The 3rd Annual Yak-In!
John Pennekamp State Park
Saturday, July 16th, 2005
Key Largo - Largo Sound
Hello once again.
The First Annual Yak-In was great - the 2nd Annual Yak-In was better - but the 3rd turned out to be the best yet! And despite the best efforts of Hurricane Dennis to disrupt our momentum, Capn's Dog Igor defied Emily "...poop on you!" - and the 3rd Annual Yak-In turned out a smashing success.
Had Dennis not swooped by, we were on track for 55 to 60 people, but had to postpone. Sadly, many of those who wanted to come - including authors Ken Daubert and Roger Hammer - could not make the postponed date. On the other hand, we were blessed and honored by Kayak Willie and his partner Judy, 31 yakkers and a beautiful sunny day.
Attendees included Art (who finally came on the right day), Art Perez, Luis, Bill W, George W, Kodiaz, Flatdog Geoff, Dan "Thing One", Kathy & Bob, Frank & Sally, Rick "Greyhawk" (who paddled there), Selchuk, Michelle, Les Lammers, Carol, Tom and John, Paul D, Don B, Kayak Willie & Judy, many family members and yours truly. If I left someone out, my sincere apologies.
As usual we started a bit late but hey - you're on Island time now baby! We were all concerned when Don B was a little later than usual (he's usually first on the scene). Thought he might have been killed or horribly maimed in a traffic accident. Worse yet, I was afraid I'd be stuck with the cooking. But he did roll in and saved the day and our bacon, er bakin.
Thanks to our Event Czar Scupper Frank, who suggested/helped the Capn arrange free entry to the park for our wacky group. I accomplished this easily with the head ranger when I let on that the real name of our group was the Ft. Lauderdale Violence Management and Yakfishing Club, and that I "might forget" the group's noon meds.
All had arrived and yakked up by around 10:30am (short of Don, and a couple others). What a sight to see all manner of roof racks, rigs, fishing gear and colorful yaks covering the launch site. The setting was awesome, the best yet. This year I splurged and rented all three shelters - the Snook, Starfish and Manta Ray. This meant that the whole remote south end was ours! Like having your own state park. The rangers left us be (remember those meds now) and we had the amphitheatre, shelters, dirt parking lot and gorgeous launch...
All to ourselves. It just doesn't get any better than that.
The Yak-In was dedicated as always to my dear Phoebe, and this year also to sweet Sue Sea (medical problems) and to Bob Culliney (a FLYC member who passed recently). Announcements included our timetable (back by 3 pm), an impromptu fishing tourney (biggest fish, most fish). Art predicted 7 tarpon - but he also predicted that he was gonna attend last year (but proceeded to show up the day before). Accordingly the tourney was on. Advised the layout of Largo Sound and some lures and techniques to try for cuda and bones.
Conditions were great - yes, a bit of wind (say a steady 15), but thankfully out of the east so the prime fishing grounds were mostly wind-protected. The waters were clear, but we did hit low tide. Still a number of bones were spotted and there were plenty of small to medium cuda. Art Perez scored a cuda pressing 3 feet. Unfortunately the big cuda go deeper; still I caught at least 10 decent cuda, lost probably 10 more and had a couple follows from some 3-4 footers. Lots of sharks were spotted, a large sea turtle, plenty of tropical herons, cormorants, anhinguas, ibis and the like.
A great day on the water. It was plenty hot so we had to stay hydrated.
Meanwhile back at the picnic site Rick was showin Sally how to dump and recover from her gorgeous swoopy Tracer SIK. Don and I can vouch for her expertise at dumpin - went over like a champ. Lovely splash. We never did see her recover as we were speedin out to join the gang. Sally claims she did great... congrats, nice accomplishment. Rick is quite the yakker, selected a sleek chined low-volume SIK from his collection and paddled to the event.
Some of the landlubbers and kids stayed behind too, got in some yakkin in the basin adjacent to the launch, and had walking access to the park's beaches and shops. Tom, John and Carol came a bit late but were there to greet us on our return.
Don and I arrived to also find Kayak Willy and Judy on site - what a great surprise! Soon the whole crew arrived and all got a chance to meet Willie, who shared many stories and brought his scrapbook full of newspaper and magazine clippings. He is a true pioneer, a self-made man and one of the originators of our sport. We were all honored and pleased to have him join us.
Soon the grills were fired up and the potlucks were revealed. As always we had TONS of food including fresh fruits, neat salads of several kinds, multiple deserts, cakes, Capn's Key Lime pie, munchies and many different dips, watermelon, Don's spicy ribs, coleslaw, potato salad, a turkish pasta salad, homemade cookies, and yes...
Baked beans. Oh yes, lots and lots and LOTS of baked beans! TONS of baked beans. Mountains of baked beans. Enough baked beans to launch the Space Shuttle without a working fuel gauge. And not nearly enough soft drinks.
Now, now we do our best. On one hand we don't want to tell people what to bring. On the other we don't want 50 lbs of potato salad. Or in the instant case, of baked beans. So this year we tried a sorta combination system, and actually it worked pretty good. But we hadn't planned on either Dennis, or Sue Sea's hospitalization. The guy who'd committed to bring lots of drinks and ice didn't make it. And your's truly didn't catch that and put out a needed request for liquids. Next time.
Nonetheless a pop run was made to the nearby Pubix and the eats were on. And were fantastic. A special thanks to Don B. who filled in on almost NO notice, made a bunch of spicy pork ribs, fileted our freshly caught cuda and snapper, marinated and cooked them over open mesquite-fed flames. And thanks also to Carol who took over grillin of the burgers and the Sabrett franks. In short..
The eats were abundant and absolutely awesome. And as always, too much food. But better than too little, eh? All present had fun grazin and goin back for seconds thirds and fourths. So nice.
Following our feast was our very first Fishin Contest with some super prizes. These included copies of Ken Daubert's now famous book "Kayakfishing, the Revolution" and of his new CD "Kayakfishing for Tarpon". Ken asked if I wouldn't mind promoting his upcoming CD "Kayakfishing for Bass". Done. Ken's book is considered the bible of kayakfishing and it sure was mine. No yakfisher should be without it. Thanks also to Waterplay who provided a raft of very nice prizes, from Fish Identification Charts, dry bag, nice tackle box and more. All together the prizes exceeded $250 in value. We're not the Pompano Rodeo yet but we're workin on it!
Last but not least - and after two long years - I presented all with the instantly famous "Capn Jimbo's Ft. Lauderdale Yakfishing Club" Kayak Sticker (already a collector's item, check Ebay for listings) and the new incredibly valuable FLYC Member Discount Cards - good for an honest 10% (and more) at Waterplay, courtesy of our friend Jon. Thank you my friend.
Finally it was time to yak-up and say our goodbyes. It was obvious that new friendships were made and I was so moved by the many thanks I received, along with requests to do it again, in one case "every week".
You talkin ta me?! No way Jose - but - my new promise is to promote more actual casual hook-ups. And I will now commit to a second Yak-In right after hurrican season and in celebration of the big 6-0!
In closing, my thanks to all. It is my great pleasure to help put together and promote an active yakfishin community in South Florida - a true Paradise. And if I forgot to give ya yer meds, you were much more entertaining...
Again, Phoebe - Sue Sea - and Bob Culliney - here's to you...
Special Note: As always this event was dedicated to my dear daughter Phoebe, a wonderful, creative and special young lady, the love of my life, who left us far too soon. Phoebe, as always, is in charge of the sky...
I miss you terribly... I love you Phoebs!