I have always found it incredible how a person can make up their mind and know an undeniable truth in a split instance. Every time you feel a thump and that moment as you reel down to set the hook, as soon as you jerk back you know immediately if you have a big fish or not. There is no better feeling in the world. My favorite indication is after setting the hook and watching the bow of my kayak swinging towards the fish. If she is dragging you around and you have wakes coming off the kayak, it is a solid fish.
I have not been able to fish as much as I would like to be due to 2 weddings this month and also, lets be honest, it is to damn hot! At the first of the month I was the usher in a friend of mines wedding but there was a north wind that started Friday morning so the next day, before the wedding, I was headed to the surf. I had a few friends that called me and were headed down there so I was going to meet them at daylight. The wind was a little more than I would of liked but it was still a beautiful morning to be on the water.
Not long after taking this picture we hear some water crashing and we all turn around to witness something spectacular. About 200 yards away a group of Jack Crevalle had cornered a group of shad and was blowing up the water. This is the second time I have witnessed this and is truly a remarkable sight. Not long after that we see a guy with his rod doubled over and it is not letting up. 30 minutes later he is still fighting this fish so we knew he had a big Jack. For anyone who has never had the luck to hang into one, they do not give up easy. All of us have not had any luck all morning and just can not find the trout. Maybe an hour after we had seen the first school of Jacks, about 75 yards away from us were 4 guys and right in front of them another school popped up. The next thing you see is one rod bend over solid for about 10 seconds and then it pops back up straight and this occurs to all 4 guys. I guess they were not rigged up to catch big, powerful fish such as a Jack. Around 9 or so a buddy of mine hangs into a fish and we all knew he had a good one. The screaming drag was also a dead giveaway. Same thing though, 10-15 seconds of losing line and almost getting spooled before the line broke. Not long after that we started to wade back to the truck and I caught the one and only trout of the morning.
Last weekend the Saltwater Boys and I have had a trip planned to head to Grand Isle, Louisiana to fish the “Ride the Bull” tournament. I myself was really excited, for one it is new water to fish, and two it is a bull red tournament so your going to have to catch big fish. The minimum size red you can enter is 27″. So it is literally go big or go home! We pull out Thursday afternoon and check out the weather there and it is going to be North at 3 in the morning. Well one of the guys mentions that there is a few rigs in Grand Isle that are very close to the shore and we could probably catch snapper there. This of course gets all of our attention and assures us of having a completely awesome experience this weekend. So, Friday we are up at dawn and drive across to the beach to see what exactly is waiting for us. We spot a rig and decide that is the one and we start to unload. Before we do so though I had to snap a picture of the sunrise because honestly it was astounding!
We push off the shore and start our journey towards the rig. All of us have 2 oz. Rat-L-Traps we are trolling on our way there and probably a mile out Brent’s rod starts screaming and he has a fish on. After getting it up to the boat he has probably a 5′ shark and he breaks off before they can remove the Trap. After an hour of paddling to the rig I start to think that we are getting close but we are not. I realize we are almost there when off in the distance I can hear the annoying beep of the siren on the rig. After the first hour all we had caught was one shark and the snapper were not to be found in the area. Soon though we start to catch some sharks and they were all around 4′, so when you hung into one the fight was on! Some of them were spinner sharks so once they figured out they were caught they would always do a little aerial display which made them exciting to catch. Between the 4 of us we had caught around 20 sharks. Almost made it worthwhile for the paddle there and back, but not going to lie, it was exhausting.
After we get everything loaded up we head back to the cabin for a much needed nap. When everyone got up we headed to the captains meeting for a dinner they had and the GoPro video contest. I had entered a video of mine and they chose it along with 9 others for the top 10 to show at the meeting. At the end of it my video was chosen for the “Best Catch” theme and won me a brand new GoPro3. At the end we headed back for more sleep for tournament day. At the meeting they said there was 732 kayakers registered and will be on the water in the morning. Ride the Bull is now the worlds largest kayak fishing tournament and I was going to be apart of it.
We get everything rigged up that night and it is time for bed. Early to rise and anxious to get on the water and well, be a world champion! We are not far from the weigh-in so we decide to paddle there and get in the horde of kayaks for take-off. The horn blows and everyone starts paddling and for the first minute or so it is chaos! No troubles though and we all get on a point, anchor off, and toss out a crab and a mullet on my other line. Now we wait. In the meantime I talk to a few guys surrounding me and swap a few fishing stories. About 2 hours into it we decide to move towards the bridge because the only fish weighed in were near the pylons there. An hour into it, about 100 yards away, I see a kayaker hook up, and then another, and another. They are right up current for me and I just knew this school was coming towards my bait and I was going to be next. Well I was wrong and kind of disappointed because nothing happened. It was a long day on the water with not catching anything and seeing very few fish caught. Out of 732 kayakers only 24 fish were weighed in. Winning weight was 27 lbs. and was caught by a girl on a stand-up paddle board. Just goes to show you that anyone can win this tournament.
Really cool experiences lately between fishing offshore at a rig and getting to be a part of the worlds largest kayak tournament. Also getting to encounter multiple schools of feeding, ravenous Jacks is not something that many people get to witness. The way I look at it there are people that work for National Geographic that wait days and months just to capture that 30 seconds of mayhem. The past month I have not found the numbers but I have found big, quality fish. Next time you set the hook, hold on tight because you never know what is lurking below the waters surface.