Monday, October 29, 2012

The End of a Season

     Tournament season is always a blast- traveling, fishing hard, seeing old friends and making new ones, and measuring how you stack up against Kayak Fisherman from up and down the East Coast. It can also be costly, time/life consuming and stressful for the same reasons, so when October comes around, and the NCKFA host their annual Oak Island Classic, there is almost a sense of relief that my tournament season is over with and it's back to "fun fishing."

     We headed down to Southport, NC Friday afternoon with no time to prefish before the Captin's Meeting, but being fairly familiar with the area we planned to fish, Kam, Billy, and I weren't too worried. The Classic had a great turnout this year, and the club actually had to scramble to find a larger venue to host the tournament that could accommodate the 175 registered anglers.

 Photo Credit: Rapid Transit Video

 It's great to see Kayak Fishing Tournaments growing and the support they receive from not only the anglers, but from the Sponsors and local communities where they are hosted. I was especially pleased to see that Malibu Kayaks had stepped up to sponsor the Redfish Division with a 2012 Stealth 14, and the team would be well represented by fellow Pro Staff members Nathan Wiles, Mike Eady, and
Team Malibu member Tim Norris.

Photo Credit: Rapid Transit Video

     The weather was rough with winds blowing 20-25 mph all day, which made fishing challenging to say the least, but at least the tides were in our favor. Kam picked up a solid Flounder early in the day to get things rolling.

 Kam's 16" Flounder

A little later, she hooked into a smaller Speck while trolling. Unfortunately, our lines got crossed somehow- while untangling them, the wind was blowing me and Kam apart, and her line, with the fish still on, came in my boat and the fish spit the hook- that meant she couldn't turn it in, since she hadn't landed it, but she was a good sport about it.

 Billy had a handful of blowups on topwater early in the morning, but never managed to hook up. He kept fishing hard, and midday he picked up a good Speckled Trout as the tide was moving out.

 Billy's 15" Speckled Trout

 I had struggled to find the fish all day, and when I did, I couldn't seem to keep them on the hook. One thing after another seemed to go wrong, and like a poker player on tilt, I just couldn't seem to clear my head and get back on track. Billy found a school of Puppy Drum feeding along an oyster bed at a creek mouth, and called me over. By the time I got there, he had landed 3 up to 18".

 Billy's 18" Redfsh

      Time was getting short, so he moved out to the channel in search of a Flounder to finish out his slam. Kam and I didn't mind, and we slid right into his spot. Kam tossed out a live finger mullet under a cork, and it wasn't long before it got inhaled by a Redfish.

Hooked Up!

Kam's 16" Redfish

It took a few mintues longer, but I finally got a solid bite on my jighead and got that skunk off my back. I needed that....
16.5" Redfish

We headed back towards the ramp knowing that we had done our best given the conditions and were lucky just to be fishing. Billy's puppy drum actually took 4th place and he went home with his second 4th place finish in as many weeks. Despite the weather, some great fish were caught. Congratulations to all the winners! 

1st place winners
Photo Credit: Rapid Transit Video


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