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Old 06-29-2012, 09:21 PM   #1
Journeyman
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A first time for everything...

I'll give you two choices: one, you can scroll through the pictures that are going in a frame on my wall.

This being one of them!

Or, read my long winded synopsis of the trip of a lifetime. Believe me when I say, this trip was nothing short of exactly that.

Let me back up a bit. My story starts last Friday. I'm hanging out in the garage after work, prepping my Bass gear to hit Newport harbor Saturday morning. Just as I'm finishing up my prep and closing up the garage, in comes a call from THE DARKHORSE. I'd been corresponding with him recently about setting up a guided trip once I acquired all the necessary gear. Which I did of course. He's been booked so I didn't expect to go out so soon. Like many of you, I'm a kayak angler who just recently caught the bug. I just bought a brand new Hobie Pro Angler 12 and safety was a primary concern. I realize I could have paid my dues and fished the whole season trying to figure it all out on my own. After a trip to Dana Point I quickly realized I had a lot to learn. Call me impatient, but if I can skip the years of trial and error, why not? Josh had a cancellation and I replied with a quick,"I'm in!" Followed by, "what do I need?" The answer: a jig-stick, one spectra set up and a big ice-chest. Easy enough.

Item number one, jig stick, got it. Recently traded an old longboard for a beautiful custom wrapped Seeker with a brand new, Trinidad 16. I haven't really done much casting with it so this was going to be trial by fire. Item number two, a spectra set up for bait, don't got it. Made a call to my dad who was nice enough to let me barrow a Seeker Black Steel with a Trinidad 16 narrow. Besides a hat and glasses, the last item on the list being a big ice chest. We've all read his thread: "Ice Cold!" So there was no confusion on what he meant by a big ice chest. Well, a combination of doubt and uncertainty lead me to believe that I probably wouldn't end up needing an ice chest. Notice the foreshadowing?

When I first contacted Josh, a month prior, I told him all I really wanted to do was learn the ropes. Being relatively new to the salt water scene, learning proper technique was my goal. All I had done was cast some plastics at this point. Anything beyond that would be a learning experience. Josh assured me, we would kill two birds with one stone and "catch fish in the process"! I just wanted to get down there and pedal around. This sounded too good to be true. With all the excitement pumping through me, I could hardly sleep. Throwing caution to the wind, I just threw my little 50 quart cooler in the truck and made the long drive from Lake Elsinore!
I make it to the launch and Josh arrives right on schedule. From the beginning Josh was the ultimate professional, patiently and thoroughly answering my endless questions. We quickly got our gear rigged up and parked. Then prepared to launch through a battalion of rental kayakers. Reading on the forum is great to a certain point. You'll learn a lot, but there's nothing like first hand one-on-one teaching from a pro. My first lesson was navigating much larger surf than I expected. There were stand up paddlers surfing at the launch and I watched a few kayakers get pounded!

After making it through the reserve and pointing out the new boundry, the next order of business was making bait. I should say Josh made bait. I practiced throwing irons as he gave me constructive criticism on my technique. I could hardly believe all the sea life. There's been a lot of talk about a lack of proper bait (greenbacks) out in La Jolla lately, but I'll tell you what, Josh doesn't rest. In a couple hours time he had his bait tank packed with 35-40 quality greenbacks and we were off in search of gold. One bit of advice if you ever fish with The Darkhorse: pull out a sandwich and get some food in you. In my very first e-mail, he said "if the fish aren't below the boat we're moving". And he wasn't kidding!

Upon arrival to the grounds, we weren't alone and we weren't expecting to be. Not only was it the weekend. It was the weekend of the Bloody Decks Yellow Tail shootout!!! Just picture tons of power boats driving in every direction with a couple kayakers on the way in. Not only was there a fleet of boats, but I never saw one boat land a fish. No hooping and hollering just a fat wad of boats, for miles! Before feeding the Barracuda one of his prized baits Josh waited a long time before we even sent a Mackerel out. Eventually, Josh's eyes lit up and we immediately dropped a bait.
Not long after I felt a violent strike. My first kayak sleigh ride caught on camera!

Besides the violent strike, what followed was an ass kicking like no other. This was no Calico Bass! I'm gasping for air half way through the fight. Right about the time I almost gave in, Josh sinks the gaff! He was like a surgeon on the operating table. He quickly gaffed, game clipped, threw me a high five in the process, bled the fish and strapped my first Yellow Tail on the back in a matter of seconds. It's funny cause had I been on my own, not only would I have never been in this situation, but I likely would have been on my way in at this point. As soon as the fish was safely secure Josh instantly threw a fresh bait on my hook and we were off in search of another school. He murmured something along the lines of "you can rest when you're dead". After realizing he was right, I laughed out loud.

We moved around a bit and eventually Josh got us located again. Another violent strike definitely got the adrenaline flowing. Back to work I went, huffing and puffing! With a trophy fish already on deck, Josh asked if I wanted to gaff this one. I responded with a yes. What better time to learn than having a pro looking over your shoulder? After popping through some kelp I gaffed my first fish. Ever! Josh pulls this one on deck in a hurry. Then, I see a huge Sea Lion fly beneath the boat and surface twenty feet away. Whew, that was close!

After a spell, we stopped to take some photos. I didn't expect one of these shots for a couple years. No complaints here.


It was at this point that I started to really feel like a badass. Not only did I never see another boat catch a Yellow Tail, but we now had two on deck.

Pumped is more like it!

Josh was focused and continued looking for fish. I was stoked beyond belief and wasn't even sure if I could land another at this point. We continue moving around and Josh has me put out another hot bait. I'm thinking to myself, It surely couldn't happen again. Could it?
Then that feeling of a nervous bait is followed by a massive take down.

Here we go again! Line smoking off the reel, followed by more huffing and puffing. In the kelp, out of the kelp and back in the kelp we go! My arms are on fire. Back is aching and my eyes are burning with sweat. Josh is cheering me on, snapping photos and showing me my fish on the sonar. Honestly, everything was a blur at this point. The whole experience was just ridiculous! Take the excitement of a newbie for what it's worth. I know for a fact I made the right decision. Not only did I have the experience of a lifetime, but I got to soak up, priceless knowledge, from one of best. Josh assured me, that there's no reason why I can't go right back out and do this again on my own. He was very humble in saying that, "he's a regular guy and the fish won't know the difference". Which is exactly what I plan to do.

Needless to say, like many before me I was scrambling down the Wal-Mart isles that night.
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Old 06-29-2012, 09:31 PM   #2
MattRabasco
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Great post! Priceless pics! Congrats!
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Old 06-29-2012, 09:40 PM   #3
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CONGRATS! Excellent report.
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Old 06-29-2012, 09:44 PM   #4
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Old 06-29-2012, 09:45 PM   #5
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Awesome report and great action shots.
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Old 06-29-2012, 09:55 PM   #6
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Another satisfied customer.
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Old 06-29-2012, 09:59 PM   #7
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The first fish report on the PA 12. Is this your maiden voyage?
The boat looks INSANE!!

You look like you had more fun than a kid at Disneyland for the very first time!
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Old 06-29-2012, 10:03 PM   #8
JeffB
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Nicely done!
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Old 06-29-2012, 10:05 PM   #9
TheBentRod
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Guess where I am spending my vacation.

Congrats on the fish! No doubt the Darkhorse knows how to put you on the fish!
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Old 06-29-2012, 10:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by driftwood View Post
You look like you had more fun than a kid at Disneyland for the very first time!
I think he looks like he had more fun than my first time to Cheetah's.

Great job on the triple. That type of fishing was made for a kayak....the skiffs with their engines and hull slap don't have a chance compared to us yakers.
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Old 06-29-2012, 10:39 PM   #11
navy goat
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Very nice. Looks like I need to plan my first trip out to La Jolla.
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Old 06-30-2012, 03:02 AM   #12
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Very impressive and well done!! Nice photos!
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Old 06-30-2012, 07:03 AM   #13
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Bad ass.........great write up. Congrat's on an epic day.
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Old 06-30-2012, 08:16 AM   #14
Pinoyfisher
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Wow!!!!!!!!!! Your write up was great lead to the pics!
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Old 06-30-2012, 08:35 AM   #15
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Nice catches. I saw some of those swimming around but couldn't get buttoned on.
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Old 06-30-2012, 08:41 AM   #16
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Pics and write up are absolutely epic!
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Old 06-30-2012, 09:33 AM   #17
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Strong work man!
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Old 06-30-2012, 10:23 AM   #18
SoCalCJ
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That's just insane! WOW!
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Old 06-30-2012, 10:30 AM   #19
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WOWWW!!!!! I would say any day landing a beautiful Yellow is a fantastic one. Any day you don't have enough game clips for your bounty is just plain EPIC!!! Congrats!!!
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Old 06-30-2012, 11:44 AM   #20
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Congratulations and thanks for the great post. Those pics are awesome.
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