Posts Tagged With: wilderness systems kayaks

University of Houston Cougar Saltwater Open

Photo Jun 185

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.

Photo Jun 18 copy

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.

Photo Jun 18

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.

Stringer

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.

coolers

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.

Photo Jun 18-2

 

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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An Evening Trip With The New Hydra Buggs

Hydra Bugg

Yesterday evening Jared, Heath, Clint, his son, and I took an evening trip to the marsh.  Conditions were near perfect with an outgoing tide, a major bite from 5:00 to 7:00, and low temps because of the recent rain.  We launched around 4:00 pm to catch the tail end of an outing tide and made the short paddle to the area we’ve been catching our fish lately.  Heath and I set up for a long drift towards a deeper channel, Jared made his way straight to the channel, and Clint and his son caught some bait with the cast net and fished some of the deeper areas to start with.  Heath and I made a long drift without a blow up or bump before spotting a small pod of reds nearby.  We chased them down only to see them separate as we arrive.  We blind casted the area to try and pick up a fish but had no luck.  I spotted another pod near the channel we were heading for and chased them down to pick up my first red of the day that went 25″.

Hydra Bugg Pod

 

Jared was a short distance away and informed me that he already had his limit and had caught them all on topwater.  I was pretty sure he was joking with me until he pulled up his stringer with 3 mid slot reds.

Jared's Limit

Heath joined up with us and we started fishing the channel where Jared had staked out and he picked up his first red of the day on a Curl Tail Bugg what measured 25″.

Photo Jul 16, 6 13 27 PM

 

Photo Jul 16, 6 14 15 PM

Clint joined up with all of us around the channel and informed us that they had come across a pod of reds that was about 20 x 20 yards.  Him and his son had pulled a couple of reds from the pod before meeting up with us.  On the way back to the truck they stopped and fish a deeper area and picked up a few trout and a nice 24″ flounder.

Heath and I decided to push further back into the marsh to look for some reds in skinnier water.  We picked up a few more fish while blind casting an area where we had both spooked several fish.  I did have the opportunity to sight cast a 27 1/4″ red in a few inches of water that put up a great fight.

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We spotted a few more crawlers but were unable to get within casting distance due to the extremely low tides.  It was getting dark and we had over a mile paddle to reach the truck so we decided to head back in.  We met back up with Jared and were about to exit the marsh when I realized my stringer had come untied from my kayak.  I paddled a half mile back in the dark to the area we had been fishing thinking there was slim to no chance I would find it.  I had just given up and started heading back to my truck when I spotted what I thought was my stringer.  As I made my way towards it the fish started thrashing and I knew I had gotten very lucky.  I retied the fish and headed back to the truck where Heath and Jared were waiting for me.

All of my fish were caught using the new Hydra Bugg which will be released in a few weeks.  I’ll eventually writeup a full review over this Bugg once I’ve made several trips with it but for now here’s a quick look at it.

Photo Jul 17, 3 24 37 PM

Photo Jul 17, 3 25 21 PM

It was a great day on the water with everyone taking home plenty of fish.  My best fish went 27 1/4″, Heath’s was 27″, and Jared’s was a little over 25″.

Photo Jul 17, 9 20 04 AM

Photo Jul 16, 5 45 48 PM (1)

 

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