|Can't beat the speed of the Propel drive.|
I slowly paddled out into the harbor trying to remember what I had read online and watched on YouTube the night before. I told myself to keep my speed down, to let the lines out slowly, to keep the nose turned into the waves, and don't turn to fast or the lines will tangle, the list went on and on. As I turned the final corner and headed for the open water I was shocked to see how big the rollers were. "The waters pretty calm today," one of the other anglers shouted over the wind noise. "Just fish within your limits, it can be a little dangerous." With that he pedaled away and started to make his way through the gap in the harbor wall. "I know my limits" I thought to myself, "One quick pass in the open water, just so I can say I did it."
|2 inches of water on the floor.|
|A nice view of the harbor and lighthouse from the kayak.|
I arrived at the docks anxious to ask the other anglers what I had done wrong. Turns out I had actually done a lot wrong. The pace I was cruising at was about 2 miles to fast. Also as it turns out I wasn't getting my baits down far enough in the water column. It would also seem that my lure spread wasn't wide enough. Guess I still have a lot learn about trolling for salmon. Still a lot fish were caught and everybody was in good spirits. Anglers were swapping stories of the fish that got away. Many were triumphantly hoisting king salmon into the air comparing sizes and posing for pictures. All in all 34 kayak anglers caught 25 salmon during this tournament stop. Not bad considering that the water temps were still in the 60's.
The days big winner was Mark Rasmussen. Not only did he win the tournament, but he also won biggest fish, and the whole Great Lakes Kayak Fishing Tournament Series!
|The proud series champion!!!|
I really wish that this was the end of this post, unfortunately there is more. We lost one of our fellow anglers at this event. I don't want to give out to many specifics out of respect for his family, just know that one of our own didn't return to the dock in his kayak at the end of the day. He was found by the coast guard unresponsive and couldn't be revived. He was wearing his PFD and had an emergency radio beacon, but it wasn't enough. PLEASE be as safe as possible when out on the water. He left behind a family that loved him very much and a kayak community in which he will be dearly missed, both as a competitor and a friend. I haven't been out on my kayak since he lost his life. I still get sick to stomach just thinking about what his final moments on the water may have been like. My sincerest condolences go out to his family and friends, I'm so sorry for your loss, for our loss. Please be safe out there, and always remember to fish within your personal limits.