found a place to camp for the night. We met up with Hosam on a beach that didn't seem to get any police traffic. We were able to camp here for the night and not be far from the BHP beach line the next morning.
5:00 am arrives and we start getting ready. We all make our way on over to BHP. We arrive right on time, 6:00 am, and we make our way on down the beach line. We park our vehicles about 100 - 200 yards from the cement entrance to the BHP parking lot and that is where we were going to launch for the outing. Nathan, Mike, and myself proceeded to get out and prepare for the day. Shortly after, others arrived and did the same thing as well.
While everyone was getting things set up for the day, many noticed that off in the back of the ocean there was a nasty cloud. This cloud had a water spout forming. I went to check my app on the radar to see what was going on. It looked like this nasty weather was only supposed to be around until close to 7:30 am - 8:00 am. After that, we were supposed to have smooth weather for the duration of the day.
I went around talking to people to let them know that the outing was going to be delayed until the weather has cleared through. This gave everyone more time to prepare. Some were ready and decided to wade fish the surf.
Rick Fox caught a nice 26" red fish on a spoon. He was catching keeper fish before he even got the kayak wet, lol. WTG Rick, that was awesome!! As the storm kept on moving through the area, people kept on getting ready for the outing or they wade fished. After a short time, I figured it would be a good time to have a meeting with everyone. There were some new people at this outing, which is what this outing is for, so I wanted to talk to everyone about some of the do's and don'ts for fishing offshore.
Following the meeting, people finished the last of getting ready as the bad weather passing through was almost done. It really didn't hit us but I had to be safe and delay getting others on the water until I felt good about things.
Finally, I felt the adverse weather conditions had moved past us so I gave the green light for everyone to hit the water. It was time to fish!
I'm usually the last one to hit the water so that if there is anyone that turtles in the surf, I can assist with helping them to get back to land and set up to have another go at it. Only one person turtled that I am aware of. This person was in a Hobie Revo 13. When this person flipped, he ended up losing his 180 mirage drive. The drive was leashed but somehow came unleashed. I immediately went out to see if there was anything I could do. He got his yak back to shore. I spoke with him for a second and it was determined that he lost his drive on the second sand bar. On this day, the second sand bar was only 6" - 1' deep. I mentioned that we should try and find it since the second bar was so shallow. Once we got on the second sand bar, I went left and the other person went right. Within 30 second, Mike found the drive. I was excited for him and it wasn't even my drive, lol. That was a $1000 save! Mike was excited to find the drive as well, as would anyone in his situation.
Once Mike was back at shore, he got everything back on the yak and was ready to launch once again. Mike's son, Ryan, waited for him just past the breakers. We stayed in communication with him, via VHF radio, the entire time until Mike was ready to launch again. Mike was ready to go so this time I stayed near and helped him to time the sets. The surf wasn't bad but why hit the few rough ones when you can time it and make it out on the less aggressive sets. Mike and I took off and made it through the surf. There was only one problem after we made it past the surf. Mike was really tipsy in his kayak. It turns out his kayak had a fair amount of water in it from the turtle he had earlier. Mike was barely able to stay right side up at this point. I mentioned to Ryan to fish while we work out this issue. I got out my bilge pump and proceeded to bilge the water out the rear of the kayak. After getting out as much water as I could with the bilge pump, I got up on my knees on my yak and put all my weight on my hands leaning on the rear of his kayak. This made it where all the water went to the rear of the Revo 13. From here I sponged out all of the water. After 40 minutes of bilging and sponging, Mike was ready to fish. He felt much more stable now that all the water was out of the yak. After putting my sponge and bilge away, I was ready to fish myself.
This wasn't a day for me to fish. If I happen to fish, that was great. My main concern this day was making sure anyone and everyone was squared away if there were any issues that would come up. Mike and Ryan took off fishing. I decided that since the BHP was closed, I would troll out at the end of the pier. There is a nice deep highway out there that fish like to travel. I've even seen mahi there in past years. I was hoping that maybe I would get lucky and catch a fish there before heading toward the rig. Unfortunately, I had no such luck at the moment. After making a pass past the end of the pier, I turned and trolled on out to the rig.
Before I started to troll by the pier, I saw a few others make their way out and I caught a few photos.
As I am trolling, I see a few others far in the distance but I have still not had any runs. I was thinking that maybe the kings might be running deeper so I adjusted the depth of my baits to go deeper.
As I am trolling at different depths, I call out on the radio to see if anyone had caught anything. I believe there was one run but ended up with nothing. I believe the fish spit the hook before that person could even see the fish. After trolling the entire time, I am finally to the first rig. I have not caught any fish yet. A few people are following some birds working the water as there was a nice bait ball. Rick ended up catching a few bonita in this bait ball, great shark bait! Rick was on a roll as he was one of the few at this time to catch any fish. Rick caught the red fish back at the shore and the few bonita.
Most people were trolling the first rig when I arrived but there were a few that decided to hit the further rigs.
Just before I arrived, Ryan was approaching the first rig with his father.
While Rick was kicking it on the bait ball and catching bonita, someone managed to catch a shot of this catch.
Soon after, the bite started to pick up a bit. A few people started to catch some kings. Kyle managed a king. Other people caught some kings. Not everyone turned in pics but hopefully they will post their catch on this report.
While Kyle is bringing in his king fish, I'm fishing around the rig and watching for any signs of fish, bait balls, diving birds, slicks, etc...
This is Nathan's first time to a rig on a kayak and so he is taking in the moment.
This is AJ catching a king. He built the kayak he is in. AJ caught a king earlier but I don't think anyone caught a photo of it. This is a photo I caught of his second king of the day.
By now everyone is starting to get into the groove of how to troll for kings. More kings are being caught. The bite wasn't great on this day but people were catching kings. A few sharks were caught but nothing of size of anything to brag about.
I managed to be going by this one person when he was on a fish. I could tell it was a king by the way it was running. After this person managed to bring in his king, I caught a quick pic of it. It was a nice king!
I continued on trolling some more. While I was trolling, I tried to get in as many pics as I could of the people that were fishing the rig and the ones that were catching fish as well. Here were a few more people trolling and catching.
AJ probably caught the most kings this day. Here is AJ hooked up on a king of which when he brought it in, he didn't want to take home more than one king so he asked who wanted it. If no takers, he was going to release it. Since nobody said anything, I took him up on the offer. My neighbor wanted a king so I figured that if I didn't catch anything this day that this king would go to my neighbor.
People kept on trolling the rig and far out around it trying to catch whatever wanted to jump on the line. Here are some pics of a few more trolling. One person even caught a snapper at the rig. It was just barely under the limit so he took a pic then released it.
Another person caught a snapper at the rig but again barely under-sized, so close but no dice.
Some people sent me some pics of others trolling in the open and even close to the rig from far out facing land. Great pic and a great day!
The bite was slow but continuous. The kings would bite every so often. Out of the 40+ kayakers that showed up to this outing, I would say that around half caught at least one fish. Some caught more than one. The other half of the kayakers caught nothing or something that either popped off or broke the line. I ended up catching nothing this day. I honestly wasn't there to catch but it would have been nice to catch something. My main focus, again, was to ensure that everyone was having fun and nobody got hurt. Besides, my fun day was the day before (see prior report PINS for those details).
There was one person that kept on catching live bait for anyone and everyone out at the rig most of the morning. He was on what we called the "Banana Boat." The live bait he was catching, but not limited to, was blue runner (candy bait for just about anything that is pelagic). People were throwing those on their line and catching fish. You just can't go wrong with a live blue runner!
By now it was about time to start heading back. This was a good time to do so as the swells and current started to pick up a little. Some people went out in a paddle yak. I didn't want them to have to work extremely hard getting back due to currents. It was late in the day and everyone has had solid time on the water catching fish. It was time to head back. A few decided to hang behind for about 30 minutes longer and then they would head back. I kept tabs on them, via VHF radio, until everyone was back on shore. For the others that went to the further rigs, I kept tabs on them by cell phone. Everyone kept trolling all the way back until the surf zone. A few caught kings along the way.
Ryan caught a few still shots of him coming back into the surf zone heading back to shore.
One guy brought this fish in and wasn't sure what it was. After confirming with him what it was, the fish was released back into the water. This is a barred grunt (great cut bait for catching reef species).
I decided to enter back into the surf zone by jumping in the water right after clearing the 4 gut. The surf wasn't bad but it was hot and I felt like taking a dip in the water. The water felt great! I made it back to shore with no issues. Once I arrived back to shore, I visited with a few others before packing up and leaving to clean the king that was given to me. For those of you that don't know, Billings Bait Stand has a great cleaning station. You just have to be sure to get there later in the day after the guides have made it in there and cleaned the fish for their clients. It can get busy there at times. People staggered in at different times so it made it tough on getting photos. I did, however, manage to have a few people send me a pic of their catch(es).
There were others that caught fish but those are the ones that sent me pics. All in all, it was a great day! Even though some didn't catch anything, they ended up learning how to go offshore. Everyone made it back to shore safely, including the ones that went to the far rigs. After packing up and saying our good-byes, Nathan, Mike, and I headed on our way. What a great day for fishing, meeting some new people, and seeing people catching fish they have never had the opportunity to do on a kayak before. It was awesome!
After having to reschedule this trip many times since June 6th due mostly to COVID circumstances, we were finally able to get this trip in. Some of the changes in plans were due to bad conditions and another time was due to a hurricane. It was amazing that we were able to get this trip in at all. We started with 178 sign-ups and by the time this trip was held at the end of the summer, we had around 40 people show up. That's pretty good considering the circumstances we had in front of us. Thanks to everyone for coming out to the outing. I hope everyone had a great time. If you did, I am certain I will see you on the water down the line. If you want to fish offshore kayak fishing with me sometimes, I'm just a phone call away. Until then, tight lines!