Pre-Tourney Scouting Redfishville Shootout 10-8-2010

8 10 2010

A post had been made back in January on Kayak Bass Fishing about a Redfish tournament put on by the South Carolina chapter of Heroes on the Water, called the Annual Redfishville Shoot-Out. Read a blog post by the chapter president Ken Bergmann, it’s a fantastic organization and describes what Heroes on the Water does. I decided back in February that I was going to attend the tournament as it was in my brother in-law’s backyard and I’d have free lodging (thanks Justin and Jenny!). I knew I could talk Justin into fishing this tournament even if it was out of a kayak…it didn’t take much talking into. He agreed as soon as I sent the email.

The tournament was on Saturday so I decided to drive down Thursday night so we could scout/fish all day Friday. Justin and I went out fishing his neighborhood ponds on Thursday night at 11pm. As has become customary when we fish his ponds, he caught a very nice 18″-ish LMB and I caught nothing. That’s ok, I’ll get him on the water this weekend….Plenty of pre-scouting was done on Google Earth before hand, so we had an idea of what we wanted to do, but Friday was going to be used to solidify that game plan.

We get up and get over to the launch at Copahee Sound and get on the water around 6:50am. There’s a very high flood tide which peaks at 9:05am, so water is rushing in at this point and paddling out of the creek is tiring. We finally get into the Sound and take a look around. As soon as we get out, we hear crashing sounds coming from the barrier of longer grass, protecting the grass flats from the Sound. The crashing sound are numerous Reds hitting bait and it gets our adrenaline pumping. Justin also determines the water is already on the flats and that we should go ahead and get on them. While I swap out baits, Justin goes paddling through the longer grass, making his way to the flat. I follow in behind him.


While we try to follow the sounds of Reds crashing baitfish, we can’t seem to get to them so once on the flat, we just find a couple of good spots. Neither of us has our wading shoes on, so we get to work getting our gear on. I put my newly acquired Stick It In Anchor Pin into the soft but firm ground of the flat and pull on my wading boots. While putting on my shoes, I hear several surface splashes and see my first tailing Red. What an awesome site to see the beautiful silver tail with spot, poking out of the water feasting on crabs and shrimp. Justin signals for me to head over his way, but between the tailing Red and the 2 other crashes I heard, I’m sticking to my spot. I slide out of my kayak and start sneaking across the flat to where I saw the tailer.


I make several casts beyond where the tailer is and retrieve my Gulp Shrimp back through the area. I do this about 20 times, probably 17 more times than necessary but it was the first tailer I’ve ever seen and I was determined to catch something. I chase after a few more crashers and after another 50 or so fruitless casts, I decide to go back to my kayak and try a new area. Justin had already moved so I paddle off to find him and check his luck.

While he’s seen several tailers and heard lots of crashing as well, he hasn’t had any luck either. We fish the flats a little bit more as the tide begins to peak. Nearly all the activity we had heard early has now come to a complete stop; the water is too high to effectively fish so we move off the flat into the Sound and target the grass line some. This proves fruitless as well and head back into the flat to hit the last few tailers as as they finish up their last little morsels of crab before leaving the flat during low tide.

The water seemed to leave the flat much quicker than it came in so our window of opportunity was very short. After some time on the flat, we still aren’t seeing much activity so we decide to move off the flat and try to hit them as they leave the grass and head back into the Sound. We head north and hit a large creek that’s pouring out a lot of water at an incredible pace. I stake off to the side and behind an oyster bar, giving me a break from the massive rush of water and make dozens of casts….nada! Starting to get a bit frustrated, we move back to the main flat and decide to finish up the outgoing tide here by fishing the grass line, or “the highway” as other anglers refer to it, and following the water out to the main part of the Sound.

By this time, there is a fury of activity coming out of the grass. I’ve never seen so much activity in the water before, most look like small Redfish attacking bait, but I can’t get good looks at them. Justin swears it can’t be Redfish, there’s too many of them. Throwing my shrimp at the grass line and retrieving, I finally get a hit. I set the hook…FISH ON!!!!! I can immediately tell what I have is a Red, but it doesn’t have much size. After a short 90 second or so fight with several medium sized runs, I land my first Red of the weekend, a smaller than slot sized Red with a beautiful spot pattern.


The water seems to be leaving at a frantic pace and I start digging into the Sound bottom with each paddle stroke. 2 other kayak anglers pass by heading back in to the launch. “Time to get out, things get a bit hairy in here at low tide. It’s almost bone dry”. I begin to get a bit worried, but we continue to fish. The activity in the water is tantalizing, we have to get into some Reds now! There are too many fish to NOT take any of my lures!

Trying to paddle between 2 oyster bars and manage the outgoing tide, I decide to make a one-handed, half-hearted cast into the north side of an oyster bar. I try to maneuver my kayak by paddling with one hand and my rod in the other, when I realize my line is moving back towards me. I reel in the slack line and swing for a hookset. PING-ZING-ZING-ZING-ZING The sound of your reel’s drag is a wonderful thing when a Redfish with at least a little size is ripping line off….FISH ON!!! The Red makes a few long runs, pulling line off my reel and pulling my kayak away from it’s original direction. MY FIRST REDNECK SLEIGH RIDE!!!! It immediately changes direction and heads back towards me and under my kayak. I deftly maneuver the rod tip around the front of my yak and avoid my rod from being snapped, only to have the Red take an immediate left turn and head towards the stern. Another long run and now my rod is over my head, pointed directly behind me, and snagged up between my vertically stationed rods. UTTER CHAOS. At this point, the current has slammed me into an oyster bed that has emerged from the bottom of the sound…no more sleigh ride but now I can concentrate on landing the Redfish. After what seems like a 4 or 5 minute fight, I finally get the Red to the side of the kayak and pull him in. A slot sized Red, probably in the lower 20s.


We stay out through low tide and don’t have any more luck. While we see tons of fish, none are interested in the artificials we’re tossing. A seagull did try to dive bomb my Zara Spook I was walking…I gave a quick yell and reeled in super fast. I think that was just enough to save my lure. The water is low in the Sound at low tide, but we could stay out. Some spots were non-navigable, but in the middle of the Sound there was around 4 to 6 inches of water, just enough for a kayak to draft. As the day starts to end, we head back in hoping to get back into the creek at the launch.


Woops, no water! We sit around for 30 minutes or so, taking in the sights and sounds of Copahee Sound while we wait on enough water to make its way back in, so we can get to the launch site. After 10.5 hours of fishing, we’re both tired and ready to start planning for the day of the tourney. The next entry will be on the tourney itself.

More pictures in my Picasa album

GPX Track

Note on GPX Track: I somehow managed to turn OFF my handheld at 2:24pm, with nearly 2 more hours of fishing left! Sorry for the shortened track.

Note on the Redneck Sleigh Ride video: That’s by Tommy “Too Busy” Samuels, a KBF and Wilderness Systems Pro-Staffer who fished in the tourney as well. Tommy guides in the Charleston area, I recommend giving him a lookup if you’re interested in fishing for Reds out of a kayak.




2 responses

21 11 2010
James River Blue Cats from a Kayak 11-21-2010 « Tight Lines and Tight Deadlines

[…] all may have noticed a lack of activity since the Redfishville Shootout back in early October. There’s good reason: I’ve been getting skunked every time […]

25 11 2010
Redfishville Shootout 10-9-2010 « Tight Lines and Tight Deadlines

[…] after the extremely long day of scouting, Justin and I headed over to the Captain’s Meeting at Charleston Angler. We found out there […]

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