45 2-man teams competed in northern California's Trinidad Rockfish Wars last weekend, hosted by Pacific Outfitters.
"Our goal was to take kayak fishing back to its roots. Back to the days before the kayak fishing industry exploded, when it didn’t matter how you got to the fishing grounds, only that you did. Back to the days before corporate sponsorship when anglers used what ever they had available and just went out and had fun," tournament co-director Jason Self said.
Team RodFathers, Rob Knoles and Adam Koons, secured victory with a tournament limit highlighted by 37- and 38-inch lingcod. "There were some great anglers on the water at TRW this year, and we knew they would be tough competition. It felt great to reclaim our Trinidad Rockfish Wars title," said Koons.
Chris Coleman logged the biggest fish of the day, a 39-inch lingcod that just edged out the competition. "I was slow trolling a white B-2 squid with a 2-ounce jig with a piece of sardine. It hit it like a ton of bricks. It was like reeling up a log. He thrashed and rolled quite a bit and some where in the chaos my rod broke," said Coleman, who just started kayak fishing last year. Trinidad Rockfish Wars was his first tournament.
Mike Bailey accepted the Barbie Pole Challenge. He showed tremendous commitment, fishing his Spiderman rod strung with 30-pound braid for the entire tournament. "It’s a pride thing. I had to give the rest of the field a chance on our home turf," he joked. The fish he handled on that kids' combo was anything but, a 30-inch lingcod. "Epic to say the least," he added.
Kiet Pham drove 400 miles to fish with the Trinidad Rockfish Wars field despite knowing that he'd missed the registration deadline. "It didn’t really matter because I just wanted some saltwater action. I still wanted to compete," he said. He used a green Scampi sweetened with a whole squid to fish up a massive 28-inch cabezon. "It was the best fight of any bottom fish I've ever got. No ling can come close," he said.
Michael Owens of Pacific Outfitters won the Handline Challenge with a 27-inch lingcod roped from a canoe. He was the only one to try it. “Next year I plan on taking it,” Self said.
Winners were awarded in all categories including the grand prize of a pair of Old Town Predator kayaks. This edition of the Trinidad Rockfish Wars was the largest in the event’s history.
"With such incredible fishing in such a beautiful location, it’s easy to see why competitors came from as far away as Los Angeles, Portland, and Sacramento to spend a fun filled weekend fishing with friends," Self said.