Kayak fishing Addiction

 

 

 

In the Spotlight:

Kayak Angler, Oliver Hurst

 

 

Thank you for allowing me to introduce to you, an angler that has spent over 280 days on the water in a single calendar year in support of an on-line tournament, Kayak Wars. I now present Oliver Hurst, as he tells his story.

It all started 11 years ago, well kayak fishing for me anyway. My love for fishing started the moment I moved to Pensacola in the summer of 1987. Fresh off the boat from the U.K., I touched a rod the second day and had landed my first slot red at 25". Five years old and hooked! I would use every spare moment I had to wet a line, didn't matter the conditions. Whether it is surf fishing for Pompano and Redfish, wading flats for Speckled Trout and Flounder or fishing the bridges for Sheepshead and Black Drum, I had to have a pole in hand!

One day I was surf fishing with a good friend of mine. He owned an old Malibu Two XL that he had taken out fishing off the beach for Kings a couple times. He began to tell me how awesome it was and I was intrigued. I jumped at the chance to get out there with him. The first time I hooked into a King and the drag started screaming off the 706, whoa! My heart was racing. It wasn't until I had been out there a dozen times or so until the addiction started.

I was out there with my friend Dustin fishing for Kings. We were drifting in between the sand bars catching hard tails for bait. Dustin is in the aft of the kayak with sabiki in hand rounding up bait and I am up front putting a couple free-lined baits out. All of a sudden something catches Dustin's attention, "Dude, I think I just saw a Tarpon". Both his eyes and mine are staring behind us at the waters surface. Seconds later, a pod of six breach the surface less than 30' behind the yak and are heading our direction.

That's when we started freaking out! Only armed with King outfits, 20 lb. test and 60 lb steel leader, Dustin is convincing me that they look about 60 to 80 lb's and that landing one could be possible. I quickly reel in my free-lined Hardtail, as I am getting it in the pod is approaching quickly. Not wanting to miss my chance, as soon as the bait was visible 15' or so from the yak I snatched it out of the water and slung it over in front of the pod. As soon as it hit the water, we noticed a huge boil from the rear of the pod. In a split second, this silver giant leaps out of the water about 10'in the air with my bait in its mouth. "Fish on, Fish on" Dustin is screaming in my ear as I am hanging on for dear life.

Turns out that the big boy was hiding in the shadow. What turned out to be the possible quickly turned into the impossible. I was now in an epic battle with a 150 lb Tarpon from the kayak. Every jump he made, I bowed to him and my heart would stop. He was intent on taking us to Mexico as he dragged the kayak faster than we could paddle. With the rod digging in to my stomach, I was unsure as to how much of a beating I could endure. I can't to this day remember how long the battle was or even how far we ended up off the beach. All I can remember is my girlfriend Jessica saying that for the next three weeks I would wake up in the middle of the night, and start the fight with the silver giant all over again. Dream fishing! After that epic day is when the addiction started.

I purchased my first kayak shortly after and could not be kept off the water. The kayak became a permanent fixture on my SUV and it was always ready to fish. I started out fishing from the yak in a lot of the same areas that I had always fished. The only difference was more fish in the cooler. I really started to understand the water better with spending so much time 6" above it. I would watch the bird's bombing bait and would paddle top speed to catch that sleigh ride that was hiding underneath the school of panicked bait. I would spend countless hours drifting the flats and observing my surroundings. Watching fish in the holes waiting for that easy meal to float on by, watching bait fish change directions from approaching predators and noticing how the pressure changes, affect their habits.

After many years of floating about, I realized I was now part of my surroundings. The water became my home and my release from the every day troubles. It didn't matter if I had caught a 20 fish or none, I just took years of stress of my life. I remember there was a time when I was the only blip out there. People would come and ask me about the sport when they would see me. "You do what? From what?" it seemed as though technology had surpassed the original mode of transport for fishing. I would explain that this is not new; it is almost archaic in a sense. This is just the start of the Re-birth for the sport I would think to myself. I wonder why most people wouldn't enjoy not having to smell fumes or worry about electrical failure and other problems boats face. Just didn't make much sense to me at all.

I started out as something to do a couple times a week into something I do everyday of the week. A few years back, I started keeping a log of my time in the kayak. I was amazed that I had spent 280 days one year in the yak! Thanks Kayak Wars: )

After spending so much time on the water promoting the sport I finally started to get some recognition. Somehow I went from being me to this figure known as "Bloody Waters". I didn't mind the attention at all. I quickly began to get sponsors and requests for endorsement deals.

My first sponsor was through our local pro shop, Pensacola Kayak and Sail. After meeting with the guy's several times, they decided it was time to give me some free kayak's to help promote the sport and their business. As I was active on our local forums steadily trying to push the kayak gospel, I began to get even more attention.

One day I was helping out at a demo day and was approached by a gentleman wearing an Ocean Kayak shirt. I thought to myself this looks promising! He stated "so you're Bloody Waters" with a chuckle. "That's me" I replied. After chatting a bit he properly introduced himself. I'm with Johnson Outdoor's, my name is Dallas. I could feel my stomach start to knot up and didn't know where this was going. After exchanging e-mail's for a bit over the next few days, I opened up my inbox to find a request for Pro-Staff info, and also him asking if I was willing to travel. I jumped all over it! Within weeks I had all the goodies I needed including a Prowler Trident 13' Ocean Kayak. I got to say, I was pretty darn happy. I went from hearing "you fish too much" to "tell me more about kayak fishing".

I spent my days while employed by J.O. the same way, on the kayak with rod in hand. Only then I promoted the sport on a much higher level. I spent time off the water promoting the sport for J.O.U.T. at various seminars and clinics. I was at Bass Pro Shops several times a year for safety instructions, paddling classes and kayak fishing seminars. If I had the chance to change one thing, I wouldn't! Sometimes you just have to set a goal and try to achieve it even if it's a far reach. Hey! I never thought that splashing around in a piece of Tupperware would have got me this far.

I am happy participating in this sport and love to share my passion with others. I am a kayak fishing guide with www.pensacolakayakcharters.com . I am also part of Emerald Coast Heroes on the Water (HOW) chapter that uses kayak fishing as therapy to help our returning veterans. Come be a part of the plastic militia and start enjoying the benefits kayak fishing can offer.

Check us out on face book, Bloody Waters Kayak Fishing Team. If you're new to the sport or just wanting to better your catch, feel free to ask us anything.

 

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------

 


 

Anglers in the spotlight

 

  • Barrett Fine
  • Brandon Barton
  • Oliver Hurst
  • Linda Cavitt
  • Doug Richardson
  • Chad Skeeles
  • Landon Mace
  • Will Knight
  •  

  • In the Spotlight Home
  •  

     


     

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Back to Top

     

     

    Contact the Kayak Fishing Addiction if you would like to be presented "In the Spotlight", all kayak anglers are welcome to tell their story.