Redfishville Shootout 10-9-2010

9 10 2010

You’ll have to excuse me if I can’t remember everything about this tournament. It happened nearly 2 months ago. I should have blogged about it when I first came back, but after the scouting blog, things got busy with work and school.

So after the extremely long day of scouting, Justin and I headed over to the Captain’s Meeting at Charleston Angler. We found out there were about 30 entrants into the tourney. After finding this out, we discussed strategy and thought the flat we fished for most of the day today would probably be crowded. We decided we would try and fish a flat to the north of the landing, a place Justin had waded a few times in the past with success. Before I came down, Justin sent me a Google map with a few points on them to put into my handheld GPS, the location of this flat was one of them so we shouldn’t have any difficulty finding it.

That morning we get to the launch much later than everyone else as launch site is packed. Kayaks are lined up and ready to go and our stuff is still all packed up. Water is still coming in and fishing time isn’t prime yet so, we’re not too worried. Since our strategy was to go in the opposite direction from everyone else, we were in no hurry to stake out a spot on the flat. We immediately make the northward turn and start paddling up the creek. Since we’re paddling with the tide, paddling isn’t too difficult. I’m following a track to one of the points in my GPS, so it’s not too difficult to get lost…or so we thought. We get into some thick grass and seem to be turned around. I keep telling Justin we’re heading straight for the point and a road is to the east of us, but he informs me there is no road in front of the flat we’re heading to. We get to the flat that I think we’re supposed to head to when Justin takes a look at the GPS…it seems as though we’ve been heading towards the wrong flat. He had several marked and I misunderstood where we were supposed to go. We still have plenty of time before the flat is completely flooded, so we start walk/dragging our kayaks to the appropriate flat.

Just and I had also determined we were going to fly fish the flats on this day. We were both determined to catch a Red on the fly and this would be a perfect opportunity. We get our fly rods ready and start stalking the flat. The fog was thick so it made fishing interesting at first.

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This is where my memory will fail me, but I can tell you I did a lot of stalking, a little bit of casting, not a lot of seeing/catching of fish. I didn’t see anything..nada..nothing. Justin claims he saw several and even cast to one several times but couldn’t get it to nibble. The tide peaks and the flat becomes impossible to fish, so we jump back in our kayaks and attempt to fish, but we’re fairly certain we won’t catch anything. We ready for the outgoing tide.

As the tide starts to leave the flat we get back out of the kayaks and start to stalk again, with fly rods in hand. Again, probably an hour and a half dedicated to talking, I didn’t see anything. I don’t think Justin saw anything either. We decide to head south to the main flat, where we knew most of everyone was going to fish. Taking the water out with the tide was just as easy as paddling with it in. We get to our destination in 20 mins. We start to pass fellow anglers fishing the tournament so we ask how others are doing. “So and so caught 6 or 8 fish, largest being 29. Such and such caught 5. So and so’s dad caught a 31-incher.” Well, so much for competing in the tourney, but we knew we wouldn’t do well fishing fly rods and artificials.

Fish are exiting the flat at this point so there is a line of anglers staked out in the Sound, trying to snag Reds as they leave the grass. Justin and start throwing to the grass hoping to catch something. After 15 or 30 minutes, Justin paddles off the line to go look at a few other creeks that exit into the Sound. I continue moving down the line, hoping to nail something. I see a fellow angler snag a stingray and over hear that’s his 3rd or 4th one of the day. I find a small creek existing the flats so I start to concentrate my casts here. The increasing volume of the sound of Redfish crashing bait is intoxicating. I HAVE to catch something.

After what feels like 100 casts, I finally get a tap-tap on my rod, as I’m retrieving my jig head with gulp shrimp, about 15 yards from the line of grass. I swing to set the hook and line starts TEARING off back to the flat. FISH ON!!!!! Within 3 seconds I have probably 50 yards of line off my reel, 30 of it now vanished into the tall, thick grass. My drag is still screaming, the Red is trying to lose me in the grass. I’m only fishing 15lb test, so I don’t have a lot of confidence in landing this fish. I can tell that the fish is definitely larger than the small slottie I caught the day before, but considering I’m fighting it and the grass and I can’t tell how big. I try pulling on the fish but not fighting too hard as I don’t want to break him off. At this point I’ve been pulled back into the grass, which helps stabilize me during the fight. After 7 or 8 minutes of gaining and losing ground, I finally get the fish boat side. I get a quick glimpse of it and it makes a mad dash back into the thick grass. Another 4 or 5 minutes and I have managed to not only not break my line, but get the Red boat side to land. I get my lippers and pull it out of the water.

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What a beautiful fish. He measures between 26″ and 27″, easily the biggest Red I’ve ever caught. I’m hoping that maybe I’ll place with this fish (I found out later that 4 other guys caught fish that were 27″, so fat chance). I give out a quick “WOO HOO”, put him on the Hawg Trough, take a couple of pics, and release the fish. I’m normally taking pictures of 18″ LMBs so attempting to get get all 27″ of this fish into a picture proved rather difficult.

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I fish for another hour or so with not so much as a nibble and call it a day. Justin and I head home to clean up before the weigh in and come back to the landing for the results. The winner caught a 29″ Red (I think) with 2nd and 3rd places having 28″-ish fish. The one 31″ was disqualified due to lack of a good picture. At least I boated a nice fish, it made my day.

The tournament was a blast and I’ll be heading back next year. I think next time I’ll try fishing with bait to increase my chances of landing a few fish.

All my pics

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25 11 2010
Tweets that mention Redfishville Shootout 10-9-2010 « Tight Lines and Tight Deadlines -- Topsy.com

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by emilesvt, Eric Miles. Eric Miles said: Redfishville Shootout 10-9-2010: http://wp.me/pPQaT-2o […]

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