DANA POINT—At the very east end of the harbor, near the doorsteps of Doheny State Beach, the Dana Point Jet Ski and Kayak Center offers direct water access steps off its showroom floor.
And while the establishment, which opened in 1978, is said to offer the largest west coast rental, demo and charter tour fleet of current Jet Ski models year-round, the business’s kayak fishing tournaments may be its best kept secret.
Owner Tim Boyer and Co. run a “Fishing with Friends” tournament with nine dates scheduled throughout 2014. The largest legal fish reeled in takes the pot, comprised of a $10 entry fee. A $5 big bass side pot is also in play during the trips.
Boyer, who took over the center in 2003, said participants range from 20 to 70 years in age. As most of the experienced anglers head outside the harbor to capture sizeable catches, those participating in Boyer’s tournaments typically target halibut, calico bass, sand bass and the occasional yellowtail.
Participants bring their own equipment, but kayaks can be rented if needed. Single kayaks are $15 and double kayaks are $20 for the first hour, with additional fees attached at an hourly rate.
Boyer said beginning fisherman have the opportunity to shadow more experience anglers at these tournaments, learning to identify prime fishing locations, tips and what species to fish for.
“I wouldn’t say it’s school room training but it’s tips,” Boyer said. “We really gear it toward the beginning fisherman. There have been in the past some big kayak fishing tournaments, where there will be 150 participants. We’re looking at the 12 to 20 people range.”
Boyer added that kayak fishing has grown over the past 10 years, especially in the ocean. Kayaks provide a stealthy base, allowing fishermen to stay in a singular spot with ease regardless of wind and current conditions.
“You can get into the middle of the kelp where other boaters might not go,” Boyer said. “You can go into non-boating areas closer to the beach.”
Gate launch for the tournament opens at 6:30 a.m., and a weigh in, award ceremony and post-tournament pot luck begins at 2 p.m. The next tournament is scheduled for Saturday, July 12.
Boyer also leads Islander Kayak Mothership fishing trips. Chartering a boat out of San Diego, Boyer leads a group that travels to San Clemente Island for two full days of fishing. The group of up to 22 anglers lives aboard and fishes on kayaks, putting in 12 hour days on the water. Each trip costs $515 per person, which includes live bait, food and sodas.
This winter, Boyer will head a six-day San Felipe Kayak Mothership trip scheduled to depart Sunday, Oct. 26. Partnering with Fish Village, Boyer and crew will travel on the Tony Reyes, a 107 foot steel hull boat with air conditioned staterooms. Catches during the trip will be preserved using the vessel’s ice hold, flash freezer and commercial vacuum packing machine, capable of sealing five bags at once.
The fishing format is a mix of panaga and kayak fishing, targeting yellowtail, dorado, pargo, grouper, cabrilla, triggerfish, red snapper, white seabass and sheephead. Single passes for the four-and-a-half days of fishing and six days out to sea costs $1,095. For more information contact Mike Ponce of Fish Village at (714) 658-4089.