Why is the NOAA report always off by ... 10 knots below actual. I should have listened to the Weather Channel report which is always right. Michaleen (Mike) was trying out her brand new Rapidfire sit on bottom canoe.
Unfortunately, she was too small for this boat and she loaded very light and did not have the trim right. She got blown around once we left the launch and was having trouble controlling the boat in wind. That was partly the decision for us to stop at Lopez and figure out what the problem was with her boat. This was her first canoe experience and she was packing like a kayaker. Her original kayak was an Impex that is almost 18 feet long and 20 " wide. She needs coolers, chairs and cots! Here are some pictures of the Rapidfire at the launch site with a comparison of it next to the Hemlock Kestrel:
The original plan was supposed to be a base camp at Mormon so I could fish the river mouth and islands. Connie wanted to photograph and Fred wanted to find the entrance to Charley Creek. The constant 15 knot and gusting winds had us first night at Lopez but on the second night we made it to Mormon. Part of the plan was to stop at Huston River to show Michaleen the still that Totch spoke about in his book.
I fished the areas between Sunday and House Hammock that I usually have success with but not this day. After we left Chatham I started catching some very nice trout! They loved that DOA gold fleck with 1/4 oz jig head.
I also saw Capt Wright who was sight fishing the outside islands with some clients when we got out of the mouth of the Chatham.
My friends setting up while I fish.
Mike and her new and improved Rapid fire (we added alot of water storage containers to weigh it down).
The next day we get up early and are on the water at dawn. The water is calm and we make the crossing of Chatham Bend and head for the Huston Coves where the spanish maks were very aggressive. I had to stop trolling through there to avoid catching more. It was fun!
As usual the wind gods turn on the machine at 9 am and now we are getting rear quartering swells pushing us along. I stop at several points along the way and notice that the tarpon and redfish are starting to stage in these areas. The tarpon are of the 60-80 I am a coward and do not try to target these from my canoe. But the redfish.......hooked a nice one at the coves but lost it at boat side All winter I have been after a redfish and finally I hook one and lose it!
Within sight of Rabbit Key and the wind is now getting pretty strong but I need to catch dinner. Craig Key has always been a reliable flat.
Setting up at Rabbit Key A beautiful afternoon with lot's of wind to rid our camp of bugs.
I finally had a chance to try out that Rapidfire canoe. It felt very stable empty and when I powered into the wind and then stopped at all points to the wind it did not weathervane. The canoe was perfectly balanced. Of course I weigh 170 lbs and Mike weighs 95 lbs and there you have the problem. It is a very fast little boat and I actually loved paddling it. Can't get too excited, really do not need another boat We walked around the island and then settled down to a nice dinner with friends. Unfortunately, one of those friends (stubb) was not there and we did wait for him before opening up that bottle of wine.