Eric Henson

     The Johnson Outdoor Open Tournament was a three day event. It was the largest slam (Snook , Red fish, Trout) put together with in the three days.

Day 1- Decided to hit up the inside of Weedon Preserve due to high winds from the cold front that was rolling in that day. I was a little worried of how the day was going to turn out but, it was game day! We pushed off at  first daylight. As we eased past the fist spoil island , I launched my top water lure as far as I could and Boom! A small snook smashed it with authority! It wasn't very big but, it was only ten minutes in and I was on the board. After that we fought the wind for over an hour or so before we ran into a cove that was covered nicely. It had a few finger creeks pouring in and looked super fishy. We were right! Jimmy landed a nice red fish right off the bat. I eased in slowly till I reached the mouth of one little finger creek. Immediately starting catching tons of small snook but, no reds... A boat saw us catching fish and decided to pull in right between us... : (  Ended up working out for me because as I pushed down the mangrove line, getting away from the pressure. I started picking up tons small rat reds. Each one was bigger than the next until finally I picked up a decent red fish. These fish were very cooperative and eating everything like Mirro Dines, Exude soft plastics, and top water Spooks. Now I had a 21.4in red fish and a 21.2in snook.  It was time to find a little deeper water to pick up a trout. Soft plastics on a jig head in the deeper water was the golden ticket for the small 13 -14in trout. I did have a Game Changer Trout follow my top water all the way to the boat until my leader was touching the tip of my rod. I sat there twitching it next to the boat until it finally spooked. The day was cut short because my friend's mirage drive broke. It was pretty tough going against the wind and tide all the way back to the launch... All in all I had a decent day since it was the first day and I had a small slam already.

Day 2-  Decided to fish the outside of Cockroach Bay because the wind was suppose to blow mostly out of the east that day. The cold front was here and it was coooold! Honestly should't have even showed up to the water until after 10am. My buddy was so upset about not catching fish the first few hours he just left! Wasn't going to stop me from trying. I ended up catching my first small trout around 11am. Next was a 3 1/2ft shark that I sight casted with soft plastic! Got some cool pics/video and gave him a quick release. Soon after that I picked up an upgrade trout at 16.7in. Then picked up a couple of small snook that were not upgrades unfortunately. I ended up seeing a few stud red fish but, they wouldn't eat so I decided to head in.

Day 3- My friend was over it so I was solo today. I headed into the backwaters of Cockroah Bay. I saw a few HUUUGE snook but, they wouldn't even look at my artificial lures. I ended up with a few small snook, tons of Jacks, poor man Tarpon (Lady fish). No upgrades on the last day.

When I showed up to the weigh in, everyone had similar stories. Seen lots of stellar fish but could only get the smaller ones to eat. I was blessed enough to walk away with a top ten finish.  1st -10th was literally between a few inches of each other. The guy who actually won the whole thing showed up late to the weigh in and was unfortunately disqualified! They ended up doing a raffle at the end to raise money for St.Jude's hospital. Everyone walked away with lots of sponsored gear. All in all I really was a great tournament with great anglers. And, I was blessed to walk away with a brand new kayak and tons of sponsor gear!

Thank You Johnson Outdoors and Capt. Pat Horrigan w/ Kayak Fishing Classics for putting on an GREAT event!

Till next time! Fish ON!
Eric Henson
Casting Kayaks LLC.

Kayaks Used

Predator Series

Prepare yourself for a totally new fishing experience. The Predator will bring you closer to the water and the action with highly customized features that are engineered to meet the needs of avid anglers and weekend warriors, alike. Read More