Okay, got my "kitchen pass" to go fishing… so I stopped by Steve Mullen’s house (Crazy Yak) as he’s walking distance from my house. He informs me he will be thier around 8ish with a demo yak and asked if I bought Crab… of course that’s a big NO. Knowing I had no time to go to fiesta or anywhere to get this as well as get the gear together I figured I would just pick some up from a bait shop when I hit Galveston.
The Drive to Galveston & finding bait
Funny thing about half way thier I ran into Steve, his wife and daughter in route! He pulled off to stop somewhere and I headed on to galveston to find all bait shops were out of crab (something to do with blue crab mating season and in limited quantity). Being the major rookie that I am I figured I would get some mullet since I couldn’t find crab… so I stopped at an ATM and guess who is filling up thier vehicle (small world). I proceeded to tell Steve I GPS’ed his car and I know where he is 24/7. He advised me no mullet won’t work on BU’s (big uglies – AKA black drum). Crab, crawfish or dead shrimp should be my targets and so I ran down 61st street on a hunt to the bait shops to again find niether crab or crawfish and I really didn’t want to dead with the shrimp.
Steve called me on my cell and told me to head down to "galveston yacht club" and tell security I was going to the bait shop. Guess what no crab.. but the had crawfish! so for about $8 I scored 2 lbs live crawfish.
Hitting the water
Finally got to Afel Park and after dismounting and rigging the yak I got on the water at 10am (where did the morning go). Paddeled out with my Texas Kayaking Forum (TKF) buddies about 20 of us and our treasurer (Maulwaker) hooked me up with some crab. I had zero hits on the crab, but could tell the gafftops were munching on the crab pretty hard. So if you didn’t get a hook-up with a drum really quick .. you basically had no bait left.
Current and improper anchors!
Okay so I brought my small "bruce claw" which was properly zip tied at the handle… It never "grabbed" and I kept thinking, if added some chain for weight it would likely do much better… but in 5 minutes I would drift 100 yards. I pulled the anchor up and tried again, but things got worse.. now I was drifting about 200-300 yards in 5 minutes. What I discovered was the current broke my zip tie and my anchor was naturally unclawing its self from the ocean floor and just dragging along as I drifted. So off to head in for another zip tie.. this is when Steve yelled… go tell my wife to let you borrow my dan forth anchor (don’t use that 5lbs claw out here.. it won’t hold).
So in I went to shore and about 10 feet from shore a small wave twisted my yak around to a position I could not compensate for… followed by another quick wave and I tutled.. into the drink! I then stood up and realized I was in knee deep water which explains why the waves were so strong (waves are more verticle in the shallow and stonger). Other than a little embarresment and the loss of my boot knife … it was no big deal.
Swapped anchor’s, put my anchor float on and grabbed a sandwich. I then proceeded back out and dropped anchor, I switched to Crawfish and immediately "hooked up" on a drum! I disconnected from the anchor and went for a brief sliegh ride!! I worked the drum in until it got to the boat and "BOOM" off it went stripping off line and I got him back over to the boat and landed her a 25lbs Black Drum. Paddled back to the anchor and pulled it into the boat… Since this is my first "big fish" and I took her into shore.. She barely fit in the ice chest and the lid wouldn’t really close! Nice eh!
Went out for the next round… the dan forth ring did not position correctly and current drifted me away from the kayakers in less than 2 minutes; current was ripping now! I paddled back to the group and re-deployed the anchor! After it grabbed I realized the amount of current pushing the boat and I do not have an Anchor trolly so I placed the anchor to the pad eye next to my knee. Problem is a good wave can come and side swipe you this way and as that little voice in your head says.. I should probably move this… Steve yells "move that anchor to the back or front of your yak"… not knowing I didn’t have an anchor trolly aparently.
I VERY CAREFULLY reached behind me and clipped it to a pad ee behind my seat (a little nerve racking as leaning/turning backwards really screws with your centerline of gravety (I was trying really… really hard not to go over… I was just waiting for a big wave to come along from one of those tankers)!
The one that got away.
After anchoring up… of course… BOOM immediate hit on the crawfish and I’m back on another sleighride! This time when I get him to the boat he heads straight at me and as was attempting to real in the slack he spit the hook! that kinds sucks after fighting them for 5 minutes.. no reward (no I wouldn’t have kept a 2nd fish).
I paddled back to the anchor and hooked back up.. waited around for 10 minutes, no bite. I paddled back in and pulled off the beach at 3PM.
Was a great day!
Crab vs. Crawfish.
Apparently everyone was fishing crab, except me. I heard from another TKF fisherman that the gafftops were in full force and if you didn’t hook up with a bit on the crab immediately, you could feel the gafftops munching down on the crab so in just a few minutes.. you had no bait!
Apparently the Gafftops wanted nothing to do with the crawfish… Also these little guy’s were mad, they latch on to you and it kinda hurts.. so a word to the wise don’t leave them hanging around your deck or they may pinch you in the nads and then jump though a scupper hole for freedom! I kept mine in my bucket hatch, but still had one latch down on me good while I was putting him on the hook.
Steve told me he got his crab for $20, I scored 2lbs for around $4.
Now for the real bonus… I only used about half a pound and I ate the rest that evening!!!