Decided to fish Sandy Hook today, here in NJ, bay side launch (Horseshoe Cove) with a trip to the Rip (the northernmost tip of the island).
In the water around 7am, uber nice morning, quiet, warm etc.
Issue: when in the water, while my DYI trolling motor was going nicely, fish finder would not turn on . Not a show stopper, due to higher tide, but in those waters u do wanna know the depth, can get tricky.
Came ashore to fix, discovered that while the Lorance connector looks like it is keyed, it aint, can go in 2 different positions.
### Lesson ### Check all electronics/wiring before launching.
While coming ashore, all of a sudden I lost my steering . On the beach, discovered the rudder hanging by some rope. Rudder shaft came out of controlling half-circle due to retainer pin coming loose.
Of course I was able to discover that after I opened the cover, using scissors (!) to unscrew the holding Philips screws.
#### Lesson #### Carry some very basic tools - a philips and a flat head, may some pliers. Replace the pin with may be a clevis pin. The yak is PA 14.
Having lost about 30 mins to deal with rudder and the fish finder, I started running low on time, timing is EVERYTHING when navigating around the Rip.
### Lesson #### Just having a plan aint enough, gotta stick to it !
Headed to the Rip at slack tide. At the Rip, it is a was a thing of beauty. May be 40 boats, 30 folx fishing from shore. Flukin' heaven, but no keepers
Smaller blues jumping too.
The second I noticed the tide turning to outgoing, I made a run for it. Took the 18lb trolling motor + frantic paddling to get pass the tip. Came dangerously close to shore, my apologies to fellow surf fishermen.
### Lesson ### Stay away from the Rip, at the very least time the tide with time to spare !
Having turned the NE corner of SH, took me a while to arrive to the NW corner. By that time 15mph gusty wind was straight in my face and outgoing tide was strong. Spent 30 minutes make 0 progress with trolling motor and paddling. Switched to Mirage, nada. Smartly decided to come ashore and wait it out.
### Lesson ### Know the weather forecast, especially wind strength and direction. Anything toward 10 mph in your face means trouble, unless you're super fit.
An hour or so later, decided to try again. Same story, came back to shore. Asked nearby pontoon boat folx (they were enjoying a stay on the beach) if they could give me a tug. Nicest people in the world, agreed to it.
Some time later, in tow, me on kayk so I could steer it, I was on my way, or so it seemed.
About 15 mins into it, the alum carabiner I used to secure the tow line to the front handle, broke. Had to lean all the way forward in pretty rough seas to re-tie the line. Yak remained stable.
### Lesson ### Use beefy carabiners, tie one to both the front and back handles and keep them there ! Have a tow line handy, JIC.
Wind was strong, waves pretty big and with yak in tow, the nose started digging in a bit and soon enough I noticed loss of control. Clearly water was getting into the kayak. And that with the front lid secured.
And of course it didnt take long after that for the capsizing to occur.
PDF auto inflated and I proceeded to perform the righting exercise I practised before at a lake (see my prev post). Righted the yak with almost zero effort, she might have been upside down for 3-4 minutes.
### Lesson ### Practice self-rescue. Use the rope method. Before launch, I made sure the righting rope is ready for use. Memorize which side is the rope attached to, tip it with a floating marker (12" of bright pool noodle)
Came aboard the towing boat this time and they were the nicest folx ever. Continued to tow the yak, which was clearly taking in a fair deal of water, manually holding the line in very rough seas.
Upon righting the yak (in 30f of water), I saw that not a single piece of equipment was lost, as I leashed everything. The fishing poles were all tucked in the rode tubes, I also have an extra wide strap running the length of the front lid as an additional holding.
### Lesson ### Leash stuff. It is aint leashed, consider it disposable.
As we continued to tow the yak, I had the confidence that it wont go under, as I stuffed her full of pool noodles. Even though they have foam blocks from the factory which make er at least minimally buyoant, the pool noodles are a 100% guarantee she will not go under even when loaded with 300lb of load.
### Lesson: stuff the hull full of pool noodles
Be careful with any control lines/ropes inside the hull as u do it.
Finally, we made it ashore. Can not thank the folx that helped me out enough. Wouldn't take nothing but thanks for their work !
With boat ashore, I opened the front lid, not knowing what to expect. The bin was full of water (to the brim), my car keys secure in a water-tight box.
### Lesson ### If I had car keys on me in a pocket, they'd be toast - adding insult to injury. Have a smallish water tight box for them and other valuables. As I closed the box before launching that morning, I noticed a kink in the gasket which I corrected. Be serious about it.
### Lesson ### The front bin and the lid are NOT watertight in PA. Use some weather stripping from Lowes etc to seal it up. You wont be able to get er totally sealed, but will get pretty darn close.
After removing the bin, what a relief - very little water made it into the hull. I opened the drain plugs in the rear, elevated the nose and got that water out.
### Lesson ### - while water does get into the front bin, very little of it will end up in inside of the hull.
What a day it was. Got home, washed and rinsed stuff. Did quick check of electronics and whatever I checked seems to still work. Of course, if any water got to electronic components, over time the corrosion will finish em off.
So in closing: know your limits. Respect them, respect the power of nature . Have proper gear.
I did think about disabling PFD's auto inflation after buying it. Good thing I didn't
It sounds simple enough to simply pull the handle when u need it, but with whole lotta stuff happening around you, ez it aint.
I hope at least some folx learn from my experience.
And lastly: Pro Anglers are incredibly stable kayaks. The only reason it capsized was due to heavy water intake into the front bin, loss of control and the fact I had it under tow in very rough weather.