Big Sur Weekend E-mail
Written by Travis Blymer   
Sunday, 10 August 2014 21:33

Big Sur Fishing, Drunk N’ Skunk Style

 

We were all aware of how unpredictable the rugged and isolated coast of Big Sur couldbe, and that there was no way of predicting the weather in advance. But, it didn’t matter, we were going. We were undeterred by the naysayers who gave us numerous and big sur 029 dire warnings of pounding shore break, strong winds, 25 foot great whites and rumors that the area was over fished. Our minds were set, and down Highway One we went.

 

Our group consisted of surfers, body-boarders and three kayak fishermen: Lunchbox, Juicy Johnson and me, Squid; collectively known as the Drunk N’ Skunks. My friend Juicy had zero days on a yak this season, so my wife wagered he would get too drunk the night before and stay on the beach. I took her bet. 

 

As we reached Limekiln, the camp-host assigned us the closest site to the beach. We were stoked, until we saw the site. That campground is more like a parking lot that had its parking spaces converted to campsites by adding picnic tables and fire rings. Where there was not enough room for one tent, we placed five. I decided to sleep on the beach.

 

 After shots of tequila, home brew, and a BBQ chicken dinner, I retired in hopes of a good night's rest. Unfortunately, the sounds of surf crept into my dreams and in between multiple emergency trips to the bathroom, I was tormented by visions of huge crashing surf. Sleeping on the beach between our kayaks, Lunchbox was also tormented by dreams of a 25-foot great white bumping his boat, trying to get a taste of what was inside the lunchbox. big sur 035

 

I awoke with the rising sun far from rested, but there was Lunchbox and Juicy checking the conditions. I knew then that I won the bet; Juicy was awake before me and fired up. I myself felt like crap, my belly was in knots, and was making trip after trip to the toilet. I wondered how many heckles I would get if Juicy made it out while I stayed in the bathroom all morning?

 

Struggling to pull myself together I watched Juicy launch, I was stoked for him, but so bummed on myself.  As Lunchbox and I prepared to launch, the surfers in our group came to see us off. They were probably hoping to see us capsize, but they were left disappointed, the launch was routine.

 

big sur 048 Paddling out of the cove I looked back on the coast. This view made it all worth it. I was struck by the beauty of the rugged canyons stretching down into the sea. This coast is so impressive. We paddled north and layers were shed. No need for spray-jackets, booties, or farmer johns on this day. We reached the edges of a large kelp bed and we could see large groups of jack smelt darting about below our boats. 

 

As we dropped and raised our gear, large olives were visible chasing our swim-baits. Suspended further down blues were waiting to attack, and at the bottom large browns, coppers, and vermilions were hungry. Working the surface, Lunchbox scored a nice greenling, and not long after he was the first to limit out on rockcod. Ole Juicy caught two “proper” Big Sur rockcod, at least six to seven pounds, a copper and vermilion. We kept pinching ourselves. The wind never came up! The weather was perfect, and to top it off, humpback whales were migrating just outside the kelp beds. 

 

big sur lunchbox When we decided it was time to return I got a big hit on my swim-bait. I set the hook and my rod doubled over and the fish took line. As I fought the fish to the surface my kayak drifted into some kelp, so I gave a few one-handed paddle strokes to get clear and returned to the fight. After a good struggle I got a glimpse and though it was a lingcod, then the large wing-like pectoral fins can into view. It was a cabezon! 

 

I reached back to grab my gaff, but instead of using it I just pulled the fish into the kayak. It may have been the biggest cab I have ever caught, about 24”. I went to secure my prize, and the fish gave one last fight for life. It must have looked like an old Disney cartoon when Donald Duck would go fishing. I tried to hug the fish and it’s tail slapped me in the face. I lost my grip and over the side it went. I sat quiet for a moment, and then let out a laugh. My buddies were smiling and shaking their heads at me. I should have used my gaff, but I didn’t really care. It had already been such a good day.

 

IMG 5487 As we returned to the Limekiln launch our friends came out in hope of a bloopers reel, but we exited the surf the same way we entered. Routine. That night Chef Juicy cooked up the greenling along with his larger copper and vermilion, tacos all around. What a success! I have a feeling we will be making this trip again in the future, but it is doubtful we will get weather as good as we did. And, if anyone asks? The shore pound was huge, the wind was super strong, a twenty-five footer bumped our boats and there were no fish. 

 

Travis works as the kayak fishing guide for Kayak Connection in Santa Cruz. For information about fishing with Travis, contact Kayak Connection in the US: (831) 479-1121; or email  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 

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