I met Robert Field at the Outdoor Retailer show this past August. As most of you know Robert lives a life on the road filming his adventures for YakFishTV. I’ve always been impressed with his professional attitude, business sense and passion for the outdoors. While at the Outdoor Retailer show we briefly discussed a trip he was starting to put together fishing the west coast starting in San Diego and working his way north. This trip was all about catching new species for him and he really wanted a ling cod and red vermillion. Naturally I invited him to stop on the Central Coast for a visit.
While Robert was planning his trip he made plans to fish with Ryan Howell and myself. Robert likes to fish for big sharks and was very interested in Ryan’s encounter with a great white. After several emails back and forth we set a date for October 9th. What we didn’t know then, and is always impossible to predict, were the amazing conditions we would have. The other thing we could not predict was the arrival of Ryan’s son Benjamin who was due to around the 9th.
As it turned out Ryan became a new father a couple days before Robert’s arrival to the Central Coast. Ryan could not make it out to fish with us. We knew he was disappointed he didn’t get to fish but we obviously understood. I’m pretty sure he was content holding his new baby boy after a night of little to no sleep.
Robert arrived on the 8th after a successful few days in San Diego. On the morning of October 9th we left my house in San Miguel and headed for Spooner’s Cove at Montana de Oro. I wanted Robert to have the opportunity to see some of the amazing scenery the Central Coast has to offer as well as some terrific fishing. We couldn’t have planned it any better.
Robert was using my Predator PDL and I was using my Trident Ultra. We launched around 7 am after meeting Ryan Arguello and Paul Williams who also planned to fish there that day. The swell was about 1 foot and the wind was non-existent. It was like a lake.
We spent the first part of the morning dropping jigs in 60-100 feet of water. I had him rigged up with my flashabou jigs and we were getting various rockfish, mostly gophers, on every drop. We weren’t finding the lings inside however so we ventured out to deeper water.
We ran into Anacapa Bob’s dad, Ryan and Paul in 200+ fow. We decided to change up to swimbaits after Paul landed a nice ling. I rigged up a 6 oz. brown jig head and 7” Halloween Big Hammer swim bait for Robert and gave him some quick tips on fishing it off the bottom. Soon after he dropped it he got hit with a 23”-24” ling … not what we were looking for… he wanted a fatty.
He kept dropping it and then all of the sudden yells “Fish On”! I could tell right away he had something good by his reaction. Maybe it was a fat red, maybe a nice ling. As the fish came up Robert says it’s a huge ling. “What do I do?” he asked. I advised him to use the grip and land it with a laugh. He pulled the fish alongside his yak, reached down and pulled up a beautiful 29” ling cod. He was stoked and I was stoked for him. He asked if he should release it – I said hell no that’s dinner! He put it on the game clip and tossed it in the back of the yak.
The fog was starting to push in a bit and the launch would disappear and then come out into view again.
Paul and a buddy of his decided to make their way towards the launch. Ryan Arguello stayed out and fished with us for a while. Ryan is a great fisherman in my book but both he and I were having a rather frustrating day – lots of fish but nothing of decent size. Ryan headed south to see what he could find. Robert and I headed in to around 140 fow. We kept pulling up fish. I moved in a little shallower and found a nice school of blues. Most were small but a couple nice ones in the 15” range.
I still hadn’t put Robert on a red. I suggested we swap out the rigs for a dropper loop setup and just fish with squid as fishing time for the day was starting to run out. We both switched up our rigs and of course it was a lot of gophers and blues. Finally I got a nice hit … I pulled up a 17” red. Robert was blown away at the color. But he didn’t catch it. We had to keep trying. We fished until about 3:30 but didn’t get a red for Robert. We made our way in and decided to hit Leffingwell the following day.
Once we got back to my place we got a couple beers open and prepped the ling for fish and chips. OK the chips were Tater Tots but that’s OK with me after a long day on the water. I prepared the red vermillion to make ceviche. Robert films EVERYTHING – all the food prep and everything from the trip. When he finally puts the video from the trip together this ought to be a funny clip. We grubbed on a great dinner, had a few beers and some laughs then got ready for the next day.
We hit the road around 6:30 as the weather report was for dense fog at the coast. As we made our way over 46 West, the skies were clear. As we approached the summit I knew we would see that all too familiar blanket of fog over the ocean with Morro Rock in the distance to the south. I pulled over to the vista point on the left to get some film footage. Robert is from Texas. He had never seen anything like it. He filmed some panoramic shots and took some photos before we made our way down to Highway 1 heading towards Cambria.
We arrived at Leffingwell and it was socked in. We prepped our boats and hit the water to another day of flat ass calm conditions. We ventured out and started dropping jigs and it was much slower than the previous day. A couple gophers but the action was pretty slow.
Robert had that eerie feeling we all get when you’re on the water and the fog is thick. It can be really disorienting. We used a couple marks on my fish finder to get ourselves back in position. The fog began to lift a bit and shortly after we ran into Willy B Man.
We positioned ourselves off the edge of the kelp beds and started getting some really nice blues in the 16”+ range. A good amount of gophers still showing up and a few olives as well. It was one of those stretches of a half hour or so where it’s just non-stop action. A few minutes later Robert’s rod goes full bendo … he starts reeling it up and he shouts “RED”! I paddled over and he pulls in a gorgeous 19” vermillion. Super stoked – he landed the two species he was after on the trip. We spent the rest of the day in shallower water trying to get him a nice cabezon but weren’t able to find it.
We made our way back to the launch and decided to drive up Highway 1 towards San Simeon to see the elephant seals before heading back over the hill. The big bulls were fighting and he was able to get some good footage of them. On our way back we stopped and grabbed some Mexican food and a beer in San Simeon. After lunch we made our way back to San Miguel as he was heading out that evening on the next leg of his adventure.
All in all it was a great time. It was a pleasure hosting Robert and getting to know him a little better. Robert has put himself out there and of course has lots of haters on the internet. I think they’re just jealous. Nobody handed this to him. He has worked incredibly hard to get YakFishTV launched and to a point where he can make a living. I can honestly say he didn’t really stop to relax other than to eat. The few hours spent at my place he was constantly working – posting on social media, uploading film footage, editing footage, charging batteries, replying to emails etc. The guy busts it out 24/7 and rarely takes time off. I’d fish with him again anytime. Hopefully we can get him out here for the Slam Down at some point in the future.
Author John Kenny
Johnson Outdoor Prostaff and Fins Prostaff and CCKF Ambassador