Well, the 2016 season of the Lone Star Kayak Series has finally come to an end. Going into the last event of the season I was in a 3 way tie for first, followed closely by two others that were behind us by 3 and 5 points.
I started the morning off by alternating between throwing a MirrOlure She Dog and popping cork with gulp. I would throw the topwater along the shorelines the majority of the time with an occasional toss towards the middle of a lake and grab my cork rod anytime I approached a drain or pinch. It took a while, but I finally had a 23″ red suck down my topwater near the back of a small cove. Not quiet the fish I was looking for, but it gave me a fish on the stringer early with plenty of time to upgrade. The next 5 hours were a grind. I worked big lakes, small lakes, channels, back coves, and everything in between with only a rat red and dink trout to show for my efforts.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned this year, it’s to never give up on tournament day. During the second event this year, my only fish of the day came with about 20 minutes of rising time left. The same thing happened during the 3rd event. I fished all morning without a single fish, only to find 15 lbs. right before making it to the truck and placing second. I was hoping for another miracle on this day and kept moving around, hoping to find a second fish.
We were down to our final hour of fishing when I heard a large splash way back in the grass of a large lake I was in. I stood up in my kayak to get a better view and noticed a really small marsh pond about 15 yards back in the grass. The only way in was through a very small channel that was about the width of my kayak. I thought to myself, “There’s no way a fish is back there”. I forced my way down the channel, entered the small pond, and stood up for a better view. At that point I spotted an upper slot red cruising the shoreline, reached down for my rod, and fired a Bass Assassin 4″ Sea Shad (Color: Fried Chicken) in his path and he jumped on it. The pond was small and the fish went berserk, using ever square inch of the pond to try and escape before finally hitting the net. It measured 27 1/4″ and was just what I was looking for. I had about 45 minutes left to upgrade my last fish, but that fish never came.
I made it back to the truck, loaded up the kayak, and hauled butt to the weighin. I knew I had a small chance for AOY, all depending on how the others did. After arriving, I saw that Jared Esley had 14.06 pounds, which was going to make it close. In the end I had 12.59 lbs with 4 anglers separating the two of us. This caused me to end up 2 points behind him, finishing 6th place for the day and 2nd place for angler of the year.
It was another fun year of tournament fishing, and just like in previous years, I learned a lot and grew as an angler. I’m already looking forward to next year where I’ll work on making another run at AOY.
As always, a big thanks goes out to all the companies out there that support me and help make all this possible.