I've been on the water a ton this week. Hitting different areas and looking for tournament fish really. Redfish have been insane lately. The go pro curse is still very real as my hookup/landed ratio is in the gutter. Although, I still dont think I've had a day were I didnt catch a limit of reds.
On friday I got to do a little pre fishing with JET and Duy. I had a quick limit of redfish but the winds wouldnt let us hang out at the usual spot so we paddled back up wind and started hitting the tall grass for flounder. It wasnt long until we were filling up the cooler with some good size eaters.
I found out friday night that I had missed the registration for the KATS tournament. I think all the fishing just had me exhausted and it slipped my mind. Luckily enough for me there was a morning registration but I would have to launch later than the rest of the crowd. Winds were already up by the time I launched and I knew it would be a tough day.
The sun was covered up by clouds so I drifted a small gut next to the flats where they usually hang out. Threw around a swimming mullet and hit my first red at 22".
I kept on and eventually hooked into a nice upper slot red that threw the hook halfway through the fight. This was the theme for the early morning after I lost 4 upper slot reds in a row and somehow managed to pull out a huge 28" ladyfish from a pod of reds.
It was already 11AM and I was struggling to find my other 2 reds. KATS runs best 3 reds so I was in need. The sun finally came out for a bit so I tossed the drift sock and drifted a flat with a few inches of water on it. Spotted a pair of reds cruising and managed to get a strike from one of them! It wasnt a big redfish but it was 23" and on a tough day like this I knew it would help.
12 o'clock rolls around so I decide to make the grueling paddle up wind and drift a grass flat. The reds have to cross this flat to get back to deeper water. The dark grass really makes them light up with their orange backs.
About half way to my spot I see a back sticking up. I'm in a bout a foot of water so I knew it had to be big. I paddled upwind and set me drift. A cloud went over so I lost sight of it. Finally the cloud passed over and I saw the fish 2' off the nose of my kayak. A BIG bullred. It was every bit of a mid-40's fish. I held my breath and pitched my lure to it. *SMACKED* as soon as it hit the water!
It was a really awkward fight. I had to leave the rod tip down in the water for 2 reasons. The first was the wind, it was so high that if I held the tip up the line would bow and I might lose the fish from not keeping enough tension. The second, the fish was big enough in that shallow water that every head shake had his head out the water. I realllllly didnt want to lose this fish so I played it very carefully. The problem was the grass. With the rod tip low I picked up a ton of grass. Eventually I get it close but just out of net range. I cant reel in anymore line because its clogged with all the grass. I pull the rod back behind me as much as I can and then do a quick reach with the net for it. The hook comes out as soon as the tension is gone. I jump in the water for it but it already spooked off. Devastating way to lose a big fish in tournament.
I anchored up and had a bite to eat. Burning your short term memory is a big part of tournament fishing I suppose. I finish the paddle upwind and set me drift. Along the way I pass up several lower slot reds. I didnt want to waste time with them. Eventually Im able to present a lure to a nice upper slot! After a bit of tug of war I get the 26.75" redfish to the kayak to finish my 3 fish! Now im out to upgrade!
I reset the drift and immediately spot a big red in the 30's sifting through a grass line. I pitch my bait over and the red is following. Out of no where a black drum shoots out of the grass and steals the mojo mullet from the redfish. I've never been so mad at catching a drum before.
Before I even finish dealing with the black drum, a oversize red comes cruising by. I pitch the bait and she goes for it but short strikes! Shes sitting there looking for the bait so I send it back her way and she inhales it! Finally got a HUGE upgrade from 22" to 28.5".
It didn't take long for my bad tournament luck to kick in though. Right after I took pictures for the tournament she decided to do a tail slap and end my fishing day. Right when I was finally on the bigger fish =/.
I made the paddle back early and was the first person back to weigh in. Ended up missing top 3 by .25" and placed 4th with 78.25". Some great anglers turned in some great scores.
I took one day to rest and then got back on the fish monday morning. Limits of redfish were coming early and easy. Black drum are off and on. They will be around on windier days but if its calm on a low tide they are gone.
Ill be on the water this week as long as the weather holds out. A few more tournaments coming up. Its only a matter of time until it all click into place one day and I finally get the top spot.
I think I have the footage I need for a proper fiddler crab sight casting video. If there is anything specific y'all would like me to go over then just let me know.
Till next time
life is good