Many people who visit the tropics or vacation near the ocean try deep sea fishing on a lark. They want to drink some beer, get some sun and do something exciting. For a couple hundred bucks, a captain will bring them out on a fishing boat with a large out-bound motor and the latest trolling gear, which you don’t even have to hold long before a fish is hooked. Maybe these vacationers will get lucky and their boat will snag a a nice Mahi Mahi. After some brief physical exertion, the captain will strategically maneuver the boat to keep the fish from getting away and they’ll be dipping their day’s catch in garlic butter sauce later that night.
Now imagine you’re fishing this way in a kayak. You’re not only fighting the fish, but the strong Gulf Stream current, the waves and possible inclement weather. That’s right, the 2012 Extreme Kayak Fishing Tournament from Pompano Beach in Florida, involves a deep sea fishing mentality; except, in a tiny 12-foot kayak that only moves when you have the motivation and strength to paddle. Kayakers often end up 4 or 5 miles off-shore (sometimes dragged that distance by a single fish), where the small reef snappers and groupers are replaced by 40-60 pound Kingfish that would knock a normal kayaker into the water.
Competitors in the tournament go out a couple miles in a single kayak and fish open water “Dolphin, Wahoo, Kingfish, Black and Yellow fin tuna, African Pompano, Cobia, Snapper, Amber-Jack, Yellow-Jack, Almaco Jack and all Mackerel.” The biggest fish prize must be a plegiac, like a Kigfish, Dolphin or Cobia, but the restrictions on what is considered catch doesn’t encapsulate the danger and daring involved in the practice.
On the weekend of 15 September, 2012, a captain’s meeting will take place the night before the competition. The next day kayakers (and some paddle boats), will launch north of Pompano Pier and seek to become the Extreme Kayak Fishing champion as they head a few miles out and fight the sea’s largest open-water fish from their humble kayaks.
Only the craziest kayakers would travel so far from land while trying to find fish big enough to win, but still small enough they don’t get yanked over-board or pulled so far out to sea they can’t even find the coastline. There’s fishing, then there’s extreme kayak fishing. Adrenalists generally prefer the latter.