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TRAILER Te Trophy Twist


A CERTAIN SPECIAL MADNESS FIRES THE PASSION TO FIGHT BIG FISH FROM THE SMALLEST OF BOATS BY BRYCE MOLENKAMP


F


rom the early days of kayak fishing there’s always been a hearty bunch that


never shied away from the idea of catching fish bigger than themselves. I can imagine them as kids reading Te Old Man and the Sea and picturing their kayaks in place of Santiago’s old skiff. In my early days, I listened to their sto-


ries of plight, heartbreak and successes, hanging on every word. As they spoke, I was infected with a new kind of madness, big game kayak fishing. To this day, I feel that same stoke running through my veins just going through the ritual of getting my gear ready. Tere’s something about holding a thick


gauge, wide gap hook in my hand that gets me fired up. Te absurdity of its size makes me both laugh and grin at the thought of what unseen massive fish would think this is a tasty morsel. Te thick leader tied or crimped to it, ramped up in weight to with- stand huge, sharp teeth, makes the under- dog in my gut start to growl and sneer. Ten you get thick, heavy rods that can


hold their own with 50-pound line topped with reels bearing line capacities of over three football fields. With that setup poking out of your rod holder, you might be mis- taken for King Arthur wielding Excalibur. Tere isn’t going to be a measly night- crawler or cricket on the business end of


50 … KAYAK ANGLER FALL/WINTER 2010


that setup. Extra large herring or bunker tied up to 14/0 hooks. Twelve-inch plastic swimbaits and grubs, jerkbaits the size of a TV remote control, irons that could be mistaken for a wrecking bar; that’s what we’re talking about.


yak or tow ‘em to shore? Tis is adversity, up close and personal. We are the under- dogs here and I truly savor that role. All of this is built on the foundation laid


down by the pioneers of our sport. Guys who started out before there was such a


The only way it gets better is when after all the preparation and planning we’re met with a bone jarring take down, a bent rod seemingly ready to snap, line zinging off the reel, and a screaming slay ride.


Te special challenges of big game kayak


fishing are reason enough to savor the days we make it on the water. Te only way it gets better is when aſter all the prepara- tion and planning we’re met with a bone jarring take down, a bent rod seemingly ready to snap, line zinging off the reel, and a screaming slay ride. Tat’s only the beginning of the battle.


When it comes to fish of this size, the full 40 acres, landing them is a unique dilem- ma. Regular methods can’t contain them. We can snare ‘em with a well-timed gaff or harpoon strike but now what? Do you go Crocodile Dundee, pull out the Bowie and aim for the jugular? Hog tie them to the


thing as fishing kayaks or kayak fishing websites. Tey took what was available and worked their way up. Tose legends of our game looked at their ‘yaks and thought of fish pushing 50 pounds and didn’t even flinch. Tey found a way to make it all happen and in the process made history, inspiring the next crop of kayak anglers around the world, including myself. Now nothing is more exciting than


thinking of what new fish we’ll see caught from a kayak in the coming years. And just how big we kayak anglers really can go.


BRYCE MOLENKAMP is a kayak fisherman, writer and illustrator from the Pacific Northwest who can usually be found fishing for salmon on the waters of Puget Sound.


ILLUSTRATION: LORENZO DEL BIANCO


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