Earlier this May 2021, Captain Eric McDonald of Deep Blue Kayak Fishing LLC experienced an unprecedented event while kayak fishing in the ocean off the coast of Boynton Beach, Florida. McDonald is always careful to assist his clients when reeling in large billfish and this day was no different. While reeling in a 50-pound-plus sailfish, McDonald felt a huge KNOCK in the side of his Hobie Mirage Outback and noticed the tip of the sailfish’s bill was broken about six inches from its tip. The fish got away and the commotion quieted, so McDonald jumped in the water in disbelief to see if there was any damage to his kayak. He couldn’t find anything, and no water was coming aboard, so he brushed it off and finished up the Hobie kayak fishing charter. Sailfish in Florida reach about 60 pounds, so this was a pretty large fish, and McDonald was relieved to realize there was no damage.
Upon arriving to the shore and pulling his kayak out of the water, McDonald found the tip of the sailfish bill lodged into the underside of his hull, hidden by a hatch and a cooler. He was in utter shock that this happened to him and in dismay over the damage to his beloved Hobie Mirage Outback. He immediately documented the incident and began to seek out repair help. McDonald went as far as seeking Hobie Mirage Outback kayaks for sale, not believing such a puncture could be fixed. McDonald was also upset about hurting the beautiful fish, but his fears were alleviated when he learned that it will not impair the fish’s ability to survive, although it will take a few years for the bill to regenerate.
Luckily for McDonald, Nautical Ventures’ kayak department is experienced in repairing punctured hulls. He was surprised to learn that kayak hulls often need such repairs, although not due to such ludicrous and unique incidents. Jon Grau, our in-house Hobie specialist and local sculptor, was prepared and eager to help get McDonald back out on the water and took the kayak in for mending immediately. Through the specialized technique of plastic welding, Grau promptly repaired the Hobie Outback to its original strength and impermeability.
Upon arrival to Nautical Ventures to pick up his Outback, McDonald was already ecstatic to receive his cherished Hobie fishing kayak in good-as-new condition. What he didn’t expect, was a special surprise from Grau. As an esteemed sculptor and local artist, skilled in multi-media work, Grau used the tip of the sailfish bill to create a unique necklace. Grau utilized wood beads and marine varnish to achieve the perfect conversation piece. Now, McDonald has a stunning necklace and an incredible story to tell when someone asks what is around his neck! The sailfish was left unharmed and humanely released, and, thankfully, his bill should be fully grown back in a few years.
Nautical Ventures is your go-to place for fun on the water! You can trust Nautical Ventures with all your kayak fishing needs, as well as kayak repairs. Visit us at either of our East Coast locations in Palm Beach or Fort Lauderdale.
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