TR by sunshiner
Wind: gentle NW at first, then strengthening to 10-15 knots N
Swell: less than 1m NE
Water temp: 20°C
Current: at Doggie Beach reef, none
Launch point: Doggie Beach
Keen Angler Program: Donated 1 fish
Here it was, the last day of July and I hadn't caught a keeper, despite several attempts and plenty of light wind days. The fish seem not to be around in sufficient numbers where we kayakers can reach them. However, one of the few benefits of being an old codger is that there's more spare time, theoretically. And today my time was indeed "spare" and the weather was looking good. The wind stayed light and I decided around 11:00 to set up for a Doggie Beach launch. My quest was to get myself on the board for July and as yet, this month, I hadn't tried Doggie Beach reef so that was my destination.
Car parking is often an issue at Doggie Beach and today I had to resort to parking in the side street just west of, and uphill from, the carpark. Never mind, at least unassisted loading and unloading is easier in this area.
Easy launch, probably needless to say, and a few minutes later I was paddling east toward one of my marks at Doggie Beach reef, about 1500m away. A couple of stinkies were visible at first and by the time I reached my mark the breeze had started to pick up from the north.
Here the depth was 27m and there were a few shows on the sonar so I set my drogue, which filled immediately, and started a drift with the breeze toward the south. I had a pillie hanging out the back about 10m down and was using a 1/2 ounce jighead with a SP, casting downdrift, and over-running the jig as it fell toward the bottom. My first drift went 700m, with depth gradually reducing to 21m, before I decided to turn back and do it again as there had been quite a bit of sonar display right near the bottom. The slog back was straight into a strengthening breeze but had to be done, and anyway I need the exercise.
On only the second cast of the second drift, and only 150m from the start point the jig was grabbed, the rod bent and I let out a whoop. This was obviously a keeper.
Anyway, having got no further action by the end of the third drift I decided to head in. By now the breeze from the north was quite stiff and was pushing some waves onto Doggie Beach. It was also low tide and as a result the swell was occasionally breaking on the outer bank, although there were long time gaps between white water events. As I always do, I packed everything away below deck. Anyway I was congratulating myself on picking the gap on the outer bank and was heading for Doggie Beach's notorious shorebreak when the wave of the day came through. I heard it roaring behind me as it broke on the bank but by then I was in the deeper water and let it slide under me. I probably should have waited in the deeper water but pressed on only to find that the the big wave was part of a set and I was in the shore break zone with a large wave looming and curling behind me. For the first time in ages at Doggie Beach I was rolled when the bow went down and hit the sand and the yak and I parted company.
No harm was done of course, as everything was stowed, but the yak did roll right over and was pushed in to the beach upside down. I mention this as a warning to all to never treat the Doggie Beach shorebreak casually. Always assume that you'll be rolled.
Author Kayak Fishing Manual for iPad and Mac (click linked text to view)
Stealth Supalite X, yellow/orange