Big Tournament Red Drum
The desire for that tug-drug kept growing with each successful report that Jay Brooks and Kayak Kevin put up. And the big drum kayak junkies have been talking about it for years; if we ever have decent weather on tournament day, we were gonna get on 'em. So needless to say, I had been checking the wind forecast like an addict waiting for his dealer to call.
Game time decision came the morning of the tournament. I stood at the base of the CBBT as color just started to peek on the horizon. The wind was every bit of 15-20 kts coming from wide open opposite of sexy. It's a little over 3 miles to the spot and even though I've done similar paddles, certain muscles puckered. Regardless, this is the closest I've had in years to do-able weather on tournament day. So, at 6:30am, I looked up at the sky, said thank you for the opportunity and dragged my kayak across the beach. It was go time.
I looked back occasionally to see if anyone else was up for the grueling trek out into open water. With a minimum of 20 paddles strokes between piling sets, I knew the chances were very slim. An hour and forty five minutes later, muscles on fire, I put out a piece of fresh bunker stuffed with 10/0 circle down to 30-40 ft and a 2 ounce jig with a 7" curly tail Gulp. As I drifted, I watched the down imaging on my Humminbird, hoping for big blips. After about 45 minutes, I got my jig hung up and while I'm retying there's a zip zip from my Release SG clicker. I look up to see the rod tip bounce twice and instantly dropped what I was doing. As I tightened down the drag, big headshakes confirmed what I was hoping for. Three rod bucking and drag peeling minutes later, I grabbed the leader just as the big tail slapped my front GoPro. After wrestling it over the side, I handled the chore of documenting the measurement with a smile. 48.5"
Just as I was releasing it, the hardcore Maryland Kayak Boys showed up. I almost couldn't believe it, but remembering how hard they fish, and it made sense. It wasn't long before Mike Rosa had a 48" big red. Then Shane Hatcher and crew aboard the Badfish, who had just anchored their boat as I was fighting my fish, had 3 with the biggest going 52". Meghan Lorraine on Jay Brooks' boat also caught a few with a really nice 53" as their biggest. Then the bite slowed to a crawl. The wind calmed a little and I wasn't sure what to do. I had stuck around hoping to break the 50" mark, but with only a couple of hours left before weigh-in I decided to head in and try a flounder spot that produced for me the day before. I should have stayed. Jeff Depfer of the MD crew landed a 51" beast that ended up taking 1st place in the Red fish division.
Big congrats to all everyone who placed in the 10th Annual TKAA tournament but the real winners are and always have been Heroes on the Water and Project Healing Waters. We all helped raise money for two very worthy organizations. A huge thanks to all the sponsors who donated tons of awards and raffle prizes. As in years past, I also pitched in and put up some artwork for a raffle. I wish I had met the guy who won my print (hope he enjoys it) but I was distracted by my 2nd place winnings.
Big thanks to YakAttack for the 2nd place prize (BlackPak w/ three rod holders, GearTracs and a VISI CarbonPro light.
On a more personal note, much appreciation to those who had very kind words about my past posts as well as those who had some concerns about my absence in recent months. I'm looking forward to getting back into the swing of things and hopeful I can come up with good content. Much love and respect. Peace out, homies.