The first event of the 2016 Lone Star Kayak Series kicked off this past weekend, with the weigh-in held at the HarborWalk Marina in Hitchcock, TX. The last couple of April events have not been very kind to me, with only one fish to show for my efforts in both 2014 and 2015. I was determined to turn things around this year so I made sure that I was able to pre-fish before the actual event. After rummaging through some of my old fishing logs from past April trips, I took a day off from work and hit the water 10 days before the event.
I took my time that morning and didn’t get on the water till nearly 7 am. The wind on this day was non-existent, so I tied on a super spook jr. and an oval popping cork with gulp. I started off with the cork, giving it gentle pops across the glassy water. After a good 15 minutes with the cork and no bites, I made the switch over to the super spook jr in hopes of finding a few hungry topwater fish. On the very first cast, I watched as a 30” redfish appeared 5 yards behind my lure, pushing a large wake with its head as it made its approach. As excited as I was, (because I knew what was about to happen) I continued walking the dog as if I hadn’t seen a thing. The red inhaled my spook, and a few short minutes later I had the fish in my kayak. A 30” red was not what I was after, but it let me know that I was in the right spot for big fish. I decided to stick with the spook jr and had another red in the kayak 15 minutes later. This one measured 29”, so at least heading in the right direction. These two fish were followed by 28.5”, 23”, and 27 7/8” reds, not to mention a 4 foot gar also caught on topwater. I decided to explore a few different areas before heading home, but didn’t really fish much more after that. I had found the fish I was looking for, and even though I was 10 days out from the tournament, there was no reason to stick around and beat up on these fish.
I felt pretty confident that I could pull some good weight on tournament day from this spot, as long as nothing crazy happened between now and the 23rd. Of course, this being April an all, the weather went a little crazy. Lots and lots of rain flooded all of the rivers that lead to the gulf and we faced crazy high tides from the strong SE wind. As Saturday approached, I started second guessing myself and wondered if I should blindly fish a spot that would be less effected by the fresh water. Luckily, I decided to stick with my original plan.
On the day of the tournament, Johnathan and I launched our kayaks with half a dozen other anglers. We were all sitting around waiting for our clocks to say 6 am, and once they did, we were off and running. I reached the area I had pre-fished and immediately began throwing my Bone Super Spook Jr. I hadn’t made more than a dozen casts before a relish exploded on my lure. I fought the fish for a few minutes before finally getting a good luck at it. Its head came out of the water and I couldn’t see my spook Jr., so I knew I had a good hookup. After netting and stringing the fish, I laid it across the ruler and gave its tail a pinch and a swipe. 27 5/8” with plenty of time left to find my second fish. I felt great at this point and continued throwing the spook for another hour without any luck. I made the decision to switch over to my popping cork to see if it would produce. The winds were similar to my pre-fish day, but the tide was running nearly a foot and a half higher. So high in fact, that I was unable to crabwalk the area like I normally would.
I worked the shorelines, points, and pinches without a bite. I finally came across a decent sized drain where I immediately hooked up with something monstrous. My cork went under, drag started peeling off my reel, and all I could do was watch, as whatever had taken my gulp rounded a corner and finally broke me off. After a few choice cusswords, I thought about it and decided that it didn’t matter what I had just lost, because it wasn’t going to be a 20-28” red anyway. I tied a jighead back onto my cork and picked up a flounder a few casts later. I kept moving around, focusing on the points and grass lines without much luck. I approached another drain, and made a cast near it with my cork. Just like before, my cork disappeared after a few pops, and I had on another fish. It took a while to get a good look at the fish, which ended up being a 31” red. It was nearly 10 am at this point and that great feeling of having a solid fish at 7 am was starting to fade.
We deiced to leave this lake and try a few other spots out. Lucky for us, this move ended up paying off. Johnathan picked up a stout 24” red that weighed a little over 6 lbs. by tossing his cork into a drain. At this point I decided to move a little more and cast a little less. I worked my way around the lakes and only stopped to cast if I saw something to cast at or if I came to a drain. I ended up picking up a 25” red at the 3rd drain I came to, and that helped relieve some of the pressure of showing up with only one fish. At this point I decided to slowly fish my way back towards the truck. I had hoped to upgrade my smaller fish as I went that direction, but never had another bite.
I arrived at the weighin a little early, but that just gave me a little time to hang out with friends that I hadn’t seen in a while. When it was all said and done, I had placed 6th out of 147 anglers and finally broken my string of one fish April events.