As a product manager at Hobie, Morgan Promnitz has pedaled the seven seas catching damn near everything that swims. As an ambassador of the sport, since he was a teenager his image has graced banners, billboards, screens and the cover of Kayak Angler. After a lifetime on the water, Promnitz has celebrated victory and suffered defeat.
While his experiences are on a grand scale, at some point in the journey, all anglers travel rough water. We asked Promnitz to share his greatest victory and worst defeat, so we can better understand our own triumphs and tragedies.
Going way back, I was fishing with my dad on my 18th birthday. I hooked a huge thresher shark. During the hour-and-a-half battle, the fish pulled me two miles down the coast. I had never caught a fish over 100 pounds.
Today, I would land that fish a lot faster, but I count the catch as one of my biggest victories because I learned a lot about safety that day. My dad had no idea I hooked the fish.
When he saw me being pulled towards the horizon, he chased me down. Now I carry two VHF radios. After catching my first thresher, I was hooked on big sharks. We targeted them by trolling Rapala plugs until I noticed most of the fish were snagged in the tail.
I was afraid of injuring the fish, so we switched to live bait to hook more sharks in the mouth. I trace many of my accomplishments back to that first big thresher shark.
I have had two great defeats when I underestimated the power of Mother Nature. One of my earliest was one of my dumbest. I had attached my rodholder mounts with rivets. The first time I punched through the surf, the wave ripped off the rodholders and my rods leaving gaping holes in the plastic.
My other close call came when I was fishing solo a couple miles from shore. My kayak was tied to a kelp stalk when I hooked a 50-pound white seabass. I didn’t want to get slime on my pants, so I opened the bow hatch and prepared to swing the fish into my boat. Just as I was lifting the fish, a big wave flipped my kayak.
I managed to right the boat, but it was full of water. Luckily, there was a boater nearby who helped me drain the kayak. I pedaled back in defeat. Now I attach a bungee to my anchor rope to absorb the rise and fall of the waves. And I keep my pump in easy reach.
After the incident, Hobie added closed-cell foam to the hull to improve floatation. Both defeats taught me to check my confidence before the ocean puts me in my place.
Full effort is full victory. —Mahatma Ghandi
Feature Photo: Chris Holmes