Well on my last outing to Orere Point, I “lost” (left on the beach?) my PFD with VHF radio, PLB and kill switch for my electric motor attached to it. $1035 later to replace all those, it was time to get on the water again.
Now what would one of my stories be without a bit of drama, stupidity or clumsiness? So here’s today’s dose of clumsiness. The motor console on the Predator XL has a lot of storage space, but it’s too deep and not easy to get to while seated. So some time ago I found the perfectly sized plastic containers that fits below the mounting plates on these kayaks, but unfortunately I did not have that in mind when I set up the rod holders and knife sheath so the bolts/screws on 2 of the mounting plates went all the way through, which prevents these plastic containers from fitting underneath. Ordered 2 new mounting plates from Rob Fort and on Thursday night I tried to move on of the rail blaza rodholders. Well I remember one of the guys on our kayaking forum (Paddlesnap I think it was) saying its important to use proper marine grade stainless steel nuts and bolts when you fit anything to the kayak. Of course convenience won when I didn’t have any stainless steel bolts and so on Thursday I had to drill through the rusted bolts to get them out. First one went fine, but second one the drill didn’t stay straight and I destroyed the railblaza starport completely. I had a cheap scotty-style rodholder lying around though, so managed to fit that and probably around 2 hours later on a job that should have taken 30 minutes, I had the rod holder back on and can now fit 3 plastic containers within easy access of my seated position – one for lures, one for squid jigs and one for random dry softbait. Once I fix the 4th mounting plate (where the knife is), I’ll see if I can make one of the plastic containers relatively waterproof and keep some gulp bait in there.
Fortunately I bothered taking the mounting plate off the kayak before drilling, otherwise this would have been a much more “interesting” story.
Anyway, WindGuru showed that the wind would be around 8-10 knots in the morning, but then pick up to 18-20 knots around midday. I don’t like being out in the open ocean on days like that, so I opted for Waitawa Park where I’m surrounded by and close to islands at all times rather than Orere point.
Late start, I think I launched at around 9:45, and conditions seemed pretty good when I launched.
On the way out the weather picked up quite a bit though and I decided to start drifting well up from my usual spot. Didn’t take long to land the first 36cm snapper, but the wind got nasty quickly and I decided to head homewards:
Started motoring back, but I thought what the hell, I’m close to a little island and this kayak is super stable AND I have an electric motor to do all the hard lifting against the wind, so what the hell. At that stage I was perfectly positioned to just start drifting and I’d drift over my spot-X and as it was, I picked up another 2 fish on the first drift. Did the same thing again and picked up another 2 fish on the next drift. But by then the weather had gotten even worse and I decided 5 was good enough, so I headed back and good thing I did. It took me well over an hour to get back to the launching spot and my 45lb Minn Kota motor couldn’t get me over 3kph on the GPS most of the time.
Last bit of “Hopeless Fisherman”-ness: After cleaning the fish I tried to get my cooler bag from the back of the kayak, but it was stuck on my gaff somehow. I realized that the gaff might fall into the water, but I got the gaff second-hand with an old kayak and it had a float attached to it, so I just used some force and thought worst case I’d get the gaff out the water afterwards if it went overboard. Turns out that was not worst case as actual worst case was that the float wasn’t buoyant enough to keep the gaff afloat… As if I hadn’t lost enough gear by then. I also lost by hat to the wind, but was able to scoop that up with my net.
Weather was not ideal, but all in all a nice outing and I was glad just to get out after weeks of not having gear and bad weather for who knows how long.