Monday, May 21, 2012

GS6 Shelter Cove

On Friday May 11th, 2012 the wife, dog and I headed to Shelter Cove, Ca for the 6th Annual Gimme Shelter Kayak Fishing Tournament. The drive was extremely scenic, and what a reward it was to see the ocean from the redwood mountains.

We arrived into Shelter Cove around 12:30 in the afternoon and were amazed by all the kayaks that were already in the campsites and surrounding hotels. We got to our campsite, set up camp and proceded to make the rounds and say hello to the fellow NorCal Kayak Anglers in the campground. That night we didn't even need to cook dinner, thanks to the Loose Screws who already had the food and party going in their campsites.

The morning of the tournament I awoke to the sound of people getting their kayaks ready, voices of fishing plans and wheeleez's moving kayaks to the launch. Shortly after I headed down the launch with my teammate Jose and some of the Loose Screws. It was amazing to see all the kayaks at the launch and the kayaks that were already on the water.

For GS6 the target fish were: Rockfish, Lingcod, Greenling, Cabezon, Halibut, and Salmon. Points were calculated on the largest of each and bonus points were alloted for releasing your largest of each category.

This was my first time at Shelter Cove, so I decided to head out with Jose since he had trolled for Salmon the day before and had seen some structure near the launch. Our main focus for the morning was to go for Rockfish and if we had time then maybe target Salmon. We stopped at the first sign of structure and were marking fish all around, within a few minutes at this location Jose had his first fish on and reeled in a nice Black Rockfish.

After that I shortly hooked onto my first fish of the day. With a small fight it ended up on the stringer and the first fish of the day was a 22.5" Lingcod, it was a .5" over being legal and the lip was ripped so I decided to keep this fish. My plan was with the next ling to release it and take the bonus points. Jose and I stayed in the same spot for a little bit but decided to move along to more structure, a choice that may have been made to fast. The rest of the morning was pretty slow as we drifted around looking for more structure. During this time Jose was able to land a ling and things were looking a little better. We decided to head to the buoy where many other kayaks were concentrated. The drift was moving so fast that it took us a while to get there.

When I arrived at the buoy, "Bigfoot" Randall showed me the giant ling he had caught in that area. I knew this was the place that I was going to drop my line. With the first drop the pole does a little dance and I set the hook and its fish on. This fish put up more of a fight then the ling, and once I got it to the top I realized it was nice sized Copper Rockfish. This was exciting since I now had two of the six categories of fish for scoring. I hadn't realized while bringing in this fish that I had drifted away from the buoy again. So I paddled towards the buoy again and dropped the line again. As I was jigging the swim bait a call came over the radio to watch out for the fog that was rolling in.

At this point I told Jose that I was going to go in closer so that I wasn't out here when the fog came in. When I started to paddle in it looked the fog was rolling in faster then I had anticipated, and I told Jose that I was going in. He then told me that he would help me get into the launch since he had his GPS. When I got in I hung around the cove a little watching everybody paddling in. I was glad that I had come in early as it seemed some were having problems getting back due to the fog. There were even a few kayakers who dumped in the water from the wash rocks close to the launch, luckily everybody made it back to the launch safely.

So on tournament day I did not place, but who cares when you are having fun. This was such a great experience and I am already looking forward to GS7. Here are some stats from day provided by Eric Stockwell host of GS6.

153 people signed up
137 people made it to the cove
119 recorded a score
4 Salmon were caught
1 Halibut was caught, but many were lost at the kayak
Biggest lingcod was 37.5" caught by "Bigfoor" Randall

"Salty" Jim J.  the winner of the event caught all species except a Halibut.

The awards ceremony afterwords had so much food and the view was outstanding.

On Sunday we woke up to windy and rough seas, so we decided to skip fishing in the morning. We joined the Loose Screws for Mothers Day Brunch at the Tea House. It was such a great spot, its sad to hear that they are closing.

After the great Brunch we came out to great weather, thats when Frank, Sonny, Dave and I decided to head out and get some Fish. Frank and I were the first to launch and we headed around the point by the hotels and fished in 30-45 feet of water. Frank was on fire and was landing fish here and there. I lost a few fish at the boat, all rookie mistakes that I will learn from. It was great to see other faces out there on the water. Ran into Wes "ChumChum" who was also doing really well. 

I landed two keeper Lingcod within ten minutes of each other the first one came in at 27.5" and the second came in at 28.5", right after that I had a nice greenling on the line but wasn't able to get it to the boat. Showed Frank and then it jumped back into the water. So I ended the day with a limit of lingcod and an awesome afternoon of fishing. Here is a photo of the lingcod that I ended up taking home for Dinner(s).

What a great weekend, we are already looking forward to next year. Thank you Eric Stockwell for such a great event, and to NorCal Kayak anglers for always making these events so awesome. 

-Victor "vwool"