I’ve made it another point of mine, this year, to fish more tournaments. It can be a little bit of a problem because I don’t normally get weekends off. But I’ve gotten every weekend off that I asked for, so I’ll be fishing most of BCKFC’s tourney’s. That said, I did not fish this passed weekend’s Minimalists Challenge in Leeville.
Because I don’t normally get weekends off, I don’t normally get to fish with my closest friends nearly as much anymore, so I made it a point to do that! Karl, Trey, Andrew and I have been planning the trip for a few weeks now. A friend of ours, JP, just got a new kayak for Christmas and is starting out in kayak fishing so we wanted to take him out into the marsh. Due to travel and life, Andrew wasn’t able to make it though, which bummed me out. Over the past few years, I’ve fished with him more than anyone else!
But at around 8:30am Karl, Trey, JP, and I were launching our kayaks into a freshly dredged area of shallow water. Karl, Andrew, and I fished this location a lot two summers ago, and now it looks completely different. Regardless of the state’s modifications, I knew about a hole that had been around for a few years and that’s where we headed.
JP was in his new Feelfree Moken, Karl was in a borrowed Jackson Big Rig (his new favorite), Trey was in my Cuda 14, and I was in a borrowed Coosa HD. The Coosa HD is a brand-spanking-new boat from Jackson and I plan to have a small review up soon about it.
We were on the search for a 15′ hole and found it, but did not find many fish there. Water temperatures were in the high 40’s that morning, so we were expecting to find them. But after about 2 hours in the area, we decided to move on.
By the time we had completely relocated, it was around noon. Trey said he wanted to fish in some marsh so that’s where we had headed. And I was hoping the water was warming enough that we’d see some shallow-water reds.
Well, we found the shallow water! In some spots birds were just standing on the flats huddled up. I started see Sheepshead and Karl noticed one tailing. I started heading north and soon spotted the first red. I looked down to grab my rod and when I looked back up, I saw about five to six more with him. I unfortunately didn’t get to make a cast. They spooked quickly but I immediately turned and called to Trey (who was within shouting distance) that I’d seen some. Know we knew they were here!
The water was very clean and glassy. As Trey and I searched together, I spotted a tail in an open area. I tossed a green-hornet Matrix Shad her way. I felt a grab but she quickly let go. We then came up on a shoreline with several tailing reds. Trey hooked up here using a wake-bait (a crank-bait that dives 2″-5″ below the surface). Admitting that he wasn’t used to treble-hooks, the fish got away boat-side!
The sequence continued as we floated through the marsh. We’d seen plenty of fish, but they were very hard to get to eat, or they’d spook before you’d get a lure to them, or they’d spook at the sight of the lure!
Trey and I eventually ended up in a pipeline canal headed for a weir. I started trying to point out fish to him that I was noticing. First one swimming alongside him. That one spooked. Then another that was tailing. That was the one that we’d been waiting for!
I noticed a few afterword. One took my bait but spit it pretty quickly, the other I was trying to “canepole” and it spooked. JP eventually caught up to us and said he’d been seeing lots of fish but still had none caught.
We all met up together at the weir and continued paddling down a large canal and ended up at another entrance to the same marsh further east. It didn’t take long before we started seeing more tails and backs in the glassy water. Again, more spooked fish for me. Trey and Karl went ahead while JP and I continued to cast at spooky fish.
Eventually, I did get hooked up to a smaller slot red. He was around 18″. My attention shifted to JP and I started trying to help him get a fish. At the same time, Karl and Trey had each caught another one!
After reading the reports from Minimalist Challenge, it sounds like other folks had the same luck we had. Congrats to those who pulled through and landed some quality and quantity! As for me, I’m glad that I decided to sit the tourney out and fish with my friends instead.
Tackle for the Day:
Trey’s fish ate a Tigerbait Matrix Shad. Karl’s first was on a Buggs Curl-tail Jig in Electric Chicken, and his second was a chartreuse Vudu Shrimp. My fish ate a Vortex Shad in Purple Haze. All of my reels are spooled with FINS Windtamer or Shock Absorbing Braid.