This past weekend I competed in the Willie Wimmer Slam Jam Tournament out of San Leon, TX to help raise money for a local Galveston fishing guide who sustained injuries from a gun shot wound to the back. Wade Bullard, the owner of the Hook Spit Fishing Store in League City, TX was hosting the tournament which included a boat and kayak division. Aaron and I had already registered and with a little bit of coaxing, we convinced David to sign up on the final day.
We chose our location a week before the tournament based on past experiences and reports from friends that had fished the area recently. For those who do not know, a slam tournament allows you to weigh in one slot redfish, one speckled trout, and one flounder with their combined total weight making up your stringer. We knew the redfish would come easy since that’s what we spend the majority of our time chasing but were a little unsure about the flounder and trout. I have a friend that has been killing the flounder in the area we were heading to that supplied me with some great flounder fishing tips including how to tie the same tandem rig he uses, what soft plastics and colors to throw, and a map where he had been having success. Another friend told me a few areas that the trout had been hanging around the last couple of weeks as well, so we felt pretty confident that we would each get our three fish.
When we woke up Saturday morning the winds were under 10 mph from the north and the temperature was holding steady around 50 degrees but would quickly climb to 70 as the day went on. We arrived 30 minutes before the 6 am launch time, unloaded our gear, and moved one truck a little further down the road to a second launch point so we would have the option of making the shortest paddle back to a vehicle depending on where we were when it was time to head in. At exactly 6 am we shoved off and made the 2 mile paddle to our first spot. We were going to try and pick up our redfish first since they had been schooled up early in the mornings during previous trips. About halfway to the spot David broke away and said he was going to fish a small drain that he’s had luck at in the past. Aaron and I continued on our way and finally reached the lake we had been heading to. We didn’t see much action so we decided to split up to try and locate some fish. I paddled another 1/2 mile across the lake to the opposite shoreline while he worked the near side. Aaron found a few schools and caught 3 or 4 reds with his largest being 26″. My side of the lake was pretty slow with no schools in sight. I decided to work the shoreline with a popping cork and gulp in hopes of finding a good sized single that might be roaming the area. Ten minutes passed and I hadn’t had a nibble. After a while I started looking across the lake for any signs of fish nearby and saw one tiny shrimp go airborne to my left about 30 yards off the shoreline. Without taking my eye off of where it landed, I reeled in my cork and fired a cast in it’s direction. A few seconds later my cork went under and what felt like a lower slot fish turned out to be a nice 26″ red that went into the fish bag.
In the video below you can barely see the ripple made by the one little shrimp and will notice that I do not take my eyes away from the area until my cork lands. By not glancing away, I was able to put the cork exactly where the bait had spooked.
I met back up with Aaron and we were both satisfied with the 26″ reds for the time being. We decided to head over to the flounder hole Johnathan had told us about to see if we could get our flat fish out of the way. We were fishing a small channel that turned out to be around 5 feet deep in the middle but closer to 1 foot near the edges. There was a scattered shell bottom with a small reef near the bend. Johnathan had told us to work the grasslines along the shallower water as slow as possible. I had tandem rigged one of my rods the night before with two 1/8th oz jig heads that were about 6 inches apart. I went with a bone colored killer flats minnow on the top and a Berkley 4″ Gulp Shrimp on the bottom. I parked my kayak and fished from the bank making casts that were parallel to the grass while working my tandem rig slower than I’ve ever worked any lure. I would basically give my rod tiny twitches and reel in the slack and repeat. My twitches resmebled the way you might move your rod if you were trying to scare a dragonfly off of the tip. The technique and rig paid off as my first flounder was caught less than 10 minutes after arriving. At 16″ I was glad to have a keeper in the bag but at the same time, was worried about my chance to upgrade. November flounder limits in Texas drop from 5 to 2 and you’re not allowed to cull them. With only one chance to upgrade available I was worried I would catch a 17″ flounder next and be faced with the choice of releasing it in hopes of catching a bigger one or keeping it and being done.
I continued working the area looking for an upgrade and picked up a 20″ red before catching a surprise 19″ trout. This was a decent trout which allowed me to complete my slam by 8:12 am. Aaron was working the same area trying to catch his flounder but kept catching undersized reds and trout. After bagging my trout I decided my best chance to upgrade my weight would be to continue working the area for a flounder and it finally paid off when I brought in a solid 19″ flattie. All of my fish up until this point came on the Gulp Shrimp.
As soon as I bagged that fish I left Aaron and decided to meet up with David and head out in search of a bigger trout. When I found David he had a fat football shaped red that was right at 24″ and a 19″ flounder like me.
We made the short paddle to a nearby area in search of a trout but had trouble locating them. We moved around to a few different spot but the trout didn’t seem to be around or at least weren’t feeding. We decided to head to our last trout spot that was near David’s truck determined to camp out on this area and continually work it until we found the trout or ran out of time.
After five minutes at this area we started hearing the distinct sound made by feeding reds in a nearby lake. I had my slam and was happy with my fish so I told David I was going to chase some reds while he worked for his trout. Before I could get past him he decided to join me. He said the thought of those reds feeding like that was to much to resist.
We spent the next hour or so sight casting lower to mid slot reds in shallow water with tons of shell. I was having a little trouble keeping my soft plastic out of the shell and decided to switch over to a Strike Pro Hunchback. Not only did this keep me out of the shell, but wakers are a blast to throw at shallow water reds. I would cast in front of the small wakes they were pushing and start reeling the lure in. As soon as they spotted the hunchback they would dart from behind it and explode on the lure which was fun to watch. After picking up about 4 reds each we decided to head back to the truck. We arrived at the same time Arron did and found out that he had found a 17″ trout and a 16″ flounder to complete his slam as well.
We arrived at the weighin and visited with friends for a while before the weighin finally opened. When it was all said and done, David had finished 3rd with 8.84 lbs, Aaron was 2nd with 10.10 lbs, and I had come out on top with 11.19 lbs. We had a great time on the water fishing with one another, plus its always nice when the plans you make come together as well as they did.