More than 110 kayakers came out to support the Heroes on the Water tournament in Mission Bay on May 3 2014. Two of the those kayakers were part of Team Dana Point Jet Ski, Ken Rosenburg and myself, Gilbert Hernandez. I did not have much of a game plan going into the tournament and I had little time to fish the area due to our busy tournament schedule. Going into this tournament I felt a little pressure having won the last event at Mission Bay. I wanted to bring the title back to Dana Point Jet Ski. Not to mention Kayak Angler magazine was there and that did not help with the stress.
My game plan was to hit docks with Berkley Jerk Shad and Bass Pro Football Heads. I mixed this up with some drop shotting as well. For Ken and I, dock fishing is our bread and butter, it’s what puts big fish in the boat. As the tournament started, Ken and I went our separate ways. I went to Quivira and he headed to the Sea World docks. Quivira docks are really deep. Most dock fishing is in 15 feet of water, Quivira docks are 25 to 30 feet so when you do hook a fish, chances are, you might lose that fish. As I went dock to dock, I found my first fish two hours into the tournament on a dock post with a Berkley Jerk Shad. The rest of my day was so slow, I wanted to make a move to the Ski Beach area because there is a lot of good grass to fish, but found out that it was closed due to a rowing tournament. With very little time left I knew of a dock on the backside of Bahia. One thing about tournament fishing you need to know is time! And tide! The tide was good, but time was running out. With one fish in the tank I knew with the struggle everybody was having that three fish would win it. I decided to make the move to Bahia and on my way I would troll an old school Berkley Frenzy.
As I was making the long move and trolling two baits I got a bend in the rod right away. I thought I was stuck, but then I began to pull back and landed fish number two. I asked the guys in the weigh boat how much time I had left knowing all I needed was one more fish to seal the deal. The weigh boat responded “you have 40 min”. I did the math in my head and figured that would give me 10 minutes to fish. I made the move to the docks at Bahia I began to pitch and reel, pitch and reel, and ‘Bam!’ I was hooked up. The fish gave me a fight. He turned me around and would not come in. I had no net and with one last crank of the handle I flung him in the boat. It was a solid 2lb fish. I peddled like crazy just in time to make the final weigh-in and ended my day with 5.2lbs.
It felt good to win the tournament. Ken finished 5th with 3.5lbs. The tournament raised $6,000 for Heroes on the Water and I was able to take home a new kayak for winning the tournament. All in all, a great day and another good win for Team Dana Point Jet Ski.