Posts Tagged With: Bass Assassin

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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Hook Spit Lone Star Kayak Series #3 2015

Photo Credit: Jeff Herman

Photo Credit: Jeff Herman

I’ve often heard other tournament anglers say, “If you don’t have your fish by noon, odds are you’re probably not going to get them”. Although I would never give up while fishing a tournament, I have to admit that little saying had crossed my mind a couple times the other day during the Hook Spit Lone Star Kayak Series.

This was the third event of the season, and for the first time this year, I felt pretty good about my odds of doing well. The wind wasn’t bad, we had sunny skies, and I had been on some solid redfish over the last few weeks. Shallow patches of shell and soft mud bottoms had produced a good amount of redfish during the beginning of August, so I decided to stick with what had been working. The majority of my fish had come from a popping cork with gulp, with the rest coming off of a soft plastic that I would use to sight cast singles or pitch into a school.

Plan A was to locate the schools that had been roaming the area in recent weeks, but they were nowhere in sight. After spending a good hour trying to locate the school, I decided to head for shallower water with plenty of shell. I made a long drift across one of the larger lakes, staying within 30 yards of the shoreline, and on the edge of the large shell patches. I sight casted one small redfish along the shoreline before deciding to try the opposite side of the lake, which happened to be the wind protected shoreline.

Photo Credit: Aaron Ferguson

Photo Credit: Aaron Ferguson

As I approached the protected shoreline, I immediately noticed a few mud boils pop up, which was a good sign. I fan casted the area for a few minutes and hooked up with what felt like a solid fish. Five seconds into its first run, it spit the hook, leaving me with a sick feeling in my stomach. I decided to stay on the move, trying to spot more fish to cast at, but didn’t have any luck. I didn’t have much time left to fish, so I decided to work a small channel as a last ditch effort. I had one lower slot red on the stringer after seven hours of hard fishing, so the odds that I would pick up my second fish were looking pretty slim.

The channel only produced a few rat reds so I decided to fish my way back to the truck. I had only made it about 20 yards across the main lake when I spotted a group of birds hovering a few feet above the water about a half mile away. I knew these birds were on a school of fish, and that this was the best chance I’d have at picking up a much needed second fish. I caught up with the school after a five minute paddle and with one cast, I went from 41st to 9th place, thanks to the 26 1/4″ red that pounced on my soft plastic. The fish weighed in at 8.09 lbs. and ended up being the heaviest fish of the whole tournament. My two fish had a combined weight of 11.70 lbs. and helped me bring home a small amount of cash and a few prizes.

The fishing wasn’t hot and heavy on this day like it had been during my previous trips, but that’s how fishing goes. Still, I had a great time and enjoyed visiting with friends at the weighin. We have one event remaining this year in October and I’m looking forward to it.

Photo Credit: Aaron Ferguson

Photo Credit: Aaron Ferguson

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Hook Spit Lone Star Kayak Series

If you live in the state of Texas and have been thinking about participating in a kayak fishing tournament, then look no further. With three successful seasons under its belt, the Hook Spit Lone Star Kayak Series will kick off the 2015 season on April 18th. This kayak only redfish tournament gives anglers across the lone star state a chance to compete against one another in a tournament that is competitive, fun, and friendly.

Based out of Galveston, TX, the LSKS brings anglers from all over the state together to compete against one another four times a year. sponsorsReasonably priced at $65 per event with no captains meeting, anglers simply register online and launch their kayaks at 6:00 am from any publicly accessible launch site between the Sabine and Colorado River the morning of the tournament. Cash payout goes to the top 25% of the field meaning one in four anglers will be going home with cash and prizes from great sponsors like Hook Spit Performance Rods, Werner Paddles, Bass Assassin Lures, and Yak Gear just to name a few. The weigh-in takes place at Louis Bait Camp in Hitchcock, TX where anglers weigh their fish, enjoy free beer supplied by Southern Star Brewery (another sponsor), and share their fish stories about the one that got away. Anglers earn points at each of the four events throughout the season to crown an angler of the year at the final event in October. The 2015 angler of the year will be taking home a new kayak donated by Viking Kayaks along with other great cash and prizes.

Since its inaugural season back in 2012, the LSKS has become one of the top kayak fishing tournaments in the state. Last April, ninety-one anglers registered for the first event of the season leaving no doubt that hitting triple digits at some point this year is not farfetched. The average number of participants per event has continued to climb over the past three years progressing from 57 to 74 to 78.5 anglers this past season. Although still more than three months away from the first event of 2015, recent chatter around local fishing forums and other social media channels is showing an increase in interest from anglers that are new to tournament fishing. For a variety of reasons, the LSKS is a great event for anglers to make their tournament debut.

When I first started fishing the event, I was new to kayak fishing and only knew of one location where I could consistently catch a couple redfish. Werner Paddle Donation to HOWEven though they were mostly lower slot, I was content with the fish I was catching and never felt it necessary to try new spots. It didn’t take long for me to realize that if I wanted to be an actual competitor in the series that I would have to gain more knowledge and explore new areas in search of larger fish. Over the next couple events everything seemed to fall into place. I had discovered several new areas to fish and started noticing and learning more about a redfish’s behavior based on location and structure in an area. Over the next several months, the length, weight, and number of fish I caught began to increase. By the end of the first season I had improved from 7.43 lbs. at the first event, to 12.00 lbs. at the last event, ending my season with a 5th place finish. The following year I took home a first place trophy brining in 14.78 lbs. to the 2nd event of the season. The desire to improve and become a better tournament angler was a driving force in making me leave the comfort of the first marsh I had discovered and search for newer ones with a better quality of fish.

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The LSKS is also responsible for introducing me to 90% of the people I fish with and consider good friends. The weigh-in basically becomes a three hour meet and greet with more than fifty anglers from across the state sharing stories, putting names with faces, and planning future trips together. Off the top of my head, I can name more than 20 anglers that I have fished with over the last three years that I had never met before the tournament began. Kayak fishing is fun, but it’s even more fun when good friends are involved.

As the sport of kayak fishing continues to grow in popularity, more and more anglers are discovering that gaining knowledge and experience in a tournament setting can be both fun and rewarding. With the added sponsors and increase in prizes and participants, the 2015 season of the Lone Star Kayak Series is looking like it will be the biggest and best so far. To register or see a full list of rules, pictures, or past results visit http://www.lonestarkayakseries.com


Lone Star Kayak Series Fun Facts


  • Out of the 12 events so far, 10 different anglers have won an event
  • $1 per registered angler is donated to Heroes on the Water
  • The April 2012 event was won by a first time tournament angler
  • A ½ lb. bonus is awarded to anglers for bringing in at least one live fish
  • We have anglers that drive in from all over the state including Dallas, Austin, Corpus Christi, etc.
  • Free beer at the weigh-in!
  • 25% of the field wins cash and prizes
  • 1st – 3rd take home trophies
  • LSKS is active on social media
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West Houston Kayak Club-TKF Speaking

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If you live in the Houston area and would like to hear me talk about catching redfish, I’ll be speaking to the West Houston Kayak Club on February 10th. The meeting will take place at Midway BBQ in Kay, TX in the large meeting room from 6:30 to 8:00. The topic will be “Redfish Lures: When and Where to Throw Them”. I’ll be focusing on my favorite lures for redfish and explaining certain situations where I like to use each of them along with the reasons why. I have a 32 page PowerPoint presnetation full of pictures, videos, and helpful information from my experiences on the water over the years. Grab a friend, come enjoy some good BBQ, and talk fishing with me for an hour.

 

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Double Limits of Reds in the Wind

One of the perks of being a teacher are the long breaks we get throughout the year.  Thanksgiving is first, followed by Christmas, and then spring break before the long summer break comes back around.  After hanging around the house on Saturday and Sunday with my daughter I called up David to see if he wanted to make a Monday morning trip in search of a few fish.  We checked the weather and of course, the winds were predicted to be blowing 20+ mph from the north.  With the winds blowing more than 20 mph we decided to leave the trout and flounder alone and seek shelter in the marsh looking for redfish.

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We started off working a small drain where David picked up a few rat reds while I landed a lower slot red and a 12″ flounder.  The action was slow here so we decided to push a little deeper into the marsh focusing on the grass lines while looking for nervous bait, wakes, or even mud boils that might give away a few fish.  We didn’t want to commit too much time to blind casting the area until we knew the fish were around.  It didn’t take long to discover that the fish weren’t hanging around the shallow areas so we started moving towards a deeper drain a mile or so from our current location.

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We pulled the kayaks onto a small island near a narrow channel that connected two lakes to one another and been fan casting the area.  The edges of the channel were only 1-2 feet deep but quickly dropped off to about 6 feet deep near the middle.  The wind was pushing water through the channel creating a strong wind driven current that we decided to concentrate on.  I started off throwing a Bass Assassin 5″ Die Dapper (Chicken on a Chain) on a 1/4 oz jig head while David went with a 4″ Sea Shad in the same color on a 1/8th oz jig head.  With the strong current the heavier jig head was necessary in order to get the plastic down to the bottom so once I had picked up a couple of fish David made the switch to a heavier jig head and a Die Dapper as well.  We would make a long cast up the current and let our plastics reached the bottom before slowly bumping them along the scattered shell until a fish would pick it up.  The bites were relatively soft and you wouldn’t even realize you had a fish on until you tried giving your rod it’s next twitch.  After a while we started running low on Die Dappers and made the switch to the Texas Tackle Factory’s Killer Flats Minnow XL (Pumpkin/Chartreuse/White).  The color didn’t seem to be a big deal but the bigger fish were going after the larger baits so we decided to stick with something within the same size range.

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Around noon we decided to make our way back towards the truck with a limit of reds each.  On our way back to the truck we started seeing plenty of mud boils around the shallow areas.  The sun had been up for a while now heating up the shallow shell and mud making it a perfect area for the fish to absorb a little heat.  Despite having to battle the wind, it was a nice day on the water.  Sitting in one area while working it thoroughly for several hours is not my normal style of fishing but it was nice to change it up a bit.

Conditions:

Wind: 20 mph with Gusts to 30 mph

Weather: Morning temperature was in the low 50s but quickly rose to the mid 60s with sunny skies.

Tides: Slightly higher than normal and falling throughout the day

Bottom: Mud & Shell

Depth: 1-2 feet deep in most areas with deeper drains up to 6 feet in depth

Lures: Bass Assassin 5″ Die Dapper (Chicken on a Chain) and Texas Tackle Factory Killer Flats Minnow XL (Pumpkin/White/Chartreuse) on a 1/4 oz jig head.

Rod: 6′ 10″ Hook Spit T-N-T

Reel: Shimano Curado 200 series

Kayak: Jackson Cuda 14

Paddle: 250 cm Werner Cyrpus: Hooked

MeandCalbert

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Lone Star Kayak Series 2014 Event #2

2014 LSKS Event 2

Photo Credit: Jeff Herman

Yesterday was the 2nd event of the 2014 Lone Star Kayak series in Galveston, TX. One of my friends (Jared) and I decided to fish together since we had both planned on going to the same general area. I’ve fished this spot many times in the past and have always had good luck when the conditions are right. After checking tide charts, weather, and wind direction/speed all week long I had come to the conclusion that our little marsh we were heading to should hold some decent fish. Tides have been running about a foot higher than predicted for more than a week now which meant I would be choosing an area with really shallow shell and mud. This cut my list in half on places I had been considering. While some areas produce well on really low tides, this spot is without a doubt a high tide marsh. The small lakes we would be fishing consist of soft knee deep mud and a ton of shell. When tides are running as predicted the shell will sit 3-5 inches below the surface on a high tide and will be completely exposed on a low tide. On this particular day we were fishing during the peek of the high tide which was running about 8 inches higher than predicted. This put the shell a foot or more below the surface of the water allowing us to float over it along with giving the redfish access to cruise the top of it looking for food. Because of the depth and amount of shell our lure options were limited. I rigged my rods the night before with a popping cork, topwater, and soft plastic. I figured the popping cork would be used for the majority of the day with an occasional toss of the topwater. The soft plastic was available incase a pod or tailing red was spotted and something to sight cast with was needed. Other than that it would not be used for fear of hanging up on the shell.

My alarm went off at 3 am and I was one the road by 330. Jared and I met up at McDonalds and after grabbing a quick bite to eat we headed for the launch. We arrived around 5:30, unloaded the kayaks, and sat around for the next 20 minutes waiting for 6 am to arrive per tourney rules. At 6 am on the dot we pushed off and headed straight for the first lake I wanted to fish. The majority of the fish I’ve pulled from this spot have been 25+ inche fish so I was hoping they would be around today. photo 1-3After a 15 minute paddle we were in the first lake and started casting. Jared threw his popping cork around the drain leading into the lake and picked up a 19″ red within the first 5 minutes. I spotted a red crawling around a small island and reached for my rod with the Chicken Boy Shrimp (Red Shad). While trying to get within casting distance my kayak scraped some shell and sent that fish running. I threw my Midcoast Popping Cork (Evolution) around the area where I had seen the fish but didn’t seem to have any luck. I decided to move away from the drain and fish the shell covered lake I had come for. The water wasn’t quiet as high as I’d hoped and as a result my popping cork would hang up on mounds of shell that sat higher in the water column. After hanging up 5 times in 10 casts with no fish to show for my trouble I decided go with the topwater. I knew this would keep me from hanging up and would be a great way to cover some water. I started off throwing a MirrOlure She Pup in the woodpecker color (red head, white back, chrome belly). On my 3rd cast I had a nice little blow up that didn’t connect. Five casts later I had another that did connect and the fight was on. However, the fight was short and resulted in me reeling in my line without the lure. When getting ready the night before, the thought never crossed my mind that I should tie on a leader connecting my lure to my braid. This was mistake number one of the day and costs me what might have been a good fish. The break off occurred 5 seconds after hooking up so I never really got a good feel for the fish. My other mistake was not getting my rod tip high enough to help keep the line out of the shell. To make matters worse I think the fish swims by my kayak to laugh at me. You’ll see the big wake at the end of the short video below.

I was disappointed in my mistakes but quickly tied on another she pup (black back, chrome body, orange belly), this time using about a foot of fluorocarbon leader to help deal with the shell. I began fan casting the small lake once again working the lure very quickly since thats what they wanted and after a few missed blowups I had my second hookup of the day. I made sure to keep my rod tip high and even stood up in the kayak when I had the chance. I wanted to make sure this one had no chance at cutting me off. After a short fight I landed my first fish of the day that weighed in at 5.56 lbs measuring 24 1/4″.In the video below you’ll see the fish bite on the pause as I move the rod from right to left.

I had a fish on my Grind Terminal Tackle stringer early which is always a good feeling on tourney day. I continued to work the area the same as before but the fight with the previous fish must have spooked the others. After a while we decided to move on to the next lake.
This lake was similar to the first one which meant it was very small, full of shell, and had enough water covering it to allow us to barely move over the top without scraping. As we neared the lake traveling down a small channel I began seeing mud boils in front of my kayak. This was a definite sign we were spooking reds that had just been sitting in front of us. I drifted over to a small island and started fan casting the edge of the lake while Jared took a separate channelBroken Hooks 15 yards away that led into the same lake. On my first cast I had a good blowup that missed, 2nd cast produced the same thing, so did the 3rd and 4th casts which had me thinking smaller reds must be hitting my lure. On the 5th cast that theory was proven wrong. A nice upper slot red clobbered my lure and took off with it peeling off 15 yards of line before turning sideways. While it was running I was able to get out of my kayak and stand on the island I had been sitting next to in order to give me a higher platform to keep my line as far above the shell as possible. For the next 45 seconds the fish ran away from me pulling drag or moved side to side never allowing me to gain any line back. Jared watched from about 20 yards away as I was telling him how solid this fish was when all of a sudden my line goes limp. I reel in my lure and soon as it comes out of the water I see that two of the hooks on my front treble are missing.

After a few minutes of non stop cursing my lure I realized I was partially to blame. I switch out the majority of my hooks with VMC hooks for the added strength but had failed to do so on this lure. That was mistake number 3 on tournament day. I tied on my third topwater of the day sticking with the She Pup, this time going with hot pink with a chrome body. I seemed to be getting more blowups then Jared who was throwing a Rapala Skitterwalk so I didn’t want to change what was working. As I was tying on this lure Jared hooked up with a nice fish. He landed it as quickly as he could in hopes that he wouldn’t spook the other fish in the lake. His fish went close to 26″ which meant neither of us would show up to the weighin empty-handed. I finally retied my lure and five casts after the broken hook incident I started getting blowups again. I had three that didn’t connect so I decided to slow down my retrieve just a little and that was the ticket. I had just said to Jared, “I’m going to try a medium retrieve” and the fish hit as soon as the last word came out of my mouth. It ran straight towards me and I could barely reel in fast enough to keep up with it. When it got within five feet of my kayak it turned to run away but the fight was over by then. I landed the fish within a few seconds watching my lure fly out of its mouth just as I slid the net under it. That fish went 22 1/4 inch weighing in at 4.40 lbs. Neither fish was great but I had two for the weighin which takes a lot of pressure off anyone on tournament day. We worked the lake for another 30 minutes but the fish had left the area. We were finding good amounts of fish but the size of the lakes made it difficult to stay on them since a couple of hook ups would spook the rest. We decided to head to the first lake we had fished to see if they had returned after a short break. We covered the lake well but had no blowups or luck so we moved on to the third lake.

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Photo Credit: Jared Esley

This lake, which was the largest of the three and had the same features as the first two so we were hoping for similar results. We each chose a shoreline and started crab walking our kayaks parallel with the shoreline staying about 10 yards away from it. We had multiple blow ups while covering the area with no hookups.  Finally Jared caught his 2nd fish of the day which went 20 1/2 inches and gave him two fish for the weighin. We continued working the shoreline with more blow ups that just wouldn’t connect. I eventually hooked up with another red that again, cut me off on the shell after a 5 second fight. I was still using my fluorocarbon leader but somehow the fish was able to slide the braid part of my line across the shell and cut it above the leader. After a few minutes I spotted my lure which the fish shook free and paddled over to get it. I had already tied on my forth top water of the day so in the milk crate it went. The wind had kicked up a little by now so I went with the She Dog instead of the pup for a little more noise and splash. I missed another fish as I sat my rod down to secure my paddle which was about to fall off my kayak into the water. I had just made a cast and twitched the lure about 6 times when I sat down my rod to grab my paddle. Two seconds later I hear a huge splash and look up to see my lure missing and my rod being pulled over the side. I dropped my paddle and grabbed my rod and start reeling in only to find out he had already spit the lure. I connected on a another fish 15 minutes later that I never saw. Something had blown up on my lure and disappear under the water. I set the hook and began pulling the fish towards me. I could feel the tension of the fish on the end of the line but it never made any hard runs. As it neared my kayak it turned away and slowly peeled off 5-10 yards of line and began moving sideways again at a slow speed. It finally took off peeling another 10 yards of line from my reel before the hook came flying back at me. I was completely dumbfounded and all I could do was look at Jared and laugh because it was just one of those days. He suggested that it was probably a big flounder and after thinking about it he was probably right. I would have loved to have gotten a look at it because it was going to be a nice flounder if thats truly what it had been. We decided to head back to the truck and make it to the weighin early. It was hot, we had two fish, and it would be nice to arrive early and visit with everyone. We also wanted to make sure we got our fish there alive for two reasons. You get a 1/2 lb bonus for a live weighin, plus a raffle ticket for each fish released alive for a drawing later in the day for a Werner Paddle.

We headed for the weighin and arrived around 1:45 which put us there 15 minutes before the scales opened up. We talked with a few others that had just arrived and collected our captains bag full of some free gear from sponsors such as Yak Gear and Bass Assassin. We were 4th in line to weighin our fish with the eventual champion Joshua Majorka weighing his in 1st. Jared weighed his fish in before me and had 9.55 lbs including his 1/2 lb bonus. I weighed my fish next and to my surprise had 10.46 lbs with my 1/2 bonus. I didn’t expect to be in double digits with a 22 and 24 inch fish but both were decently plump. We spent the next two and half hours eating a Louis Bait Camp Burger and visiting with old and new friends. Before announcing the winners we always have several dozen drawings for all kinds of goodies provided by the growing list of sponsors. I had my number called at one point and received a nice little prize package that included a Dexter Knife, Plano Tackle Tray, MirrOlure She Dog, and Saltwater Assassin soft plastics and popping corks. My good luck at the weighin didn’t stop there. Aside from awarding the anglers with the heaviest stringers, the LSKS also gives away a prize package for the closets fish to 21″ without going over (Blackjack) and for the fish with the most spots. My 24″ fish had 9 spots so I won that prize package which included a one year membership to Saltwater Boys Kayak Fishing Club, a koozie, T-shirt, and a Grind Terminal Tackle Stringer. I have been meaning to register with the Saltwater Boys Kayak Club for a while but never got around to it. They are a fishing club located in the Beaumont area and have lots of gatherings and members only tournaments about once a month. The koozie and T-shirt come with your $25 membership fee. If you are interested in joining up you can find more information on their Facebook Page.

I was 2 for 2 on prizes and didn’t think I could get any luckier. It turns out my luck hadn’t quiet run out just yet. The drawing for the Werner Paddle took place after the blackjack and spots prizes were awarded and it was for a really nice paddle. I don’t know how Jeff did it, but he brought out a Werner Paddles Bent Shaft Kalliste. This is one of Werner’s top low angle paddles that they produce. The bent shaft Kalliste weighs in at 27 oz, has full carbon blades, and retails for $475. As a Werner Paddles Pro Staffer, I have never even had the opportunity to use this paddle.

Kalliste

Jeff walked on stage and asked a young boy from the crowd to come up and draw a ticket from the box. As the young man read off the numbers I was shocked to hear him read off my number as the winner. Earlier in the day when Jeff had handed me the ticket I had already told him I wouldn’t even keep it if I won. I told him I would just give it to my friend Travis who runs the Corpus Christi Chapter of Heroes on the Water. I was pretty excited as I walked towards the stage because I was about to have the opportunity to donate an awesome paddle to a great organization. When I reached the stage I told Travis to come up and take the paddle from me because I knew he would be able to put it to good use.

If you don’t know, Heroes on the Water is a non profit organization that takes current soldiers and veterans from all branches of the military kayak fishing as a way to relax and help relieve stress. Its an amazing organization that I’ve had the opportunity to help with on occasion and hope to become more involved with in the future.  The video below is a short explanation about what they do.

I had already won three different prizes and knew I would be receiving another. It seemed like most anglers had a tough day of fishing because not that many fish were weighed in. As Dustin came to the stage to announce the winners I waited patiently to hear my name called. Jared placed 14th and I took 9th out of 79 anglers. My 9th place prize package included $110 along with a few other prizes. It was a really fun way to start off my summer which will consists of 72 days in a row of not working and lots of fishing. The next event is not until August which gives me plenty of time to pre fish. For some reason, the August event has been my toughest one over the last two years. I’m hoping to change that this year.

Photo Credit: Jeff Herman

Photo Credit: Jeff Herman

 

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Photo Credit: Jared Esley

 

Photo Credit: Jared Esley

Photo Credit: Jared Esley

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Topwater Trout Fishing (August 8, 2013)


SonnyStringerInst


Of all the time I’ve spent fishing, I’ve never really targeted trout. When I started fishing the marsh I became completely obsessed with redfish and ended up with a little bit of tunnel vision. Now that I’ve figured redfish out for the most part, I’ve been wanting to spend some time learning the trout game. Yesterday I had the opportunity to do just that with Clint Barghi of Team Ocean Kayak.

We met up on the south shoreline of Galveston’s West Bay and launched into the dark. By the time we reached our fist spot we had enough light to get started. We anchored up, slipped out of the kayaks, and started wading an area where Clint has had success in the past. Clint hooked up with a nice 20″ trout on about his 10th cast using a Bass Assassin 5″ Shad (Red Shad), while I hooked into an 18 inch trout about 5 minutes later on the same bait. We spent the next 20 minutes working the area with no luck so we decided to try spot #2. After another 20 minutes with no fish we decided to paddle about a mile to another location. About halfway there we noticed slicks popping up all around us so we decided to stop and check them out.

Clint made a long cast with his topwater that happened to land about 5 feet in front of small pod of reds. After a few twitches and a couple missed blowups one of the reds got the lure in it’s mouth and Clint landed a nice 24″ red. We continued working the slicks from the kayak without much luck so we decided to get out and wade instead of fighting the wind. We threw soft plastics again with no luck and decided to switch to topwaters even though it was a little later in the day. It turns out that’s exactly what they wanted. We spent the next 2 hours from 9-11 catching 3 more reds and about 16 trout with lots of missed blowups.  We also had a few that came undone while bringing them in. After releasing the 10th fish we decided to string a few for dinner and ended the day keeping 7 trout and 1 red.  The trout ranged from 16 to 23 inches with only one dink.  The bite died around 11 and we had plenty of fish for dinner.  I threw a 4 inch Saltwater Skitterwalk (Blue Mullet) while Clint threw a Red/White topwater and I’m not sure of the brand.

I learned a lot about trout today and plan on splitting my time between them and reds in the marsh to learn even more.  My confidence in topwaters also rose after catching 2 reds and multiple trout. I plan to spend more time using one in the marsh for big redfish and not switching to a soft plastic so quickly.

I plan on hitting the water one more time before event #3 of the Lone Star Kayak Series.  I’m holding on to a 7 point lead for AOY honors which is better than I could’ve hoped for.  Hopefully the big reds don’t leave the marsh I’ve been fishing lately.


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