TJM Celebrity Kayak Tournament scheduled the week before our normally scheduled trip, it just made sense. The plan was to relax and fish Holden Beach for a couple days, catch a Donavon Frankenreiter concert in Wilmington, then head to the Kure Beach area start pre-fishing for the tournament on the 30th. William Ragulsky and Wayne Bradby were heading down early to pre-fish too, so the plan was to catch up with them and hit Fort Fisher hard. One thing led to another(one beer led to another) and I never made it out to pre-fish. Luckily I was familiar with the fort and Billy and Wayne were kind enough to share some info. The morning of the tourney, after sleeping for about 3.5 hours, my girlfriend Kamaron Owens, and my buddy Alex Britland, and I were at the ramp @ 5:30. Billy and Wayne were already there and counting down the minutes til they could launch at 6:00, along with about 10-12 other yakers. Before long, watch alarms started going off and the tourney had started. After gathering plenty of finger mullet for bait, we headed out to hit some holes where we had previously found fish. Billy had already caught a 17" trout along the wall and was optimistic that it would place.
Wayne had also picked up a 16.5" spec and they had moved on to chase a different species.
It wasn't long before Alex hooked up with another Red @ 19", and Kam pick up another about 20". I decided the right thing to do was let Billy and Wayne know we had found a school of smaller reds, so I gave them a shout on the radio. Wayne had already picked up a small flounder and decided to come over our way to see if he could finish off his slam. While on the radio, my rod with a live finger mullet bent over and I was hooked up... turned out to be a ray. Very disappointing, but I got right back at it and 20 min later the rod doubled over again, this time with an obvious redfish, but again too small to place.
Billy had picked up a good sized redfish @ 24.25"
and was taking a smoke break when Wayne came over the radio to tell us he had picked up a 26" red right where we had been catching them earlier. Damnit! Should have stayed.
Wayne had his slam and could relax alittle. Kamaron had picked up a small flouder and went back to the wall to find a trout, even though at this point we knew beating Wayne's slam was highly unlikely. Billy moved around to where I had been catching flounder in hopes of catching a flounder bigger than Waynes, as they were both very close in total length. Wanye came around to where me and Billy were and it didn't take long before he was bowed up. Turned out to be a nice flounder and measured in @ 19.5".
At this point, I headed over to catch up with Kamaron on the wall. She was still hunting for a Spec, but had been so far unsuccessful. We spent the next couple hours looking for trout, but the day ended uneventfully, so we packed up and headed to they weigh- in. Billy's trout took first place!
Wayne had caught the only slam of the day, a whopping 62" total. All 3 fish would have taken 2nd place in their specific divisions, if allowed.
Slam Division Winner! Go Pro camera, Trophy, and Artwork
After a day of rest, Kamaron, my buddy Ramsey, and I spent the next few days fishing near the house in Holden Beach. We focused on flounder and redfish in the backwater near the inlets. We had very little luck with the flatfish, but we had great luck with the Red Drum. Since Ramsey was without a kayak, the fishing was to be done from a 1968 13' Boston Whaler...beautiful little boat.
All in all, it was an epic 17 days and the beach!Can't wait to get back.