Driving in to Titusville as the red sky slowly faded.
My good friend Paul Rivera and I spoke earlier in the week about heading off the beach this past weekend, in search of who knows what. As the week progressed, the weather and wave predictions continued to look worse for Saturday morning. When Paul called me on Friday to discuss launch locations, I told him we still need to check it out; if we got there in the morning and it looked rough, we would head elsewhere and figure it out. The old me would have researched, planned, and stressed about backup plans. Instead, I decided to keep an open mind and go with the flow.
We originally planned to wake up early and meet at the launch (an hour away from home) around 6:30a.m. Instead, I was awakened at 6:15a.m. Saturday morning by a text message from Paul - he slept in and was just about to leave home. We both slept through our alarms and neither of us stressed about it. The skies were red as the sun began to slowly show, I kept telling myself, ”Red sky by morning, sailors take warning.” (I also reminded myself, “Liquor before beer, you’re in the clear…” - just my ADD kicking in.) We arrived at the beach at the same time and were greeted by forceful pounding waves. Continuing to keep an open mind, I asked Paul if he wanted to check the lagoon across the street and have a go at it. He was equally as willing to go with the flow, but expressed some hesitation as that location can be heavily fished and has not produced well in the past. I haven’t fished that area in years since I first began kayak fishing, so I wanted to check on some of my old honey holes. With a blow of the conch horn, we were off.
Shortly after launching, we begin adjusting tackle and tying on our lures of choice. I decided to go with a topwater plug on some green 8lb. Fins “Windtamer” braid before the wind picked up too much, and I’m a sucker for those topwater strikes. My plug was averaging four to six strikes every return, boating four or five dink trout (including Paul’s hyper ladyfish). Shortly after, I hooked onto something that felt like a stick. As it came to the boat, I became very puzzled when I saw a MirrOlure “Top Pup” lure hooked to my plug. I saw there was still line attached, so I began pulling it up - only to find a freshly dropped rod and reel combo in great shape. I took a few casts with it to test the condition, and ended up landing another dink trout. Laughing hysterically, I told Paul it was time to move on to some larger trout around the corner.
After a very short paddle, we got to a fishy-looking spot and Paul hooked in to a nice 20” trout. We snapped a few photos, he blew his conch horn (much to the dismay of the skiff creeping too close in to our vicinity) and we were off for more. I wanted very badly to keep paddling back to one of my old favorite fishing holes, but we were strapped for time.
We split up, keeping an open mind. I paddled out to some deeper water with a grassy bottom and plenty of pot holes. I staked out and began working my Zoom® “Super Fluke” coated in mullet scented Pro-Cure. On the first cast, the water exploded the second my lure hit the water, and I was greeted with a very nice fight. Believing it was a trout from the head shake, my stress level intensified, knowing how soft their lips can be. I eventually boated it and found the hook buried way down in her mouth. I was able to successfully dislodge it, snap a few photos, and release her to fight another day.
After catching several more in the same spot, I couldn't get over how hard they were hitting the lures. This was causing them to get deeply hooked in ways I was not happy with, so I wrangled up some finger mullet with a cast net, tossed them in the livewell on my Malibu “Stealth”, and decided to switch over to circle hooks to avoid hurting these breeders any more. Shortly after doing so, I tied a circle hook onto the combo I fished up earlier, tossed a finger mullet out, and left it in the rod holder. I then tossed on an Unfair Lures “Paul’s Dinkum Shrimp” (only has one treble hook) lathered in Pro-Cure out to a large sand hole, and was greeted with a strike immediately. As I was bringing this trout to the boat my other rod begins to go off - DOUBLE HOOK-UP! I boated a nice 28" trout on the lure, and a 26" trout on the mullet. Some might say that's being greedy, but I had to put some points up on the board for Kayak Wars.
Paul and I continued to pound on the trout until the wind picked up, and we had to get out of there quickly and head over to a friend’s fishing seminar at Kayaks By Bo (Vickie Sallee, Fish Like A Girl). Had we not kept an open mind, we would have skipped fishing that area and went somewhere we were more familiar with, or we would have been stubborn and continued stalking the shoreline in search of singles. Since we kept an open mind, our expectations were low and our fishing was successful.
About the Author: Nick Dyroff (Nicky-D) is an avid fresh and saltwater angler out of Orlando, Florida. Ever since he learned to walk he has been fishing, beginning with the banks of the Hudson River in New York. He moved to Florida at a young age and began fishing the local lakes and Mosquito Lagoon with his father at age ten. Once old enough to drive, he saved up and purchased his first boat, a Mohawk Canoe. Every weekend he would load up the canoe and his surfboard and head for the coast in search of solid swells and tailing redfish. Flash forward over ten years and he now competitively and successfully fishes kayak tournaments around the state representing some of the best companies in the industry. With a full-time job in the insurance industry he still finds time to host fishing seminars, demo days, publish educational fishing articles and product reviews, film an online video series and attend fishing industry functions. His passion for growing the sport through education, youth involvement and a great sense of humor is evident when you first meet him. Nick Dyroff is the founder of The Barbie Rod Challenge, a new movement encouraging anglers to come out of their shells and stop taking life so serious. Fishing competitively can take a toll on anglers and almost takes all the fun out of fishing, so when Nick challenged a small group of Florida competitive anglers to fishing with Barbie Rods, a movement was born. What started with six anglers grew to over six-hundred within only a few months. The challenge helps seasoned anglers fall in love with fishing again and new anglers to enjoy the sport and compete on an even playing level.