Monday, January 11, 2010

1/11 - Coldest day of the year? Who cares?

Headed out this morning with DOA Rob, in his other Hobie Kayak.

(D.O.A. Rob, in his Hobie "Mirage Drive" powered Kayak)

I just had to see what all the fuss was about. This was my second yak experience. The first one in a Hobie "peddle" powered yak. http://www.hobiecat.com/fishing/index.html
The last time I went with Rob, was when  I used his big blue paddle yak. A super wide, super stable, customized one, that we installed a big boat seat in. Yeah a big, high backed, boat seat out of Rob's boat. Talk about comfortable!

To start I headed to Robs house at 6:30am. And we were headed out, truck loaded with two yaks, and all the tackle, paddles & peddles, and landing nets around 7:30am. We crossed the Mayport ferry
and were headed to the "holy grail" spot where Rob's been KILLIN' them. We get there, and there's a gate that was supposed to be open, that's closed. We sat around waiting and waiting for someone to show, and finally around 10:00am a park ranger shows up. He didn't even want to let us in yet, but he remembered Rob, and let us head on in.

We unpacked the truck, unloaded the yaks and took off into the creek. Right there and then, I could tell "this may not be for me."  The Hobie kayak was small, I had too many heavy clothes on and couldn't even move. The seat had to be adjusted, the peddles that propel the yak needed to be adjusted. And I couldn't even reach theadjustments......"ya mean I have to lean backwards, but bend over my knees, and then reach to my toes and then squeeze the adjuster, and then lean forward, turn around a bit, grab the seat straps, and then I'll be okay????" Kinda reminded me of when me and my whole family went "Grass Skiing" one summer. You think skiing on snow is hard? Try Grass Skiing. Where the ski's have tracks on them like a tank. Did you know ski slopes have tons of rocks under that snow?

Well folks, I couldn't even bend enough to get my peddles right. So Rob eased up to me and adjusted my peddles for me from his yak. I don't know how tall Rob is, but he's not, tall. And he's not all that bulky either. He's wirey, like a squirrel. Not a bear, like your's truely. But as we peddled our way against the creek current, 100 feet. I was already wore out.

These yak seats, are not like any seat in a boat. For me, it's more like sitting in a dragster cockpit, that could tip over. And then you have to either peddle or paddle. And the backrest? It's a skinny little pad with with some straps, and gave me no upper body support. Your butt, sits on a foam pad in molded area.

But I was okay, and getting along. As good as a human pretzel could.

I quickly realized as I peddled Hobie's propritary propulsion system, http://www.hobiecat.com/fishing/miragedrive.html  that my knee muscles haven't seen this type of activity in about 25 years.

It took me about 300 feet away from our splash-in-point, till I could pick up a rod and start casting.

The water was crystal clear. I mean swimming pool chlorine clear. And shallow. As we worked our way around bends and twists. I saw not a single swirl, flash, or ripple on the surface. Rob pointed out all of his best spots....and they were maybe 2 feet deep. "You'd have to see something!" "Hell, a dang 5" mullet makes a wake in water this deep." Not a tiny little minnow, a shrimp or a crab was to be found.
That's wrong......I did see 3 dead crabs laying on the bottom.

And we never had a single bite, although Rob said he had a few? The water even at low tide, with the sun shining down on it was very cold. But ya know, in the sun with hardly any wind down below the marsh grass, I wasn't even cold. It was actually beautiful. A wonderful winter day, in D-E-A-D water.

But I have to hand it to Rob. He didn't give up. He worked the creek as he always does, sure and methodically. I anchored up and just pitched a jig and shrimp out into a deep hole in a bend in the creek. Right in the same spot where Rob caught Trout to 5 pounds and 7 pounds along with numerous Reds and Black Drum, just last week. That's why he wanted me to go with him, cause they were chewin so good.

Well, it didn't take an act of god to tell us we were just wasting time. So we headed back. Now, the tide was dead low and where we launched was solid mud. So we used a dock down the creek and then trudged all the yaks and equipment back to the truck. Kinda makes launching a boat at a boat ramp look like, childs play. The rods and tackle bags had to be unloaded, then the yak peddles and paddles, then the yaks had to be carried back to the truck.

Call me an ole dog....but man, what a ton of work, this kayaking was, for no fish. My knees popped back into position as Rob held the yak, and I flopped up on the dock., Then when standing up again, like a bi-ped. I could feel the tingle in my butt cheeks as they recieved a surge of warm circulated blood.

I gather, I'd need a bigger roomier kayak. I did like the comfiness of Robs other yak with the boat seat. Maybe that'll be the yak I use from now on.

(Last year in BIG BLUE the "Cozy Kayak", in Guana Lake in Ponte Vedra)

It all worked out. I've learned alot about kayaks, in my two trips.

I learned, I need a elevated boat seat in mine, and enough room to straighten my legs out. And paddling really isn't that bad.

Although we had this trip planned for awhile, even fishing guides, being guided by a yaking pro like DOA Rob, doesn't mean I'm going to fill my stringer with fish. Especially the one day out of 365, that I chose to go. Yeah, even fishing guides guided by experts, go skunked sometimes. 

We ended our day having lunch over on Hecksher Drive, before coming over the ferry back to Robs house in Atlantic beach. Even though we caught no fish and put a lot of time and effort into today's trip. As we crossed the river on the ferry, I asked Rob..... "Ya wanna go in my boat tomarrow?" He said, "yeah as long as we don't go at the crack of dawn." I replied, "Ya crazy, I want it to be at least 38 degrees before we leave the dock"

That's how it is, when you're a FISHIN' NUT.
And the two of us are "nuts", for sure. 


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