This is the tournament that I have always wanted to fish since I made the decision to tournament fish. This is a catch, photo, and release style kayak tournament where the angler catches their fish, places it on the uniform measuring device provided by the IFA, and snaps a photo. The photos are then turned in for review by the directors and the longest aggregate length of a single trout and a single redfish combined wins the tournament. I started this tournament by reading books, reports, and viewing aerial photos of the Port Aransas area to familiarize myself with the bay.
Preparation for this tournament was pretty extensive with a lot a gear having to be packed. I started by making sure that my kayak and all the gear I use was in good, working, operable order. The next was making sure that I had a backup plan for any potential failures that might ruin my chances of being able to fish this tournament. My Egret baits gear arrived in the mail right on time with my Vudu Ghost Walker top water and my Bayou Chub plastics. Once I had all my gear loaded in the truck, I headed to Victoria Texas to stop by the TTF shop and pick up my awesome Texas Tackle Factory gear to use in the tournament. After hitting the road from Victoria, I went to the Goose Island boat launch to check out the water and see if anybody had been catching in the Saint Charles Bay area. The water looked great and the fishing was even better so that set the stage for the next day.
After a great night of sleep and a warm breakfast it was time to hit the water and see what I could catch. I decided to target the deeper shell structures to see if any trout would be holding to the deeper reefs and then as the day wore on and the tide rose I worked my way to the grass shorelines fishing the potholes and looking for bait. However, the wind that day had different plans for that strategy, it was blowing out of the south east at a sustained twenty miles an hour gusting to thirty miles an hour. The howling wind and the incoming tide dirtied the water in the area that I chose to fish. After spending the day on the water and battling the wind, I only caught three rat reds, so I decided that it would be best to try and find protected water for the next day.
For Saturdays trip I decided to fish the Port Bay area. I launched from the kayak trail and headed straight to Rattle Snake Point. The south-east winds still blowing in the twenties so it took me no time to cover the two miles. Once on the point I drifted the inside edge with an incoming tide. The fish seemed to be holding tight to the grass with the point giving up two trout but no reds. After making several drifts the swells began to pick up and become unsafe so I headed back to the launch and decided where I would fish the next day for the tournament. After getting back to the hotel and reviewing my maps I decided to fish Light House Lakes area for the tournament.
I started out tournament morning by working a Ghost Walker top water in black chartreus along the shoreline of the channel and worked my way to the entrance of Light House Lakes. My first hit came at the entrance of the lake not even ten minutes into the day. That fish pulled off but that had my confidence soaring and I knew the fish were in the area. Working the wind-blown shoreline, I saw a mullet running for its life so I made a cast to the area and gave it a couple twitches when a thirty-six and three quarter inch bull red exploded on it. After landing the fish, taking the photos, and releasing the fish I knew all I had to do was land one fifteen-inch trout to possibly win the tournament. I decided to stay in the area and grind it out, I changed over to gulp mantis shrimp on an eighth ounce jig head. That was the ticket for catching trout but not the right size. I ended the day with my one single red and took home the big redfish plaque and a hundred-dollar check!