Foray on the Fourth-Texas Shark E-mail
Written by Robert Field   
Sunday, 28 July 2013 00:00

First King copy The day before Independence Day I set out for a four-day kayak-fishing excursion to the Texas coast. I would end up pushing my limits to the max, having a brush with death, and catching some amazing fish in the process. This was an experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. I fished Corpus Christie for two days in beautiful conditions, and racked up an impressive list: Jack Crevalle, Red Snapper and seven big King Mackerel.

Where everything went absolutely perfect in Corpus Christi, it all began to go downhill as soon as I arrived in Galveston. I pulled onto the beach and before I made it ten feet my Jeep got stuck. An hour later I finally freed it and pulled up onto the firmer sand near the water. By then it was late, so I pitched my tent and fell asleep immediately. In the morning, I would be hunting sharks.

Jack Underwater copy

I woke up, bought bait, and headed back to the beach. Unlike my trip to Corpus, I had nobody to meet up with on this trip. As I looked out at the ocean, I thought “We are NOT in Corpus anymore.” The water was chocolate brown, the beach was dirty, and there was a wall of seaweed three feet high all along the water’s edge. Well, this is where the sharks were, and I wasn’t there to sight-see, so I loaded up the kayak and headed out into the murky water alone. I paddled almost a mile out, dropped my anchor, rigged up my bait, and set my lines out.

Before long, one of my floats disappeared. I looked at my reel, and sure enough it goes off.This is it!” I thought. I tightened down the drag in an effort to stop the fish, but it was not slowing. This thing was FAST. I realized that I was running out of line on my reel, and if I got to the spool it was all over. I made the executive decision to release from my anchor and go along for the ride. This would end up being a grave mistake.

The fish took off straight in the one direction I did not want to go. About a quarter mile downwind from where I was anchored was Rollover Pass. This is an area with extreme currents, and if I were to get sucked into it I would almost certainly be killed. I tried with all my might to turn the fish around but it would not. Finally he decided he wanted to head off shore, and I felt an overwhelming sense of relief as he pulled me out to sea.

Half an hour later, I got a glimpse of my first shark from the kayak. It was a beautiful 5-foot Blacktip shark. It was not the monster I was after, but this was a moment I had dreamt of since the day I bought my first kayak and I cannot begin to express the feeling that overcame me. I admired him for a bit, got him on video, and released him to fight another day.

Shark Behind copy Shark Front copy Shark Up copy

I suddenly realized I was almost a mile from where I left my anchor. It had a small orange float at the end of the rope, but conditions had gotten worse as I was fighting the shark, and the swells were now over my head. Finding this thing was going to be a challenge. I spent the next two hours pedaling into the wind and against the current, searching a vast ocean for a tiny orange float. I could not continue fishing without an anchor; the current and wind were too strong. Exhausted, defeated, and overwhelmingly disappointed, I decided to call it a day. As I turned to head in, sure enough, there it is! I was overcome with excitement as I pedaled over to it. Well, as I learned the hard way on this day, if you stop paying attention for one second, your whole world can get turned upside down. Literally.

A HUGE wave crashed into the side of my boat as I was looking the other way at the anchor float. This was my first time ever flipping the kayak in deep water. I was swimming in arguably the most shark-infested waters in Texas, a mile out to sea, with nobody around to hear me scream. I cannot tell you what that feels like. I looked up and realized my kayak was floating away from me in a hurry. I swam for my life and managed to catch it.

I swam around to the front of it and tried to flip it over. Not even close. I swam around to the back and again attempted to right my boat. It wouldn’t even budge. This is when the panic began to set in. I tried my best to keep my composure and think logically. Then it hit me. I swam around to the side of the kayak and climbed up onto the bottom of it. I grabbed the opposite side, and threw my whole body backwards with every ounce of force I could muster. Sure enough, the boat flipped over. “Thank God,” I thought. I tried to pull myself up into it, but as I did the boat began to flip back over. I let go. I looked up and realized I was drifting straight for Rollover Pass. I was now less than 300 yards from where it started. It was time to make a decision. Either abandon the kayak and swim for shore, or stick with it and risk getting sucked into the pass. I decided I was not letting my new boat go, so I gave it one more shot. I threw my body across the boat and clambered in. I quickly turned and headed away from the pass. I had made it.

Flip 2 Front copy Flip 2 copy Flip 1 copy Reentry copy

At this point, I decided I should probably call it a day. I rode the waves all the way onto the beach. Some people came over and asked me how I did, and as I began to tell them my story, three men ran up to the beach screaming “Whose kayak is this?!” I walked over and told them it was mine, and they all let out a sigh of relief. They told me a helicopter was en route, an ambulance was pulling up, and they were launching a boat as we speak. It turns out that a lady who owned a small shop that sells seashell necklaces had watched me flip through a pair of binoculars and had called the coast guard. She potentially could have saved my life that day. I got a chance to thank her later that day.

A family that watched the whole event unfold was kind enough to offer to let me spend the night in their RV as they were heading back home that night. I must have said no a hundred times, Coastguard copy but they insisted. These people didn’t know me from Adam yet after a few hours of hanging out they trusted me to stay in their home away from home. I cannot say enough about the Meyers, and if any of you are reading this, know that I will never forget you and the kindness you showed me. For the first time in four days I got to shower and hang out in some A/C. It was an amazing end to an epic day. I reflected on the day’s events and dozed off to sleep.

Also, check out our new website, www.YakFishTV.com. This will be a site dedicated to kayak fishing films, but will also have sections for blog posts, product reviews, a photo gallery, and much more. We will be recruiting 4-5 kayak anglers with a knack for videography to join the YakFish TV team so that we can consistently produce quality kayak fishing adventures for you to enjoy. If you would like to apply to become part of the YakFish TV team, send a sample video to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

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