Extreme Kayak Fishing Tournament-Summer Slam Series 2 -12 August 2017 - Pompano Bch

I had not been fishing in over a month, and between a failing fishfinder, downrigger clutch, broken flag, and stripped steering lever -- I spent the whole night repairing gear and had less than an hours sleep before getting up at 330am to launch off the beach in darkness to fish for bait before the tournament started. I saw one other angler doing the same, and we both got clobbered by a rain squall ! Some other anglers had success catching goggle eye baits on the beach. My luck was poor, so I took full delivery of pre-purchased goggle eyes from Hillsboro Inlet Bait. The Extreme Kayak Fishing Tournament Launch off was at 7:15am, and thankfully the water was flat calm with very little current.

No current frequently means no bites, but that was not the case for many as I heard angler after angler call the help boat on the VHF radio requesting photos of their catches of King Mackerel and even a few Wahoo !


My morning was plagued by equipment failures, and I spent almost as much time focusing on repairing my gear as I did fishing. By 11am, I had only taken a few Little Tunny, and had nothing to weigh-in for the tournament. I decided to head out deeper to try to target a wahoo, Blackfin or Mahi. Finally at 11:20am my deep live bait was eaten and I gaffed a fat King Mackerel.


The King was a good entry, but I would need one more qualifying fish if I wanted a shot of being on the stage. I continued my routine fishing mode of slow trolling one live bait on the surface, and one down deep, while casting ahead working a vertical jig through the water column. I removed the wire from the surface bait hoping to fool a hardware shy blackfin. Around noon, a Blackfin Tuna ate my jig on the sink, and put me in the running.

I was tempted to try a different area, But I was running out of time -- the tournament ended at 2pm. My surface bait was bit off, so I replaced it with a wired bait. I kept metering large marks chasing my jig up on the fish finder, but no takers. I decided to just keep circling the same spot until the time runs out.


About 20 minutes later while preparing to change baits, the deep bait rod bent over ! The drag was singing while half the spool emptied off my Avet LX reel loaded with 40lb mono !
My heart leaped with adrenaline, but I stayed calm as big sharks often mimic a good fish by taking a strong run out to sea.
After reeling up my jigging rod, I peddled chasing the fish from 240 to 340 ft of water. I leaned back hard on the fish several times to see if I could detect a head shake, and felt none. No head shakes usually implies a shark, but I also remembered a huge wahoo that was so heavy it felt like I had snagged the bottom. I assumed a shark, but was as cautious as possible. At 60ft down, I could see the stripes and started feeling emotional :) ! I kept a light steady strain on the line while preparing to gaff. The fish conked out -- uncontrollably swimming straight up with the head coming out of the water, then rolling over upside down floating on the surface. What an awesome feeling to sink the gaff into the biggest Wahoo I had ever personally seen !!




It was the heaviest fish I had ever put on the kayak and how sweet it was to catch it during an Extreme Kayak Fishing Tournament !! After a quick photo session with the help boat, I lightened up the kayak as much as possible and started the 40 min. Peddle in. which I had 50 minutes time to complete before the 2pm deadline.


Even though I had plenty of food, I had drank my 3.5 liters of water and a gatorade and was feeling heat stroke. 10 minutes into the peddle, my right leg locked up with a painful cramp. I peddled for a little with my hands, and thankfully the cramp subsided and I was able to use my legs to peddle the rest of the way in without passing out ! Special thanks to Ryan Jones of Palm Beach Nautical Ventures and Thomas Kuznik of the South Florida Kayak Fishing Club for helping with my kayak equipment and sharing their hydration drinks on the beach.

Congratulations ! to all the other winners: 2nd - Jamie Bodlovic (59.1lb Wahoo), 3RD - Benny Scoca (African Pompano, Blackfin and 2 King Mackerel for 49.2lbs) 4th Eugene Mora (48.7lb Wahoo), 5th Leandro Pera (King Mackerel and Wahoo for 44.7lbs), 6th Thomas Kuhns (27.3lb King Mackerel), 7th William Centrone ( 2 King Mackerel for 24.7lbs), 8th Remel Sheikh (2 King Mackerel 24.7lbs), 9th Michele Venarchick (2 King Mackerel 24.3lbs), 10th Mauricio Giosa (King Mackerel and Blackfin Tuna 24.2lbs), 11th Kevin Quinn (Blackfin Tuna 20.5lbs), Trash Can Slam - Gabe Pinkston (15.4lb Barracuda), Ladies Division- Michelle Briley(12.6lb King Mackerel), Tuna Calcutta - Benny Scoca.


Special thanks to Joe and Maria Hector and the entire EKFT staff for doing a super job of providing a world class kayak fishing tournament !! Winning one of their tournaments makes one feel like they just won the Indy 500 !!


Marco Lasprilla of the EKFT staff was a life-saver by pre-lifting the wahoo for many of the stage photos. I was physically weak at that time, and in a bit of a daze from the heat and all that had transpired. Thanks to anyone else that may have helped me -- heat stroke makes the details foggy. After the ceremonies, I walk a block past my car before realizing I had passed it. Somebody walked off with my king mackerel and blackfin tuna, and a lady tried to take my wahoo -- explaining to my wife that I had told her that I did not want it ?! Recovery has been slow. I spent Sunday in recovery, Monday with a wicked headache and a bag of ice on my head.


Even though I tried to shake it off by going out Monday night to enjoy some wahoo cuisine, I had a low grade fever and sweats the next 2 nights. May this experience be a warning for other kayak anglers over 50. We may feel young and be in relatively good shape, but we are extra vulnerable to heat stroke. Once under the influence of heat stroke, one does not think clearly. One might drink their water too fast or forget to ask the help boat if they can spare a bottle of cold water ?


I have been participating in the Extreme Kayak Fishing Tournaments since I first purchased a Hobie Pro Angler 14 Kayak in 2014. I have placed a couple times in lower positions, but this was my first win, and what a sweet one it was ! Heaviest fish ever weighed in, Heaviest Cumulative weight for a Summer Slam Series -- Plus winning the Kingfish Calcutta ! -- thankfully the guys who had bigger kings failed to sign-up. Also won the $500 YakAttack Wahoo division for the biggest wahoo, which also happened to be the heaviest wahoo ever taken in an Extreme Kayak Fishing Tournament. Total winnings were $6900 ! Not bad for a kayak !

Replies

  • BasstarBasstar Posts: 438 Deckhand
    Excellent post John and an extremely interesting story.

    Thanks for sharing the guts and the glory, the behind the scenes struggles, and the warning to others.

    Congratulations Sir and hopefully this will be the first of many victories.
  • ProduktProdukt Posts: 592 Officer
    Thanks for the report and tournament details. Awesome work John, you fish more intensely than most of us and you deserve that win. Awesome wahoo, I remember that feeling!
  • mjrudd1mjrudd1 Posts: 250 Deckhand
    Wow, what a great catch, congratulations. Too bad the heatstroke damped the enjoyment but thanks for sharing the details.:applause
  • jcanracerjcanracer Posts: 4,248 Moderator
    I apologize for not recapping the tournament earlier this week, I've been busy at my new job. However, I would not have written such a great account of the events as John did here! Excellent report bro!

    I am so freakin' happy that it was not only a local who won, but somebody who I think is one of the hardest working kayak anglers in this county. That's not me brown-nosing, this guy really does put in the time for the reports he posts here and on Facebook. I once asked what his secret was: but whereas I spend 6 hrs out on the water on a calm weekend, he's easily out there 10-12 hours at a time. You gotta put in the time if you want to progress, and here's the proof.

    I look forward to seeing you on the water again John.
    Hobie Kayak angler for life!
  • palmbeachpetepalmbeachpete Posts: 2,618 Captain
    :thumbsup Way to go John.
  • davederbdavederb Posts: 887 Officer
    Man was that report good! Love you way you detailed everything! Great job sticking it out and overcoming with a huge win! Still cant get over the size of that hoo. Simply awesome. Congrats again!
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC] Air Force Veteran 93'-00' ~621st TALCE~

    2017 & 2014 Hobie Pro Angler 12’s
  • John McKroidJohn McKroid Posts: 1,479 Officer
    Basstar wrote: »
    Excellent post John and an extremely interesting story.

    Thanks for sharing the guts and the glory, the behind the scenes struggles, and the warning to others.

    Congratulations Sir and hopefully this will be the first of many victories.

    Thanks, More victories is nice thought :)
    Produkt wrote: »
    Thanks for the report and tournament details. Awesome work John, you fish more intensely than most of us and you deserve that win. Awesome wahoo, I remember that feeling!

    Thanks Alex, ....I bet you remember that feeling ! (all 90lbs of it ! )
    mjrudd1 wrote: »
    Wow, what a great catch, congratulations. Too bad the heatstroke damped the enjoyment but thanks for sharing the details.:applause

    Thanks !
    jcanracer wrote: »
    I apologize for not recapping the tournament earlier this week, I've been busy at my new job. However, I would not have written such a great account of the events as John did here! Excellent report bro!

    I am so freakin' happy that it was not only a local who won, but somebody who I think is one of the hardest working kayak anglers in this county. That's not me brown-nosing, this guy really does put in the time for the reports he posts here and on Facebook. I once asked what his secret was: but whereas I spend 6 hrs out on the water on a calm weekend, he's easily out there 10-12 hours at a time. You gotta put in the time if you want to progress, and here's the proof.

    I look forward to seeing you on the water again John.

    Thanks for the kind words Chris. I won't deny it, If I decide to go fishing, it is usually an all day ordeal. It just takes one good fish to make the difference between a bad and good day out, and sometimes I spend the whole day trying to find that one fish :fishing
    :thumbsup Way to go John.

    Thank you Pete !
  • John McKroidJohn McKroid Posts: 1,479 Officer
    davederb wrote: »
    Man was that report good! Love you way you detailed everything! Great job sticking it out and overcoming with a huge win! Still cant get over the size of that hoo. Simply awesome. Congrats again!

    Thanks Dave, I had nothing to show until 1120am,so yes, it does pay to stick it out till the end:fishing
  • inshore daveinshore dave Posts: 535 Officer
    Excellent job John. Congrats on a fine well deserved win.
    2014 Hobie PA14-Dune
  • FS ShelbyFS Shelby Posts: 686 Officer
    Amazing report, thanks for sharing with the FS forum community! Congrats on the win!

    You will now be entered in our forum giveaway! Keep posting new reports until September 31st for more chances to win the fishing trip of a lifetime with Fishing Nosara in Costa Rica!

    Check out http://www.floridasportsman.com/2017/06/12/win-costa-rica-fishing-adventure/ for more details.
  • quatinquatin Posts: 593 Officer
    Nice report.
  • Hobie AnglerHobie Angler Posts: 317 Deckhand
    Absolute awesomeness! A fish of a lifetime and an experience you will not forget. Congratulations!
  • John McKroidJohn McKroid Posts: 1,479 Officer
    Excellent job John. Congrats on a fine well deserved win.

    Thanks Dave -- putting in some time paid off.
    FS Shelby wrote: »
    Amazing report, thanks for sharing with the FS forum community! Congrats on the win!

    Thanks

    quatin wrote: »
    Nice report.
    Thanks
    Absolute awesomeness! A fish of a lifetime and an experience you will not forget. Congratulations!

    Agree....will never forget that one, Thanks for the congrats.

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