Quite the classic opportunity to turn lemons into lemonade today. Got to the launch to find awesome conditions and as I started to pull out all my gear, I realize that I’ve left my tackle box at home! I might of driven back up to a nearby store to grab some basic tackle and wasted an hour, but there was no one around to watch my gear (no way I was loading it all back in the truck), so I was limited to the rigs that were on my rods from the last trip, and just had to try to make the most of it. Between my three poles, I had a hammered sabiki rig for catching bait, a new wire trolling rig, and a small butterfly jig that I didn’t really like; but I really needed them all to come through for me today.
I started trying for bait and right away my rig started getting hammered by a school of Lai (leather skin jacks). Managed to get one in the boat, but one by one, my hooks were breaking off until I only had one left, and finally I managed to get an opelu in the boat with it. On the next drop the sabiki got broken off by a Lai and that was it for the bait rig.
I sent out the livey and started dropping the jig and on the second drop I hooked a nice weke ula. I was feeling good about some base points to save the day at least, and decided to troll around a bit. I paddled for about three minutes when the opelu got smashed and after a mean first run, the fish dove down and started sending ahi signals up the line. It was able to boost it up fairly quickly and got an early kage shot to the head, but it was still pretty green and the fish thrashed before I could get ahold of it and so off it ran again. Naturally, it then took forever to to get it back close to the kayak again, and since my leader was too long for this rod that I had recently switched too, I was having trouble getting the fish to circle in properly. Finally, I get another chance and the gaff jab is true. Suddenly there’s a good fish in the boat and I’m stoked to have managed to salvage what could have been a really bad day.
It was still early, so I went to shore to put the fish on ice and ran down the coast a bit to where someone was fishing and found a woman fishing alone with two trucks and a big camp(?!) who was kind enough to give me a pack of smallish hooks. I think I woke her up. The hooks were kind of big, but I was able to use them to grab four more baits pretty quickly. Trolled one around for a while with not much interest except a failed aha attack, and then eventually there was a sharp, hard strike and then…nothing. Reeled up to find that an ono had cut right through my wire- and that was that. Trades were coming back around at 20 knot gusts, and with no more tackle, it was time to go in. I felt lucky to be able to pull up some points at all today after the boneheaded move of forgetting my tackle box.