Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Redfish Rumble VII - Sticking & Moving

I was on the road heading to the Delacroix area by 1:30 am. I arrived a full hour before launch time which allowed me to take some time to get my Hobie Outback loaded and go through a final gear check.  

5 am came quickly and I quietly slipped into the darkness heading to my spot which I knew held some good fish. I had already mentally prepared myself for the long paddle ahead as the area was thick with grass which quickly took away the advantage of a peddle kayak.  About a mile in, I realize my forward progress had stopped even though my paddling had not. It took me a few minutes in the darkness to realize my rudder at snagged an old crap trap line and had me pinched.  As I freed myself, I could already hear the Reds crashing all around me. I resisted the urge to start casting and instead kept to my original game plan to reach my area at daylight. As the early morning glow reflected on the water I arrived at my destination and was immediately rewarded with ripples on the water and the sounds of feeding Reds in every direction. 

It was game time. I immediately began throwing a weedless Ribbit frog and a huge swell came up behind it and I tensed up in preparation for the hook set. After following it for 10 feet he peeled off and lost interest. A few casts later a large red inhaled my lure and had my drag screaming. A short fight later I landed a nice 24.5" slot red. My tournament day was off to a good start. After several more minutes and a number of fish following but losing interest in my saltwater frog, I switched over to a Gulp Jerk bait rigged weedless.The water all around me was still in frenzy with Reds feeding and chasing baitfish.   

For the next 30 minutes I landed 3 more fat Reds ranging in size from 23-25" and released two smaller 16" candidates because I just knew that magical 26-7/8" was just waiting to find a home in my Hobie. Well, Murphy's Law reared it ugly face and I proceeded to break my leader on what had to easily be my biggest hook up of the day. I then had two more very large Reds spit the hook and leave me questioning my decision to release the smaller fish. I had four fish in the bag by 7:30 and was feeling very confident. 
Then like a light switch the bite was off. I actually believe my once deadly Gulp Jerk Shad began to spook everything in its path. Activity was still high and I saw quite a few tailing Reds but they wanted absolutely no part in what I had to offer. For the next few hours I moved around working the grass mat edges and the clean channels running through them. I missed a few more hook sets including what I am convinced was a small Bass. I was determined to bring in a full limit and was not going to accept anything less. By 11:30 the bite picked back up and I began seeing more and more tailing reds in the shallower ponds. A particular large tail and dorsal fin was aggressively working the edge of the broken marsh grass and I made a B-line to intercept him. My first throw was a little behind and didn't get his attention. My second cast was dead on and as I dragged my Jerk Shad across his nose he destroyed it and the fight was on. After a few minutes and beaching himself on a mud flat I managed to get him in the boat and complete my limit of Reds.
I felt a huge sense of accomplishment and thought I had an outside chance at a possible top 10-12 tournament finish with the weight in my bag even without picking up a Bass. Knowing it was getting late and I had a long paddle in front of me I headed back to the launch. 
I arrived at the weigh-in tired but optimistic and began recounting the days experiences with everyone else.  I truly enjoy sharing stories and listening about the day’s adventures with everyone. My final weigh-in was exactly 22.0 lbs. putting me in a respectable 8th place overall. Considering the number of phenomenal Anglers we have in BCKFC It was a good finish. Of course the hard core competitor in me kicks myself knowing I missed several opportunities that could have produced much better results.  Overall, I had a fantastic time on the water with good friends and at the end of the day I believe that is what it’s truly about. Congratulation to all the winners as it is well deserved. Thanks to all the BCKFC directors for putting on another awesome tournament.

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