Shawn, Ricky, and I fished the 2nd event of the Castaway Graphite Rods Lone Star Kayak Series yesterday in some really tough conditions. The winds have been blowing pretty hard out of the south all week long which has the water in our bay system running more than a foot higher than normal. Between the high tides, 20+ mph wind, and cloudy skies it wasn’t the ideal day to fish but each of the 86 anglers had to deal with the same conditions.
We didn’t really finalize our decision on exactly where to go until Friday evening while driving home from work. I kept watching the wind and actual tide heights to see if there would be any last minute changes but nothing every seemed to change. I told Shawn and Ricky that I planned to go back to the same place Ricky and I had prefished on Thursday. I only had two bites that day with one of them breaking me off, but the one I netted let me know that I was in the right spot to give myself a chance to win it all. I knew the bites would be few but worth it if we got them so they agreed to fish the same area as well.
We met at my house at 3:45 and loaded up the kayaks and gear. We stopped at Buc-ee’s to grab some breakfast and a couple of drinks and then continued on our way. We arrived at our launch around 5:30 and started unloading the kayaks. We launched at 6:01 am and started heading for the marsh with high hopes of landing two big reds a piece. Ricky stopped off at a spot he’s had luck at in the past and Shawn and I continued making our way towards the area I had prefished a few days earlier. I saw a nice red completely destroy a small pod of baitfish on the way there but he never showed himself again. I blind casted the area pretty thoroughly but didn’t get a hit. I paddled another hundred yards and had reached my destination. The tide was outgoing and falling out through the main channel in the same direction the wind was blowing so it was moving pretty fast. I decided to focus on the smaller drains that were near the main one because while they would still have a good flow, they wouldn’t be moving quiet as fast as the main drain. I hooked into my first fish around 7:00 am by casting right in to the middle of one of the smaller side drains feeding into the main channel. After a couple of chugs on the Midcoast Evolution popping cork on a 1/16th ounce jighead with a Gulp Pogy (Color: Cigar Minnow) it disappeared. I set the hook and fought the fish for a good 5 minutes before getting it in the net. I had my drag set pretty loose to make sure I avoided any break offs on tournament day. This fish went 26 7/8″ and weighed 7.05 lbs. I was happy to have a good fish on the stringer on such a tough day, especially so early. I continued moving around to a couple of other drains, staking out, and casting for about 15 minutes at each before I decided to move over to the mud/shell mix where I had caught my fish on Thursday. I would stake out, cast for 15 minutes, and then move about 15 yards and repeat the process. After having no luck around the mud/shell mix other than seeing a few 30+ inch black drum I shifted my focus to the windblown shorelines and the small cuts that led to the adjacent lakes. On my first cast into one of the cuts I hooked into my 2nd fish of the day. After another 5 minute battle I strung my 2nd fish and felt pretty good. This one went 27 1/8″ and weighed 7.23 lbs. I had two pretty good fish and was able to relax a little for the rest of the day. I spent the next 4 hours trying to upgrade but never had another bite. I saw a few fish while paddling around but it was always right before I ran over them. Shawn and Ricky ended up only catching a couple flounder each which would have been great on any other day. We made it back to the truck, loaded up, and I headed for the weighin while they decided to head home.
I arrived at the weighin around 3 to discover I had 14.28 lbs of fish plus a 1/2 lb live bonus to put me in 1st place with 14.78 lbs with an hour and half to wait. 4:30 finally came and I held on to the lead and won by .69 lbs. and moved into 1st place for Angler of the Year. My prize package included $765 cash, a 7′ Castaway Skeleton Rod, $100 Grind Terminal Tackle Gift Certificate, Tailing Toads gloves and buff, Castaway Rods hats and shirt, and a nice 1st place trophy. As always, it was a lot of fun hanging out with friends, putting names and faces with TKF handles, and enjoying a Louis Cheeseburger afterwards. We all get a nice long break until the 3rd event which will be held on August 17th. For the time being I plan on getting back to what I love which is sight casting to reds in a few inches of water instead of popping a cork for the big ones.