It finally happened, here is the story, also posted on http://www.aquahunters.com
Met up with lots of AI guys saturday in Haleiwa. Everyone got setup, we had a meeting and Jon, Tom, Leonard and Katie and I set out around 10:15am. We started by heading out toward mokuleia to keep out of the way of the canoe race, then once we were offshore from their route we headed toward waimea. I believe everyone was trolling some sort of lure or bait. As Katie and I got to deep enough water I tossed out the baits (katie tossed them out, haha) and I remember pulling both baits up next to the boat as we were moving and I was like "Damn, those baits look good!" Leonard headed farther toward mokuleia than the rest of us and as I was heading toward waimea with Jon I couldn't see Leonard anymore. So I swung back around to try and meet up with him. About 5 minutes after we head toward Leonard the far back with the new JollyGreen rig goes off. Katie says "is that fish?, are you stuck on the bottom", as line is peeling off like crazy, faster than it would peel off if you were stuck on the bottom (believe me, I would know). I was like "yeah that's a fish, a good one too!" I keeping peddling forward and as I realize the fish is hooked good I clear the other line and turn the boat to keep the fish between the rear and side of the yak, kind of like in a power boat. I grab the rod and feel some good head shakes and confirm to her it's definitely a fish! The line peels off to the power pro, at least 200 yards of mono out and I start cranking. I had to bump up the drag to make any gains on the fish. I started out just trying to reel then remembered to pump and reel. The fish cut around behind the yak a few times and I had katie helping me swap the rods around and keep the line clear, while trying to peddle and steer the yak to keep the fish in the back and the line tight. Had to switch sides a couple times too as the arms and shoulders would get exhausted pumping. The fish made another short run of 50 yards or so and then seemingly it was done. I just kept pumping and reeling and then I saw the leader, (14ft) then a big silver outline, to much silver to be a shark, then the dorsal fin, ONO baby! As soon as I saw the silver I asked if Katie could see the fish, and somehow she couldn't see it, then she freaks out, she thought she was looking for a little baby guy or something. I think the exact words were "Is it going to eat us!?" The ONO came right up and surfaced and when I saw it I was freaking out, it was massive, definitely the biggest fish I had brought in that close. Then I'm like "OH SHYT, no gaff, no fish bag, no kage" I've got a pair of orange fish gloves and an aluminum bat. All the sudden the girl who is never scared of anything and never makes plans is like what's the plan for getting that thing on the yak. I let it swim around the yak a dozen times, trying to tire it out. It really isn't doing much so I give katie the rod and tell her to lead the leader around the outrigger, the fish gets into position in front of the outrigger next to the main hull, I reach in with the fish glove, grab the tail(pray no shark comes to eat my fish as I grab it with my hand), pull that bad boy into my lap with the head laying on the outrigger bar, pinned by the mast, switch hands to the aluminum bat and give that sucker a few wacks to the noggin. It never had a chance to flip/flop/smack or anything, just silence. I scream on the radio "Hanapaa baby!" With the fish in my lap I'm like this thing is easily 25-30lbs. I have no place for the fish and with it laying between my legs I can't peddle. I check the rig, the ONO has a hook logged perfectly in the corner of it's mouth, solid hook up, those hooks aren't going anywhere! Luckily the wind was an onshore wind so I busted out the sail and started the downwind run back. I moved the fish so it was laying across the yak, head and tail laying over the sides and get my feet in the peddles with the fish under my legs. The peddling added another 1-2mph to our return. About 30 minutes later, we get to the beach and people from the canoe race see this monster come off a kayak and instantly another AI is sold, haha. Katie got some pics that perfectly capture the faces of two people in shock. We get some ice on the fish and I run down to get it weighed by Haleiwa Fishing Supply, closed....as we drive down, my friends from Waikiki randomly call me, "hey we just saw you drive by" I'm like "hey you want to see a fish!?!" I drive back to the general store meet up with them. They think I've got a small guy, I pop the trunk grab the tail and pull it out, they literally jump back in shock. We take a couple pictures and then since I knew I was leaving on a plane soon I had no way to properly clean and store the fish, so I sold it to Haleiwa Joes. Definitely did not want to do that for my first nice fish, I wanted ONO sash and steaks, but I didn't want it to go to waste either. The Chef at Haleiwa Joes weighed it in at 38lbs, I was shocked I was thinking 30lb. We went back to the bar-b-que and had the best afternoon in a long while, awesome food, good friends and story. Boogie was busy giving AI demos, looks like lots of new guys to join the club. It's definitely growing.
I really have to give it to Boogie & Trina, they are very patient and helpful and really know how to get people excited, you can tell he is really into the kayak fishing tours and does an excellent job. I don't know about the rest of the tour companies, I'm sure they are good too, but I would recommend at least trying a tour with him if you're new to the sport!
Again, I have to thank everyone on aquahunters for all their help, I'm sure there are so many tidbits I used in bringing the fish in that I learned from the site (people posting), from rigging to fish handling, not sure who to thank the most.
Also, a word to all the new guys like me, you don't have to fish in crazy weather or crazy unsafe areas to get fish. On this particular day it was nice calm winds, about 1-2ft of swell, and not too far out, with 4 other yaks at least in the area (friends). I think someone said it best on the site, it's all about tweaking a rig to your liking, being confident in what you are fishing, and happening to be in the right place at the right time. That day when I saw that rig and bait in the water was the first time I was confident in my rig.
Tight lines to everyone! I can't wait till I get back in two weeks to get out with some of you guys again!