Before this week, the only time I've fished from a kayak was for roosterfish in Costa Rica. That all changed Thursday when I witnessed local pods of bunker getting ripped apart by bluefish and striped bass just out of casting range from the beach. A major thunderstorm had just passed through and the radar now looked clear for the evening. I sped home and hastily put my father's ocean kayak into service. This beast of a kayak is not intended for fishing, but it would have to do under the circumstances. A buddy helped me launch it and also used binoculars from shore to assist in locating the traveling melee.
Using a weighted treble hook, it was hard to miss while snagging through the schools of bait. As soon as I would hook a bunker, I would let it swim around, all the while bleeding and attracting predators. It didn't take long for customers to find my baits. However, I missed the first few takers, most certainly bluefish, as my bunker came back missing their lower halves. While you always hear anglers say "don't leave fish to find fish", my buddy yelled from shore that he spotted a much larger pod of boiling fish about 150 yards away. I put down the rod and picked up the paddle and got to work. What the kayak lacked in maneuverability, it made up in speed. I reached the next spot in no time and was in business as soon as my line hit the water.
The next two hours were a bloody blur. There were gator bluefish demolishing bunker all around me and occasionally you could hear the telltale slurp of a bass that was picking up the scraps. I hooked, landed and lost enough 10 to 13-pound bluefish to last me a season, but it was bass that I was really after. During one hook-up, a heavy fish was fighting back unlike the others. Instead of violent head shakes, there were steady bulldogging pulls toward the bottom--I knew it was a striper. Sure enough, after a good battle I had a respectable linesider boat-side and I let out a victory whoop that fell on deaf ears. A few sailboats circled me enjoying the show, but I couldn't believe there were no boat anglers cashing in on the blitz. Tired, smelly and without sufficient lights, I left the fish biting as dark settled in. I made the paddle back to shore for a hero's welcome from shore-bound anglers who could only watch. I was a happy man and was sold on the kayak. Without one that day, I, too, would have been chomping at the bit from the beach. Needless to say, a fishing kayak of my own has been added to the wish list.
This trip cemented the fact that I "need" a kayak more suited to fishing and a video camera that mounts to a hat. Here is the usable footage that I captured with a hand-held camera during all the craziness. Crank up the volume and enjoy!