Tournaments that allow you to fish anywhere can be awesome. There can be exceptions to that statement, but when a tournament gives you the ability to fish an area that you have confidence in, regardless of location, it can be a great thing.
This year’s Fish The Bayou tournament is the only “fish anywhere” tourney that I’ve participated in. The tournament is actually two competitions in one. First, there’s the actual tournament, which raises money for the Dusty Richardel Memorial Foundation. It hosts a boat, kids, and kayak division. Then, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club has a separate weigh-in serving as the fifth stop on it’s Angler of the Year Series.
After pre-fishing at my “Plan A” location, and not being very satisfied with myself, I ultimately decided (after much deliberation) to go blindly into my “Plan B”. It wasn’t that “Plan A” hadn’t produced, I was just underwhelmed with the quality of fish I was catching.
So Saturday morning came and I was headed down to meet Karl at the new locale. Karl fished with me, but was not fishing the tournament. He had a prior engagement for the afternoon and would be leaving early.
We stuck to outer marsh most of the morning, searching for both trout and reds. (The trout have started moving inshore across the coastline, they’re just not extremely large in size.) The targeted stringer was three slot redfish, and two speckled trout over twelve inches.
After tucking deep back into a cove coming off a main canal, I picked up two lower slot-size redfish. I had started throwing an inline spinner bait due to the muddy water. I figured a little vibration and flash couldn’t hurt. It didn’t. They were small fish, but they were keepers and were coming with me.
I headed back deep into another cove and blind casted the inline spinner to a couple of points. After a few casts, a freight train hit it. The fight was very “red drum-like” so I figured it would probably be a nice red. For a brief moment, I was not disappointed. She fought me into the grass and I had to bring my kayak to her to unhook her.
When I pulled the fish up to my kayak, I was happy to see that it was potentially on the upper end of the slot. In Louisiana, the slot for Redfish is a minimum of sixteen inches, and a maximum of twenty-seven inches. I was sure this fish was perfect and got a weight using my Lucid Grips. Then, I figured that I needed to measure it, just be sure. It measured in at twenty-seven and three-quarter inches. Three-quarters of an inch over the slot, dang it! She was released.
After that, the action slowed down. Karl and I ate an early lunch and decided to try one more area before he’d have to head back. Unfortunately, we came up empty. We both headed back to the launch. He was leaving, and I was planning to relocate.
I headed to a launch further inland where another weigh-in would be taking place. I knew exactly where I was heading, and I was just hoping that I could find some fish. It wasn’t long before I was seeing redfish along the banks. The wind had picked up by this point, and I wasn’t quite sure if I’d even go to the weigh-in.
I pressed on and began sight-casting some of the reds that were stalking the banks. I went to using a pearl and chartreuse Vudu Shrimp (the marshes are loaded with shrimp currently). After stalking a couple of redfish along one bank, they finally made it into an area where I could get a clean cast in front of them. One of them hammered it, and I had three reds in the bag. But by this point, I’d decided to limit-out on reds and worry about the weigh-in afterword. I soon had another two, which completed my limit, and I began the trek back to the launch.
Along the way, I decided to at least try to make the weigh-in. So, I speedily loaded up and proceeded to make the forty-five minute drive to the Larose Civic Center.
One thing that is great about tournaments is getting to hang out with friends, whether you have fish or not. I met up with Ryan and Scott, among others. I knew Scott had probably put together a nice bag and he’s in the AOTY running, but I didn’t know where I’d come in.
I weighed in three redfish with a combined weight of 11.02 lbs. It ultimately put me in the lower half of the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club’s leaderboard. I don’t know how many fished, but twenty anglers showed up to the weigh-in. My finish was twelfth. Not great, but I’m there.
I’m not sure if another tournament will see me competing before year’s end, but if work (and life) allows, I hope to fish the majority of the LKFC tournaments in 2016. They’re a great club and know how to put on a tourney!