After the capsize of day 8, I made sure to rinse and clean everything extra well in order to minimize the damage that salt water is so viciously capable of. Unfortunately, I was called away from fishing quite suddenly with a last minute trip to Utah to help my wife’s parents deal with some health issues. We got one-way tickets not knowing exactly what we were getting into, but we expected that it shouldn’t be more than a couple weeks. It turned out to be six. We made the best of it with getting out to do plenty of cool stuff too, like epic mountain biking in Park City and a Real Salt Lake match, but six weeks turned out to be more than my dunked fish finder could bear. By the time I got back and was ready to fish, the salt that had gotten inside found it’s way to the circuit board and set up camp, causing the screen to blink and fade and register very little. I tried to fish some tournament days anyway, of course, but it took some time to adjust to not being able to find live bait with sonar. Days 9 and 10 were complete zero point days as I tried to use the sputtering sonar but found it to be useless and quit early in bad weather to minimize the humiliation. Day 11 was much the same but I managed to score a measly 4 points by catching and releasing a moano (goatfish). Leaving the sonar at home in pieces, after talking to Lowrance to find that I was just a few weeks out of warranty, I had to rely on my buddy Brian to find the school with his unit. It worked to a point- I was able to catch one opelu and put it out, only to have it slammed by a Galapagos shark we saw cruising around. My leader was quickly bitten through, and that pretty much sent me back to shore.
Clearly, it was time to change the game. Being unsure about what I was looking for in a new fish finder, and also being pretty broke from the recent trip (ok- I’m always broke), I needed a fresh approach and settled on using some methods of using chunk bait from bigger boats, but adapted to use on a kayak. So off I went on Day 12 without electronics and a new plan, and- it worked. Winds gusting to 25 knots were brutal and it was a hell of a battle to drop bait down straight while paddling, but I got it done well enough. Got a bonus mahi on one of my live baits, but otherwise nothing big, but I stayed busy with a good haul of small ahi and was off the water by 1pm. I even managed to sell one fish before I even left the launch, to a couple of Russian divers from Florida, scouting grounds for the free diving nationals in Kona. Not knowing what to expect with the day, I felt blessed to come away with 130 points on the day, and some fish to sell.