Finally a spell of settled weather! A plan was forged to target pollack from the reefs with Sam and Matt, and the forecast was looking great. Sam went to the launch mark early on sunday morning to check the conditions and gave me and matt the nod to meet there mid morning. I fitted my fish finder the day before so it was all ready to locate the reefs in the hope of finding a fish or two. It was the maiden voyage on the RTM Abaco so was hoping for a nice easy launch so i could get used to the feel of the kayak..... not today!....
A fair bit of swell was rolling into the cove with a few calmer periods which would allow us to launch. I only needed to take one lure rod with me so i stowed it away in the Abaco's centre storage rod tube to avoid snapping it if the kayak ended upside down in the surf zone. Matt launched ahead of us on his Dorado and me and sam waited for the next calm period.
This was it... the first go on the Abaco and i was throwing it in the deep end! Sam gave the shout and we were off, sliding the kayaks down the beach into the water and jumping onboard.... I didn't have much time to get i a feel for the kayak i just paddled before any of the bigger swells arrived! All went well and we joined matt at the back of the cove. We paddled down the coast to locate some reefs and i loved every minute of it The Abaco felt very stable and seemed to glide through the water with ease. Its hard to compare it to my previous kayak until i paddle it on flat water but first impressions are very good.
We started fishing with soft plastics in the hope of finding a hungry bass or two before moving offshore to target the pollack in deeper water. I was using a Major Craft Zaltz 10-35g matched with a Daiwa 2508D Match reel loaded with 20lb Berkeley Big Game Braid - having only caught wrasse and pollack up to around 4lb on this set up i was hoping a larger quarry would test it to the limits to see what it could handle but not a bite, nibble or knock came my way. Maybe the pollack would play game?
Matt had to get back early so continued to fish close to shore whilst me and sam paddled off to find the deeper reefs. The weather was fantastic! Warm sunshine, clear blue skies and not a breath of wind! Gentle rolling swells went by as we paddled along until we paddled over one particularly shallow patch..... A couple of sets of huge swells came through which were in the 10-12ft+ range..... Hell! A few minutes later we watched the swell make landfall at the launch mark.... we were questioning whether we would make it in.... paddling off into deeper water put us into calmer water. Sam heard the local fisherman over the radio saying that 3-4m waves were breaking into the cove followed by periods of smaller swells... i was not looking forward to the landing!
We drifted over a number of reefs but it quickly became apparent that the fish were either not there or not feeding. I wasn't too fussed, it was a beautiful day and i was paddling my new kayak for the first time, it was just nice to be out on the water. We made our way back to the launch mark which was quite fun paddling along with the swell. Landing when the big swells came through would have been impossible so we were going to have to time it perfectly. We stowed all our gear in the kayaks hatches, mine and Sam's rods went into my centre storage rod tube and we made our way to the entrance of the cove. I was a little nervous to say the least... there seemed to be very short periods of calm water between oblivion and a guaranteed soaking. Nerves weren't settled by Sam pointing at the horizon - the swell heading our way looked like a tsunami! We thought it best to wait until that set passed before making a move. It passed, It smashed into the cove and then we went for it..... I'm sure most kayakers have experienced a 'paddle as fast as you can moment' well this was one of them! Luckily we both avoided a dunking and were only picked up by a small wave which put us onto the beach......phew!! Later on we heard that Matt also had a hairy landing but made it back safe and sound.
Anyhow it was a lovely paddle on my new kayak with great company in fantastic weather. I will definitely be returning to find the pollack which proved so elusive this time round. For my first time paddling the Abaco i was very impressed, it handled the swell with ease, was very stable and seemed easier and faster to paddle than my previous kayak. I need to get it out in the wind and chop to see how it fares then before making any conclusions but so far so good. Hopefully next trip i will christen it with a fish and start racking up some points for Kayak Wars!
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