Pre-fishing Paddle Palooza XI didn't instill a ton of confidence or clearly help us pinpoint our game plan for Saturday morning. Fishing with two exceptional FiN Crazy team members Casey Brunning and Johnny Bergeron provided for some great entertainment and fishing experiences. It also helped me keep things in perspective and really enjoy my time on the water instead of over stressing about tournament prep. After 2 days we found some good fish just not the caliber we knew it would take to win a tournament.
By mid Friday morning we all decided to split up to cover more ground. Knowing the wind would be a factor on Saturday morning I was torn as to where I should focus my efforts. I ultimately decided to hit two areas that I knew held some good fish but was unproductive earlier in the year due to lack of water.
After a long peddle I was excited to not only see water but very clear water. With the sun getting higher and the water clarity it didn't take long to start picking out the tailing reds. BIG Reds. Within 20 mins I had landed two over 26". It was still early so I continued to explore the different cuts and coves and rolled up on an area that had so many reds patrolling I stopped counting. It was like a conveyer belt of redfish. All big, all aggressive and traveling in 2-3’s. For the next hour as quickly as I could hook, catch, release and cast again I was pulling in some beasts. Satisfied that reds were not going to be a problem I packed up, relocated and began looking for some trout.
Finding the trout proved a little more difficult. I managed to locate a few loner trout of decent size but nothing to stop me from searching for bigger and better. By 3pm I circled back to one of my more reliable holes and picked up a few more and located a couple of smaller schools. My confidence level was much higher than earlier in the day so, I locked in my game plan debriefed my pre-fishing posse and made the trip back in.
I was on the water and sitting at my spot by 4:30 am listening to the familiar sounds of feeding reds. As the morning glow reflected on the water I could once again see baitfish jumping and rippling wakes. I stood up and prepared to throw my deadly Seein Spots inline lure and had to take a double take at the number ripples perfectly spaced and patrolling the bank. My Redfish train was coming in and they were neatly spaced about 50' apart and moving fast. Within the first hour I had landed a 25-1/2", 26-1/4 (6.79lbs) and released 2 over 29". I adjusted to counter for the wind starting to pick up and hooked up with another beast that measured right at 27" on my board and weighed 8.22 lbs. I immediately knew this was a potential money fish and the measurement was just too close so, in my bag he went.
The trout were more elusive than the day before and had I to work through a 1/2 dozen dinks before picking up a small 13" keeper. The very next cast I had a hard hit and set the hook and felt the familiar head shake. If this was a trout he was going to be Big. My excitement was crushed in short order after seeing the black spotted tail role to the surface. I released the small rat red back into the shallow flat. The rest of the day was trying to upgrade my trout and possibly find my Unicorn Flounder. Neither happened, so I reluctantly decided to head back in
At weigh in, my 8lb beast of a red just wasn't meant to be as it came in just over 27" despite my unscientific shrinking methods and crossed fingers. Luckily, my backup (6.79 lb.) Red was not questionable and I ended with a total weight including my Trout of 7.47 lbs. Respectable, but I knew probably not good enough to bring home a check.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out my Red was good enough for 5th place in the Reds category. I finished in 16th place overall within the tournament of 240 Anglers. I know I say this all the time but I truly appreciate and respect the number of great anglers we have in BCKFC. My competitive spirit is pushed each and every time I'm out on the water. This club is hands down one of the best run and managed. Hats off to the Directors and all the club members who continually turn out these great tournaments.