To be honest, I wasn’t prepared to fish the OK Classic. I had a new kayak, a Hobie Revolution 16, and I hadn’t fished from it yet.
On the morning of the tournament, I woke up early and quickly rigged up my kayak, checked the Garmin finder, and had the rods all rigged ready minus hooks. After registration, I carried on checking over everything and picked up my bait.
It was easy to decide what to wear on a day like this – a pair of Atom paddle pants to keep my legs from burning, an SPF50 fishing top with a ninja hood, Buff fingerless gloves and a pair of Rock low ankle boots.
At 10 am, the horn sounded and we all raced off from the line. I used a Garmin VIRB360 for the first time – the results were brilliant.
It seemed like we were all heading in the same direction, the breakwater, and the fort on the breakwater.
I stopped off nearby and picked up a redband fish, an amazing looking creature caught on the first drop. Then, it was off to the fort. There were only Hobies, ten in fact, and all the paddlers were still heading out, only to arrive about twenty minutes later.
I watched everybody bagging up with fish as I struggled for a bite, then getting broken off by some huge wrasse. Finally, I caught a Ballan wrasse, a Pollack and a Dragonet. Four species was a good start, but I couldn’t find another species to add to that. As everybody started to leave the fort, I kept thinking; don’t leave fish to find fish. Finally, I caught a tompot, a corking wrasse and a goby. With seven species down and an hour to go, I started heading back while listening to a few tunes.
Everyone at the fort had a goldsinney wrasse except me, so I hunted for one. I had been told there were some by the slipway, so as soon as I got back and with the slipway full of kayaks I dropped some bait and got an instant bite. It was a Sand smelt. Eight species was pretty good and with only fifteen minutes to go, I headed in.
I didn’t expect to get placed, having seen so many fish caught. Luckily, my name was called for 8th place overall. 1st place had caught ten species.
Three hours drive home and now I can rest for four weeks until Oxwich … I need to start preparing.