First and foremost, I would like to relay my condolences to the Wagner family, and thank the Reel Hard Saltwater fishing team and volunteers for putting together such a great event. It was awesome seeing all the comradery that the Galveston area fishing community really has for one and another. The turnout for the tournament was outstanding, the amateur division alone had over a hundred teams. The weights for this tournament were stacked, with places seventh through eleventh being less than a pound apart.
My tournament started about two weeks out from the actual tournament date. I started by going back through my personal fishing log and reading fishing reports to see what bottom structure fish were holding to. Once I found a common theme of what fish were being caught around, I referenced my local area maps and Google earth to find the same type of structure. Considering that my girlfriend, Jamie, would be fishing this tournament with me I chose to fish the south shoreline of West bay.
The first pre-fishing trip I did solo targeting several different points of interest that I had found on Google earth. The first spots never produced anything so I decided to take some cover on the leeward shoreline and eat some lunch. After lunch, I began a drift across a reef letting the wind push me while I threw a Vudu shrimp under a popping cork. Within the first one hundred yards of the drift I hooked up on a lower slot redfish and smaller trout. Starting a new drift about a hundred yards down the shoreline from the first I hooked up on a solid four plus pound trout and knew I was in the right area, so I decided to pull out and let it rest till tournament day.
My girlfriend finally made the trip down to the coast to pre-fish and work out some of the kinks that fishing out of a kayak can have. We decided to target one of the coves on the south shoreline of west Galveston bay. We hit the water and began targeting points and ledges in three to five feet of water with an outgoing tide. Finding very few trout and no redfish we decided that the reef area that I had found earlier in the week would be our best bet for tournament day.
The day finally arrived and we were as prepared as we could be for a long hard day on the water. We launched at the designated time and ran to our first spot to begin drifting. Jamie decided to use her anchor and fish her area as thorough as possible drawing first blood of the morning with a solid two-and-a-half-pound trout. I also should mention here that she has only been out on a kayak four times and it was her first trout. I kept drifting looking for any sign that would give the location of the fish away when BAM!!! A solid three pounder took my soft plastic. After our initial fish, it was like the dinner bell had rung with one fish after another being caught.
With about seven and a half pounds in the bag we decided it was time to try and find the two redfish that we needed to complete our stringer. We targeted a nearby windblown shoreline and began leap frogging our way down. With the sun rising and the bite slowing it became apparent that the rest of the day was going to be a grind to find our redfish. While working the shoreline, I picked up our final fish which tipped the scales at almost five pounds putting us with just under ten pounds in the bag. Continuing to work the windblown shoreline we decided that it was time to take shelter and have some lunch.
After our sandwiches, we decided that it would be best to fish the leeward shoreline back to the launch since we were running short on time. We continued to try and find our two redfish but the only fish that we found was a dink flounder so we decided to load the kayaks up and head to the weigh in to see how well we did. Arriving at the weigh in, there were a lot of good fish and our ambitions were high for the heavy trout side pot with our largest fish weighing in at 4.90 pounds. We were quickly knocked out of first by a whopping seven-pound trout. When the smoke cleared and the dust settled we sat in sixteenth out of one hundred and thirty-five teams. In all, it was a great day on the water doing what we love to do, chase fish.