Annie Doyle

 

Annie Doyle is an angler with a penchant for keeping things simple. Coming to us by way of San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, Annie is a talented and passionate fisherwoman known for the unique methodology with which she pursues her prey. Eschewing traditional rod and reel, Annie takes to the sea upon a paddleboard, armed only with what she can carry in a small waist-pack. I first met Annie in Salt Lake City, Utah, a town that was playing host to the industry trade show known as Outdoor Retailer. As I admired the SUP creations of renowned waterman, Mike Doyle, I asked if he had any boards suitable for angling. Mike gave a wry smile, and introduced me to his wife. “Annie is quite the fisher,” Mike said, “but she does things a little differently…”


What first drew you to this style of angling? When was that?

Over 3 years ago, I started distance SUP-racing, and represented the Doyle company boards, as well. Part of my training was to just put in mileage. I was not that enthused at distance paddling. I started noticing a lot of different types of fish, and good sized ones, too. It got me excited and took my mind off of paddling. So one day I went home and told my husband I wanted to start fishing while I am training, but I do not want to use a fishing pole. Originally, I thought I could just troll a line off the back of my board.

So, out of this thought became my new life of SUP-fishing … and the creation of our “Doyle method” of SUP-fishing.

Trolling and training, and to catch and fish and have it as a reward to take home and eat was such a thrill of a thought!!!


Do you remember the first fish that you caught from an SUP?

The first fish I caught was a sierra, and within about 30 minutes. Had to start the fast thinking process. This was all so new. Plus this is a real fighting fish with a lot of sharp teeth. I was so happy my husband, Mike, was with me. I had never touched a fish before. I had to learn to put my thumb inside the fishes gill even to hold it down. Man, was that something else!?! Let alone learning how to kill it.


 

 

Our interviews rarely, if ever, delve into the nuances of technique, but, given the unique and successful means by which you fish, it is our hope that you can tell us a bit more about your fishing setup. Explain to us, if you will, what it is that you attach to the paddle of your SUP.

My setup:

a) I start with a piece of round foam (the pool toys sold in every market) and I cut it into 5 inch pieces. Round works better to keep the line tightly rolled up.

b) I use kiteboarding line, about 30 feet. It is non-stretch. Also, parachute line can be substituted. A slip knot is made at one end for my paddle and foam piece.

c) Then I use 50 to 80 pound monofilament, 20 feet long, tied to the kiting line (Palomar knot).

d) Next, a black swivel is attached to the leader (60 pound steel).

e) I prefer Rapala broke-back 5- 3/4″ grey and white bottom, with red head, lure. I immediately change all my lures hooks to a bigger size and a more industrial strength hook before they even touch the water!!!

Once I know I have a fish on the other end of my line, I throw the paddle to the side of my board and start pulling the line in (on the side I threw the paddle in). Always keeping the line tight, at some point now, I get to my knees or sit down. I Always know where the excess line is. Once I get the fish up to the rail of the board, I try to get my thumb into the gill ASAP, and hold it down onto the deck on the board to contain it. Immediately, I pull out my knife, take it to the back of it’s head, and then with my pliers,  pull out the hooks. And ASAP, I throw the hook into the water AWAY from me. Once there is no more movement with the fish, I tie the extra line I have already on the top of my board (about 2 foot long), from the mouth through the gill. Then I quickly get my paddle and check out the lure, etc., and proceed to continue fishing. All my tools are tied to my fanny pack belt. I also wear bicycling gloves, so no line burns!!!


 

 

What food and/or music fuels your drive to the put-in?

I love my 5:30 AM pre-breakfast meal. It is always a smoothie with greens and flax seed added to it, and a little German bread toasted with avocado!!!  I have the smoothie in the car, going to my destination of launching in … almost going over the speed limit with excitement …

I also love to listen to the music group, Whitesnake. My favorite song is  “Here I go again on my own.” Ha, ha, ha; so me!!!


 

 

With regard to SUP angling, what issues are important to you? What, if anything, can be done about them?

For me: K.I.S.S. is my whole strategy!!!

A teacher one time said to me:

“You get more from less.” My teacher’s name was Mr. Less. Ha ha ha, but this way of thinking stuck with me through out my life. I sometimes see SUP-fishing folks forgetting so much equipment and running back and forth to their car and on and on. or they lose a whole pole off their SUP because it isn’t tied down corrctly and …

All I can say is, “Here I go again on my own!!!”


 

 

Barring money or logistics, what is your dream SUP angling trip?

I do not have a dream spot on this plant I would like to fish, since I have not even used, to the max, my own playground outside our front door!!! There is so much life here on the tip of Baja. Why travel at this point?


What’s in your milk crate?

I think “milkcrate” means your rig? If so:

I use a 12’6″ Doyle R/T (race touring,of course).

I like room on the deck of the board to deal with my fish. I even had a leash plug put in on the nose area. There I tie off my fish to keep it contained and organized. This is my racing board for the 12 miler I do, and the bonus of this board is that I can go through chop/wind and also CATCH WAVES, too, on it with fish attached, and line wrapped up in my fanny pack! I did catch a fish one time while riding a wave; it was gnarly paddling it back out through the rest of the set dragging that poor fish. It was a 6/7 pound grouper. Not a good idea to sup-fish waves with surfers around!


 

 

Tell us about your best day on the water.

My best days on the water are when I start off in the dark mornings, knowing there are fish biting and jacked up to the max. I wear a flashing head light as soon as I put my foot in the water – just to avoid the ponga boats, who can not see me. What a rush already. With no other thought in mind except:

Me and what am I going to catch today.

I usually do not come home unless I catch SOMETHING. Here is my other biggest thrill: When I paddle by our casa and I have my catch on board, I know my darling husband is looking through binoculars to see what I have caught. I just love this next part. When he see’s me, he gets all the makings for fish tacos ready before I get home. Avocado’s, cilantro, a little onion, red cabbage and corn tortillas. Isn’t that so sweet?!? Fresh breakfast fish tacos are out of this world!


 

 

What is the SUP fishing lifestyle?

My SUP-fishing lifestyle is,

a) when there is no surf or very little, I go for it.

b) when I am training for an SUP event, I SUP angle!

c) when I know there are fish running, I am on it!

d) when I would like to have fish to eat, I am on it.

e) I like to encourage people to try it.


Tell us a story, any story.

Ahhhhh one of my favorite SUP angling stories,  so far!!!

My husband and I were in Cabo Pulmo, Mexico, about a year ago, and, as usual, I decided to to SUP fish early in the morning, in this beautiful bay area. The wind was already up, and no fishermen were in sight. I still decided to go because it looked wild and it was new territory. I head towards Frelies Mountain, feeling happy and lucky and small. I noticed the wind picking up, coming from around the mountain, so I thought I would stay more inside more. Also, I started seeing more disturbances about 50 yards ahead of me. Getting more stoked. I’d say within 20 minutes, I had the biggest tag/bite…

I was immediately pulled off my board and as I went down, I grabbed the rail with my left hand and arm. Still holding on like hell to my paddle, I was being dragged, pulling the board sideways. I also felt a pop like in my shoulder and I could feel some discomfort, but had zero time to think about that. It was so scary and exciting at the time; I kinda wished I had someone else around. On top of this, that mountain started looking ominous, the water darker, and the bay no longer beautiful to me.

I focused back in and kept trying to get myself back on the board and go for a real ride. Truth is, I did not want to be submerged in the water anymore! It felt like forever, but maybe within 2-4 minutes I was able to climb back on the board and stay!!!

I, for sure, could feel the fish tiring out. I frickin’ scored. Then the reality set in, and I was wide eyed thinking: “what do I have on the other end?”  How was I going to handle this guy on the deck of the board?  Is my knife big enough?

AND THEN BAM…no more tight line. I was in disbelief. I stood up quickly and rolled up my line, looked at where the leader was snapped, and paddled my ass off back to the shore where I started. I paddled like I was going for gold. A local fisherman said there where roosters below the mountain so I didn’t feel too bad for this loss. Also, he told me I was in a fishing reserve. Geeezzzz.

The reason I held on to my board so quickly was I had no leash. Bad girl.

Bottom line, it was all good, exciting, I wasn’t hurt, and makes me keep coming back for more!!! Arrrrr!


 

 

Your style of angling exemplifies minimalism. You employ no rod or reel, and instead troll by way of line attached to your paddle. Tell us about your motivations for eschewing the traditional means of fishing.

I beach launch, and have seen blow ups with buddies who did not time it right. They had buckets , poles, pole holders, tools, and sometimes hook exposure. That all went flying all over the place. Reels and sand don’t mix well. Very dangerous!!! Lots of lost sunglasses, too.

Again, I can stop anytime to surf. I just roll up my line and lure, put it in my fanny pack, turn around, and catch a few waves.


Your first fish was caught when you were in your early fifties. Given your Hawaii-dwelling father’s love of angling, and your husband’s legendary status amongst the world’s elite watermen, an angling debut in one’s fifties may strike some as surprising. Were you long incubating a desire to fish, or did you come to the hobby by way of spontaneity?

Once again the desire came to me at 50 years old, when I started sup racing training. I have been perfecting ever since.


What does the future hold for you?

In the future, I plan to go for larger fisih approx 30 pounds and up; hubby is already working on a break-away clip that comes loose from the paddle and is attached to a buoy.


 

Leave a Reply

*