Thursday, October 10, 2013 turned out to be a great day for me.
After an early morning run to Half Hitch Tackle in PCB, FL for gear and bait, Brian Singley and I launched from our condo’s beach. The water was quite calm considering tropical storm Karen past through the area that week. Once on the water we paddled past the second-sand bar and started trolling with cigar minnows on Duster rigs.
I have to admit, this was my first time in the Gulf on a kayak. I was a little excited and nervous both at the same time. I didn’t know what to expect, heck I’m just a country boy from central Georgia with bass, bream and catfish as my target fish.
Within 15 minutes of trolling something slammed my line, and my Penn 309 began to scream. As I turned and reached for my reel, I could hear Brian yell “it’s huge.” Apparently, this fish went airborne when attacking the cigar minnow. My rod was in the holder behind me, so I didn’t see any of the salt water acrobatics. Once I got the rod in my hands, it snatched my Cuda around, and I was in for a ride.
As I mentioned earlier, this was my first time out, so to see water shoot through my scupper holes had me freaked out a bit. I past Brian and was heading out to sea, on my way to Cuba. He tried to keep up the best that he could, but I was moving too fast. Now, I think what the heck have I gotten into, when do I cut the line.
I and whatever was towing my kayak made our way south. We were heading to deeper water for what seemed like an eternity. In reality, it was probably about five minutes or so. Then we turned and went back east, passing Brian once again. He had paddled to reach me, but stopped for a needed rest. I was happy to be running parallel to the beach. I could see the condos and beach off to my right. For twenty minutes or so “the thing” and I made our way toward Pensacola. I was losing and gaining line. Then we turned north and headed back toward the beach. After a few minutes of being beach bound, my ride ended.
To my surprise, I had this beautiful sailfish on the other end of my line. Without any experience, I was reluctant to handle it very much. It was pretty worn down. I spent about five to ten minutes nursing it to swim on its own. I feel confident it lived to fight another day by the tail slap it performed swimming off.
After releasing the sailfish, I just sat there trying to take in all that just happened. My heart was still pounding from adrenalin, and my arms were burning from exhaustion. I look back now and laugh to myself because I remember thinking, “there’s no way I can catch these all day, I’m too tired after just one.” I didn’t realize then how lucky I was.
To all my fresh water friends, you owe yourself the experience of saltwater fishing. The excitement of not knowing what’s on the other end of your line is a great feeling.
I have become addicted. I think now I have salt running through my veins.