Author Archives: tailtailsigns

Galveston Redfish Series Event #2

Grant and I fished the second event of the Galveston Redfish Series a few weeks ago and were fortunate enough to wind up in 2nd place.

I took the day off work on Friday to check out a small back lake in an area where we’ve caught some nice tournament quality fish in the past.  It took a little over an hour to reach the lake, but turned out to be worth the long paddle since I found exactly what I was looking for, with several schools of upper to over slot fish.

I went ahead and pulled two fish out of the schools to verify their size, and they were exactly what we would need the next day at 27″ and 28 1/4″.

After releasing those two fish, I made the long paddle back to the truck and left the fish alone in hopes that they would stick around till the next morning.

As anticipated, the fish stuck around and were schooled up when we arrived the next morning.  We started making casts and pulling fish in as soon as we arrived.  Once the schools broke up, we concentrated on large singles that were tailing around the shallower parts of the lake.  When it was all said and done, we headed back to the launch with 4 fish between 26.5″ and 27 1/8″, and released several that were just over 28″.  We decided to take all four fish with us, and determine the two heaviest when we arrived at the weighin.

We determined which of the 4 fish were the 2 heaviest and weighed them in for a combined weight of 15.54 lbs., which was good enough for 2nd place.  It’s always nice to find some solid tournament fish while pre fishing, especially when they stick around and are there the next day.

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An Inshore Review of an Offshore Kayak: The Viking Profish Reload

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As far as offshore kayaks go, there’s no denying that Viking Kayaks are one of the more popular brands on the market. Here in Texas, you’ll find plenty of anglers in one around the rigs on the southern end of the state. Whether they’re trolling for kingfish, sightcasting to cobia, or jigging for red snapper, Viking Kayaks excel in the offshore environment.  While they were designed with the offshore angler in mind, these kayaks have some great features that make them an inshore fisherman’s dream. If you’re looking for a kayak with great speed, good stability, and lots of versatility, the Viking Profish Reload is worth checking out.

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At 14′ 9″, the Reload finds the middle ground between the popular 14 and 16 foot kayaks. The extra bit of length gives the tracking and speed a nice boost, while still maintaining the ability to navigate small marsh ponds and narrow channels that require you to make sharp turns in tight areas.  As far as width goes, the Reload comes in at a slender 29.5″ wide, with a surprising amount of stability without sacrifcing any speed.  At 68 lbs., it’s one of the lightest kayaks you’ll find in the 14 to 16 foot range. The dimensions and hull design of the Reload combine to produce a kayak with the perfect balance between speed, stability, and maneuverability.

So what makes this kayak a great choice for inshore anglers? For starters, speed and the ability to cover long distances with less effort.  When fishing from a kayak, you’ll want to avoid spending a lot of time and energy while paddling to the area you plan to fish. 28-redWhether you’re making a short trip or plan on covering ten plus miles, you don’t want to waste a lot of time and energy paddling when you could be fishing. With a half a dozen paddle strokes, you can easily reach and maintain top speed with minimal effort. Not only will you reach your destination faster, you’ll feel less fatigued once you actually arrive.

Two important things offshore anglers benefit from include the ability to punch through rough surf and good stability while fighting big fish. While inshore anglers don’t have to worry about big waves or landing too many fish over 10 lbs., they can still take advantage of these features that are built into the Reload. When faced with high winds and rough water, the Reload handles them like a champ. The bow is slightly raised due to the fact that the seat sits more towards the back of the kayak. This slight elevation in the bow gives you an edge over most other kayaks when it comes to paddling through choppy water on windy days.

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While standing is not something I do very often, I do like having the option in certain situations. The stability of the Reload gives most anglers with decent balance the ability to stand and fish. I can personally stand up, pole around the marsh, and sight cast to redfish without any fear of tipping over. While I may not do so every trip, there are certain days when it comes in handy.

As far as deck space goes, there are two types of anglers. Some want a clean, wide-open deck, while others like having the option to store tackle and gear in an easy to reach location. screen-shot-2017-01-18-at-10-51-37-amIf you enjoy an open deck, the kid pod insert is perfect for you. It has a small, circular storage hatch that sits flush with the deck, allowing you to store a few items while still keeping a clean and open deck.

If you like storing all your gear where you have easy access to it, the tackle pod is the insert you’ll want. The Tackle Pod has the ability to house your fish finder, battery, transducer, and plenty of tackle/gear, all in one removable bin that sits between your legs. It only takes a few seconds to insert the entire unit into the kayak. Simply toss it in your vehicle and throw it in the kayak once you’ve unloaded it.   When you return to the launch after a long day of fishing, remove the pod and toss it in your vehicle before loading up your kayak. Doing so will reduce the weight of your kayak by 5-10 pounds as you load  it back up. The great thing about these two decks is that they are interchangeable. You can switch them out, based on your preference for that day on the water.

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Other features worth noting include the front rod stagers, the seating area, and the front flush mounted rod holders.

The Reload has four rod stagers at the bow of the kayak to help keep your rods tip from sliding off the side of the kayak. I personally like to keep a rod in my lap at all times for those unexpected times when shallow redfish show themselves at the last minute. The ability to drop my paddle, grab my rod, and make a quick cast has helped produced more redfish than I can remember over the years.

As far as the seating area goes, it was designed so that you sit low in the kayak, which helps to improve your overall stability. While sitting in the kayak, you’ll immediately notice that your thighs are slightly elevated. By raising your thighs a few inches, you automatically enhance your overall comfort by taking some of the pressure off of your lower back. This is great for those long days on the water to help offset any discomfort that you normally experience.

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The front flush mount rod holders that were originally installed for trolling baits are a great place to put your rod after you’ve landed a fish. This keeps your rod out of the way while you work on unhooking your catch.

As far as kayaks go, this is definitely a paddlers boat. You can cover long distances while maintaining great speed with minimal effort. Whether you’re punching through rough surf to head offshore or stalking skinny water reds on the inshore flats, the Profish Reload excels in both environements.

For more information, visit the Viking Kayaks website at http://www.vikingkayaksusa.com

 

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Trout Support Instructional DVDs

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Christmas day is quickly approaching with only 10 days before Santa Clause makes an appearance.  As I mentioned in my last post, buying fishing related gifts can be extremely difficult unless you’ve been told exactly what the person you’re shopping for wants.  Most veteran fishermen have already purchased every lure, rod, reel, and gizmo for his boat/kayak in existence while the rookie anglers have a hard time figuring out just what they really want/need.

One thing that every angler will never be able to gain enough of is knowledge.  At the end of every year, I’m always amazed at just how much new information I’ve gained.  In my mind, I’m always thinking to myself, “I’m not sure how much more I can really learn at this point”, yet every year I prove myself wrong.  In fact, I’ve come to realize that no matter how long I spend kayak fishing, I’m never going stop learning from all of my experiences while on the water.

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Whether you’re new to inshore fishing or you’ve been doing it for years, the Trout Support DVDs will make a great gift suggestion if your loved ones are asking you to toss them a hint.  As of right now you can choose between two different trout DVDs titled “Finding and Catching Big Speckled Trout” and “Finding and Catching Limits of Speckled Trout” and two redfish DVDs titled “Bays and Shorelines” and “Marsh and Grass Flats“.

As far as trout fishing goes, the “Big Speckled Trout” DVD is my favorite of the two since the areas that big trout like to frequent are very accessible for kayakers.  However, I’m way more infatuated with skinny water redfish, so the “Marsh and Grass Flats” DVD is hands down my favorite one to watch.

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When I purchased the Marsh and Grass Flats DVD a few years ago I had already been kayak fishing for a few years.  I was having a good amount of success and had even started putting some of the information I was gaining on the water together. I was pleasantly surprised to have the DVD confirm so much of what I had already suspected such as signs that fish are present, areas to concentrate on, and bait that redfish like to eat.  What I hadn’t realized was that there were so many other factors involved when trying to locate and catch redfish.  The height of the tide, whether its ingoing or outgoing, wind direction/speed, and several other factors had never crossed my mind when it came to consistently catching fish.

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While the experience you gain while on the water can never be duplicated, the ability to sit in your home and watch some of the top guides/tournament anglers on the Texas coast explain things with actual footage and great animations will help cut the learning curve by an unmeasurable amount.  Tobin does a great job on the DVDs and will answer any and all e-mails you send him for clarification on the information provided.

If you see a DVD that you’d like to purchase, you can use the code “TailTailSigns” when you checkout to save 10% off your entire order.

http://www.troutsupport.com

 

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KastKing Rack ’em up Fishing Rod Holder Review

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With the holiday season just around the corner, there are plenty of people out there trying to figure out just what to get that special angler in their life. Unless you know exactly what the person your shopping for wants, it’s usually a good idea to steer clear of lures, rods, reels, or similar equipment since most people have their favorite brands, colors, and models. If you’re looking for a safe gift to purchase that all fishermen can use, the KastKing Rack ‘em up Fishing Rod Holder is definitely something to keep in mind.

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As makers of quality products such as reels, braided line, and other fishing related gear, KastKing has created a lightweight, portable rod rack that has the ability to hold a plethora of rods and reels. This easy to assemble rod holder was the 2015 iCast New Product Showcase Winner and is reasonably priced on the Eposeidon website and other retailers for around $60.

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dsc_0110-copyNot only can you assemble this rack in less than five minutes, it doesn’t require a single tool in order to do so. Because the frame is constructed with lightweight aluminum, this rust resistant rack weighs in at just under 5 lbs., allowing you to move and/or transport all of your rods with ease. Soft cushioning at the two areas where your rods come in contact with the holders helps to protect them from damage that could possibly occur. With some of todays higher end rods costing more than $300, it’s comforting to know that your prized possessions are well taken care of.

If you know of an angler that just tosses their rods in the corner of the garage after each fishing trip, the KastKing Rack ‘em up Fishing Rod Holder is a piece of equipment that they can get years and years of use out of.

For more information about this product, visit the Eposeidon website at http://www.eposeidon.com

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JPI Invitational Day 1 Video

I put together a short highlight video of some of the fish from the first day of our annual camping trip down in Matagorda.  I fished an area that I’d never fished before and found plenty of schools and singles roaming the grass lines.  The bite was great on this day considering I only fished from about 11 to 1.  All fish were caught sight casting 4″ Bass Assassin Sea Shads in colors Fried Chicken and Candy Cane.

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2016 Lone Star Kayak Series Event #4

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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.

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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.

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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.

| Werner Paddles | Hook Spit Performance Rods | Buggs Fishing Lures | Viking Kayaks |

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Werner’s New Redfish HD Graphic Paddle

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If you’ve ever visited my blog, one thing that’s obvious is my obsession with redfish.  They are hands down my favorite fish to target whether I’m fishing for fun or competing in a tournament.  With that in mind, I’m really excited about the new Redfish HD graphic paddle from Werner Paddles. Keep an eye out for it at your local retail store beginning September 1st in both the Shuna (high angle) and Camano (low angle).

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Not only does this new graphic look great, the paddle is constructed with materials that will provide you with the perfect balance between quality, durability, and affordability.  The combination of fiberglass blades and a carbon blend shaft has the Shuna weighing in at 27.75 oz, while the Camano comes in at a mere 27.5 oz.  Not only does this paddle allow you to paddle further with less fatigue, it will last several years, even for the angler that is rough on his gear.  On top of that, Werner Paddles are handmade right here in the USA, with an attention to detail that is unmatched.  For more information, check out both the Shuna and Camano in all the available designs at http://www.wernerpaddles.com

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2016 Lone Star Kayak Series Event #3

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This past weekend I spent my Saturday fishing the 3rd event of the Lone Star Kayak Series.  After a rough outing during the last event, where I only caught one redfish thirty minutes before having to leave, I thought for sure that I had put myself out of the running for angler of the year. With that in mind, the plan was to go for two big bites and not play it safe.

I spent the majority of my summer chasing trout in Galveston bay instead of the marsh for redfish, so I basically had to gamble on where to fish.  We had about ten straight days of rain leading up to the event, so getting out to prefish was not an option.  I picked my location based on past results and arrived at the launch with a little less than ten minutes to unload my kayak and load up my gear.  By the time I finished situating my gear and parking my truck, it was 6 am and time to go.

I made the three mile paddle to the area I planned to fish and began working the shoreline, focusing on the various points, drains, and coves along the way.  I started off with a STX Tackle Popping Cork and Gulp Mantis Shrimp, but after an hour with no bites, I switched over to a Bone Skitterwalk for a while.  After an hour of continuous dog walking and no luck, I went back to my popping cork for a while.

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I picked up a 17″ trout at one of the drains I was fishing, but that wasn’t the fish I was looking for.  I kept grinding it out with my cork, hoping that I would come across a hungry redfish, but a bite never came.  I finally circled back around and started the same drift again.  Without much action during the first few hours, I decided to drag my popping cork and gulp behind me while working my topwater in front of me.  I figured two lures in the water were better than one on a day like this.  Ten minutes into my drift, I hear my cork rod screaming and reach back to grab my rod.  I’m thinking that I have a lower slot red, before finally getting enough line in to see the slime near my cork.  It ended up being a 4 lb gaftop, which was way worse than the previous trout I’d caught.

At this point I’m running a little low on time and have to be back at the truck early anyways because of a previously planned event.  I finally decided to throw in the towel and head back to the truck.  After paddling about a mile back towards the launch, I decide to stop off at one last spot for a desperate shot at finding a couple of fish.  I pull out the Skitterwalk and make a long cast down the wind protected shoreline and start walking the dog back towards me.  Twenty seconds later, my lure gets clobbered by a solid redfish and I can’t believe it.  Five hours straight of non stop casting tops and corks with no fish, and on the very first cast on the way back to the truck, I’m on the board with a chunky 25.5″ red.

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I string the fish and continue working the area.  Two casts later, and I have another chunky red on my stringer at 26.25″.  A half a dozen more casts, and I stick a thick 26.75″ red, giving me what feels like 14+ lbs. between my two heaviest fish.  I work the area for another twenty minutes, hoping to find an upgrade for the smaller of my two fish, but time is not on my side and I still have a two mile paddle to reach the truck.  I want to take it nice and slow to keep my fish alive for the half pound bonus, so I head in a little earlier than I’d like.

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Because of my previously planned event, I was forced to weigh my fish and immediately get back on the road.  I received a text message a few hours later informing me that I had finished in 2nd place out of 96 anglers with 15.02 pounds, which included my 1/2 lb. bonus.  This finish brought me back into the AOY race, by jumping into a three way tie for first, followed closely but two others.

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The last event of the season is on October 8th, and will determine who takes angler of the year honors.  With that title on the line, it’s going to make it difficult to really enjoy the last event.

 

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The Skiff Life

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It’s not often that I leave the kayak at home and fish from a boat, but his past Monday, David and I decided to do just that in his new Mitzi Skiff 16.  While this little skiff is going to be a redfish catching machine in the future, we decided to focus our attention on trout this day.

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We launched shortly after 6 am and made the short drive to our spot and set up for a long drift.  David went with his trusty Heddon Super Spook jr while I elected to go with the Heddon One Knocker.  It didn’t take long before we started getting some nice blowups, followed by our first fish of the day.  It was a small dink trout barely bigger than my One Knocker, but it gave us a little confidence knowing that fish were in the area.  David hooked up a few minutes later with another dink trout, followed by our first keeper trout of the day at 17″.  We spent the next two hours catching 10 keeper trout between 17 and 20 inches, 6 dinks, had more missed blowups then we could count, and lost a few that shook the hook at the boat.  Every fish we caught came on tops, so its tough to beat a day like that.

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We fished a small drop-off over a hard sand bottom in 3-4 feet of water, casting to the shallower water, then walking the lure over the edge.  We also spotted a few slicks and determined where they originated based on their size and the direction they were heading to catch a few fish.  Good info that I picked up from the Trout Support DVDs I picked up about 4 years ago.  It was nice to finally put some of that information to use. Don’t forget that you can save 10% off your entire order if you decide to purchase any of their DVDs by using the code “TailTailSigns”.

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Later, we spent a few hours running to a few different spots to explore, and called it a day before it got too hot.  I love kayak fishing, but taking a ride on the skiff on occasion is going to be nice!

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Another money saving code for anyone interested is with Dexter Outdoors Knives.  For the rest of July, you can use the code “Icast16” to save 20% off your entire purchase.  The code changes each month, but we normally post it on the Lone Star Fishing Team Facebook page.  Great knives for filleting fish!

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University of Houston Cougar Saltwater Open

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This past weekend I had a chance to fish the kayak division of the University of Houston Cougar Saltwater Open.  Prizes were being awarded to the heaviest redfish, flounder, and trout in both the boat and kayak division.  They also had a heavy stringer award that would go to the angler with the heaviest stringer consisting of three redfish, trout, or flounder (only one red allowed).  This category was between both boat fisherman and kayakers.

After giving it some thought, I decided to try for a slam to see if I could win multiple categories in the kayak division.  My plan was to fish for my trout early, load up between 10-11, and head to a different spot for a redfish and flounder.

Tournament rules allowed you to launch whenever you wanted, but you couldn’t make your first cast until 6:00 am.  Grant and I launched around 5:15, reached our spot by 5:40, and sat around for 20 minutes just waiting for 6 am to hit.  As soon as it did, we started casting.  Grant went with his trusty pink Skitterwalk, which has landed him more big trout than I can count, while I started off with a bone super spook jr.  Winds were low and the bay was calm, so I went with the smaller, quieter topwater.

RedfishIt didn’t take more than 15 minutes before I had my first hook up which spit my lure after a short fight.  5 minutes later I netted my first trout, a decent 18″ fish.  I kept working parallel to the drop off I was near with a few more blowups, but no hook ups.  It didn’t take long for the wind to pick up a little and put a little chop to the water.  I grabbed my second rod with a Speckled Trout patterned One Knocker Spook and continued working the area.  With the added chop, I switched lures because I wanted one that was slightly larger and a little noisier.

It didn’t take long before I hooked up with a solid trout that succeeded in hanging me up on the bottom and escaping.  I was unable to get my lure back, so after breaking my line, I tied on a Bone colored One Knocker.  It was around 8:00 am by now, and the blowups and hookups had slowed down quiet a bit.  It had been nearly 3o minutes since I’d had any action when my lure was sucked down by a good fish.  It turned out to be a really fat 21+ inch trout, which gave me two trout in the fish bag.

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The wind continued to gain speed, which caused small white caps to start appearing on the water.  I decided to switch lures once more, and tied on a black/silver/orange MirrOlure She Dog.  The She Dog and One Knocker are similar in size, but the She Dog makes a little more noise.

Grant and I decided to leave the drop-off and fish some submerged grass in hopes of catching some redfish, and completing our three fish stringers.  However, all we found were more trout.  I netted my 3rd and 4th trout of the day over the grass and decided it was time to head back to the truck and look for some reds.

I reached the truck around 11:00, loaded up, and made the short drive to my redfish hole and launched again.  I started off throwing the She Dog with no luck, and decided to switch over to the trusty popping cork.  In the past, I’ve thrown nothing but Gulp under my cork, but have been using an Egret Baits Vudu Shrimp for the past couple of weeks with good results.  The vudu shrimp is tough, and so far, I’ve caught about a dozen reds on the same one, with no signs of wear or tear.  It’s also less likely to attract smaller trash fish, and doesn’t seem to catch less fish than Gulp with its scent.

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It took about 20 minutes but I finally boated my first red, a 17″ rat, which of course did me no good.  Five minutes later, I had a redfish attack my cork and take it under.  He quickly realized that it wasn’t something worth eating, and released it a few seconds later.  I gave it a gentle pop, and he turned on it and came back and grabbed the vudu shrimp this time.  He fought hard for several minutes before finally hitting the net.  I threw him on the check-it stick and he measured a hair over 26 inches, which I decided was good enough for me.

 

I had decent fish for two of the three species, so decided to make one last stop to see if I could grab me a flounder.  The flounder bite never came, but not for lack of trying.  I drug the bottom of my flounder spot with a tandem rigged pair of Gulp Swimming Mullet, but they didn’t want to play.  I picked up a few more trout, but they were all smaller than my previous fish.  I was satisfied with the fish I had, so decided to head over to the weighin.

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When it was all said and done, I had won big redfish and big trout honors in the kayak division.  My prize included two wooden trophies and two Bison 25 quart Coolers.  It seemed like most other kayakers had a rough day on the water, because not many fish were weighed in by them.

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My stringer fell a couple pounds short of the powerboat guys, do to the fact that my trout could not compete with theirs, even though I had the biggest red of the tournament.

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It was a fun day on the water, with a nice challenge of catching a slam during a tournament, instead of just targeting one species all day.  I’ll definitely be back next year to fish this event again.

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Conditions:

Wind: Started off calm, but reached 12-15 mph

Weather: Sunny with temps around 90 degrees

Tides: Incoming in the morning, then slack for the rest of the day

Bottom: Quick drop-off and grass while going after trout, then soft mud for the redfish

Depth: 3-5 feet deep while trout fishing and 2 feet deep for the reds

Lures: Bomber Paradise Popper with Egret Baits Vudu Shrimp, super spook jr, One Knocker Spook, and MirrOlure She Dog

Rod and Reel: Cork – Daiwa Ballistic EX 2500 on a 7′ 2″ Hook Spit Zephyr Elite and Top Water – Shimano Curado HG on a 6′ 9″ Hook Spit Recon

Kayak: Wilderness Tarpon 140

Paddle: 250 cm Werner Cyrpus: Hooked

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