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.
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.
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.
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.
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.