Tuesday, September 8, 2009

So Much Fish. Something about time.

So it has been a little while since I last made an entry. Ah, the well known joy of trying to keep up with yet another thing in your life. When I last left, dear reader, we were going to talk about a Sunday afternoon trip on the 8th of August. My second semi-solo, off of Pacific City (PC).

We will pick up where we left off.
Steelheadr, another member of the ever growing NWKA flotilla and I met up at PC around 8am. The tentative plan was that steelheadr would be going after lingzilla, and I would follow him around. We launched into some choppy water, and it was choppy for most of the morning.

We got everything unstowed, and I discovered that my basically brand new Shimano Cardiff wasn't working - very little drag resistance and it wouldn't retrieve properly. I was not going to catch a fish with that, so I switched over to the spinning reel/rod that I used on Wednesday.

My goop job on my transducer puck worked, and so I could read bottom and pickup fishy signals. That was cool. Not truly helpful, but cool none the less.

We started out on the NE edge of the haystack, and worked our way a little towards the buoy. We both hooked up at about the same time, and I reeled in a double of blacks - first double, wooohooo, and one of them was the biggest rockfish that I ended up catching today.

We scooted over to the west side of the haystack, and promptly got blown southbound by the wind. Between the wind and the current it was difficult to accurately target anything, drifting too fast.

After a couple of minutes, I snagged up something fierce. I think I spent about ten minutes (maybe more) trying to get unsnagged. I finally did after getting southbound of the snag, and building up a head of steam going northbound. Which snapped the line. And I had just put on a fresh swimbait body. Oh well.

I think steelheadr hooked up a couple of rockies while I was losing my gear, and then he snagged as well, and ended up breaking off. There is something about 500 yards westbound of the haystack that didn't appear as structure on the sonar, and was 90 feet down. Whatever it was, it now has at least two shrimp flies and a 3 oz. jighead as part of it.

We futzed around a little more, and then started north in the general direction of the buoy. I had a couple of hits, but everything shook off. Then I got a solid hookup, and it turned out to be an underling. Back in the water it went.

Steelheadr packed it in around noon, and I decided that 2 fish wasn't going to cut it, so I stayed out. I drifted over to the zone in between the buoy and the haystack, and about 5 minutes after steelheadr headed in, I hooked up a third black rockfish. Kinda on the small side, but I ain't complaining. The next one that came up was a bit bigger. And then I snagged, and started driving northbound to see if I could unsnag. I felt the jig unsnag, and then it felt like I snagged again, but this time there was a headshake. Reeled in another underling, and this one was only just (21 1/2"). So close.

I picked up two more rockfish before I decided I should probably head in. Packed everything up, and got about 100 yards offshore. Solid wall of breakers - the northerly end of the beach included. And the breakers where 20-30 yards off shore. Crap. Surfer I am not.

I picked a line that would take me near my car, and into what looked like smaller water. Well, it wasn't. I tried to follow a wave in, as is the general advice on surf landings, but since the Outback tracks like a pig while under paddle, I decided to go in with the rudder down to help with some control. It helped me track, but having to adjust the tiller meant I wasn't paddling as hard as I should have to stay on the back of the wave. I lost momentum, and then heard the crash behind me.

I got flipped somewhere between 15 and 20 yards offshore. I held onto the yak for a split second, and then thought better of it. The wave took the yak towards the beach, and I got stuck in the breaker zone - my PFD was doing its job, which meant my feet couldn't stay on the bottom, and I suck at swimming in waves. So I did my best to keep my cool, and duck under the breakers. When I was about 30 feet from the shore I tried to flip my kayak over. No dice, and I was still in the impact zone. So I let it go again. everything that wasn't bungeed or tied down had taken off. I had spotted my gaff right as I popped up the first time, and no way was I going to let that go. So I grabbed that and the paddle. The DFW checker who was waiting for me on the beach grabbed my yak and flipped it over. When I got up to her, the only things missing were my hat and net. My hat was on the next wave in, and the net came in about 10 minutes later. I was very, very happy that the mirage drive was still attached by its bungee when I got up on the beach. The last 30 or so feet, that was all I could think about.

And then I realized that I purchased my drysuit yesterday. If I had been wearing the wader/mountaineering jacket combo, this report would probably be very different.

All in all, a pretty rocking day. I caught fish, I had fun, and I huli'd with no loss. Unfortunately, no one on the beach was taking photos or videos, so we cannot see what exactly happened to me. Which was probably pretty funny to watch.Next time.

More soon,

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