Thursday, April 2, 2015

The greatest fishing story that I'll ever tell...

One of my best friends, Chris Goodwin suggested that I post this story on my blog ... Eight years ago I bought my first kayak. It was an 11 foot el cheapo and it was second hand but man I was in heaven. I took it on vacation to Cape San Blas and I had grand plans of catching redfish in the bay and kings in the gulf. This particular day I had been over in the bay and had some decent luck but made it to our rental by 10 so I could spend some time with Amber. Around 2 ish she decided to head up to take a nap and turned me loose to fish. I decided to go off the beach and try my luck with the king mackerels that I knew were swimming around, just waiting for one of my baits. I launched clearing the small breakers and caught a few blue runners on a sabiki, hooked one onto a rod I had a king rig attached to and started trolling. A king rig is a short piece of solid wire leader usually around 25-40 pound test with two treble hooks a few inches apart. You hook the baitfish in the nose and the back, toss it out and let it swim around, hopefully drawing the attention of a nice king. I was alone so I only went a short distance out...maybe 300 yards. There was no wind and I was just drifting along with the current watching my line when that most awesome sound on the planet broke the silence...a screaming drag. I let the fish run for a while then set the hook. It seemed heavy and put up a nice fight for a little bit but then gave out. I suspected a shark and that's what it was. He was was a blacktip about 2.5' long and the closer it got I could see that he was foul hooked in it's side. I normally cut my leader because I am afraid of the "what can happen will happen" thing. Its been my experience that's usually the soup du jour for me. But hey, the hooks are clearly away from it's mouth and I can save me $3.50 by tiring this little fellow out and use my pliers to pop the hooks out. While I was letting the small blacktip tire out on the end of my line about 15 yards away, he was drawing the attention of something even bigger and more hungry than he was.I was about to finish reeling him in since he was on the surface and an almost atomic explosion erupted. The small shark was engulfed by what seemed to be a whirlpool but had a large shark under it. When I say large I want to add that this booger was impressive. I guesstimate 8' and thick like a bulldog also he was completely in control. My line went limp and for moment I sat wondering what had just happened. I lifted my rodtip and noticed that something was still on my line. I started to reel it in, noticing it had no fight, the half eaten front third of my little blacktip came drifting towards me with half of its guts hanging out of it. I was still in amazement when big boy came back for the rest of his meal. This time he got all of it including the hooks. Now the drag is screaming in a most superb way, my kayak is starting to move with it and I'm ready to go back in to the house for a turkey sandwich and a ginger ale. I put an end to this nonsense quickly by tightening my drag all of the way and pointing the rodtip at the fish...snap, the line broke. I reeled in my slack line placed my rod in its holder and slowly backed the hell away. When I determined I was far enough from the area I picked up the paddling pace and got the hell out of Dodge. Once on the beach I drug my boat up to the house, gathered my tackle and went inside. Amber was sound asleep but woke up asking why I was back so soon. I told her the same story and her response was, "that's awesome, how many people get to experience that?" I agreed but added that I'd be happy if I never see it again. I learned a good bit of info from that experience. First...just cut the leader, it'll rust out in a matter of days and $3:50 is , well, just $3.50. The second is, after catching a fish don't dangle your hands or feet in the water because there is a good chance something bigger is interested in all of the commotion. Third...a big bull shark is an impressive beast, think Drago from Rocky 4. Lastly I learned that I am not the king of the hill when I paddle out into the blue and I need to act accordingly. I still go offshore, much farther than that trip. I love every second of it but I'm smarter and my mind is open to "whatever can happen will happen" and I try to plan for the rarest situations. Have fun out there but be prepared and be safe. Peace