4:06AM Group Text Message: “There is nothing impossible to him who will try” – Alexander the Great
To successfully compete against the best of the best trout guides and anglers is challenging. To find success against 30, 4 man stacked teams is also challenging. To stand up on a podium and represent the kayak industry with a win against boaters is simply unlikely…
In order for us to have a chance we would have to prepare like never before. Weeks of limited pre-fishing different shorelines and figuring out patterns was challenging early. As a team we decided to isolate locations furthest to nearest, all in simulation for different weather scenarios. With so much change and two fronts ahead of us, log books would open for reflection. The perfect conditions for a kayak angler to compete begin to unfold and we knew we had a shot.
Our turning point scenario was discussed, and I let the guys know just how important it was to have this first shoreline pop off. Without it, our chances to stay competitive would decrease every minute. As a team we decided not to pre-fish our starting point for one specific reason. We knew what was there, and we didn’t want to disrupt it.
First cast was at 6:35am and I’m tricking fish shortly without vision as the sun continues to rise. Like clockwork the down shore order of events would follow one after the other which gave us tremendous insight and general direction of these fish. I ran early into a pack of SOLID 4lb 23” trout and decided to consolidate with Ram Garcia to keep them alive. Dustin would continue to work the same drift as I peeled off towards Ram. This was a downright excellent move on his part to keep lines in the water and rods bending. As I head to Ram and Poco I get word of a possible 8lber on board. Our perfect storm is beginning to unfold.
I get to Poco and it’s a STUD! “She almost yanked the rod out my hand” – Poco Cedillo. As I met up with the guys Dustin jumps on a 25” 24” and a solid 23”, which now puts all of us cycling and upgrading 4lb trout by 8am. After some number crunching we knew we had between 19-21lbs as our unofficial 4 trout stringer weight. A risky move by us but our fishing day was done before 9am. We decided to play it smart, and stop upgrading to risk possibly of losing to a dead fish. #TeamNoHorsepower shows up first in line with 21.58lbs and instantly becomes the team to beat. All those who came in early brought very similar weights. All pulling 20lb stringers, one of which bumped us down to second. A few minutes later another stringer just within a pound of us bumps us again. Early groups stop showing up and now it’s a slow wait to the finish. My thought process was many of these teams where on the hunt for the second feeding, which meant either upgrades or a bad beginning.
Down to the wire we go and we did it! We got on the podium with 1st-3rd all within a pound of each other. Surrounding myself with great kayak trout fisherman proved we can compete against the machines. I can’t tell you how proud I am of our team. Without them I would not be able to stand here and celebrate. Not I, not him, but we as a team. Team No Horsepower.
On a personal note, I again want to thank the team. One of my final pieces to feel like a complete kayak angler has always been to win out against boaters on kayak. Many of you may or may not know that I’ve done this before offshore, and today I can now say I’ve done it again, but this time inshore. This of course and only because of my team.
I think it’s safe to say that my 2020 tournament year is over, and what better way to do it than to toss a wrench in a motor.
As all my accomplishments go I want to thank God, wife, family, friends, and companies who continue to support me.
Chris Castro
ACK Kayak Fishing Team