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





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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.





Pawley’s Island and Mt. Pleasant South Carolina Vacation 7-18 — 7-25-2010

25 07 2010

Went on vacation down to Pawley’s Island for 3 days and then spent the next 4 days at my sister in-law’s place in Mt. Pleasant.

I hadn’t planned on fishing Pawley’s, but got some time to myself a couple of days and ended up fishing for about 6 total hours spread between them. I fished the northern section of Midway Inlet as a friend owns a house with easy access to the creek here. The first day, I got out about 1:30-ish on the incoming tide. Fishing was tough as was keeping my kayak in position as I had no anchor nor stake out pole. I did a lot of casting and took some pictures of some fiddlers and a few birds.

2nd time out I went out at 10:30am at low tide and fished what water was left in the creek until the water finally started coming back in around 1pm. I hooked into my first salt water fish from a kayak…foul hooked a tiny spot icon_e_smile-2010-07-25-23-49.jpg Kept on fishing for another hour and a half and managed to catch 2 small 10″ flounders. I was alternating between an electric chicken paddle tail swim bait and a 3″ gulp shrimp on a jig head.

Headed to my sister in-law’s and planned to fish the upper Wando early on Thursday morning until about noon. It was high (flood) tide when we went out, not my brother in-law’s favorite time to fish but we hit it anyways. We tried the topwater bite, he was throwing a popper and a Zara Spook jr and I tried throwing a Mann’s 1-Minus. Neither of us got a bite. Switched over to throwing other artificials, he was throwing some sort of spinner/plastic trailer combo and I was throwing the paddle tail and gulp shrimp jig heads again. We went all morning without much action. I did manage to catch 2 small trout on the gulp shrimp, but that was it. At some point mid morning, I got a monster bite and fought what I believe to be was a sizable Redfish for about 60 seconds before my hook popped loose. We fished some more until about 11am when we decided to go throw the net for some bait and hit a few “hot spots” as we only had the kitchen pass for another hour.

After we loaded up with some finger mullet and shrimp, we hit the hot spot and started throwing under some docks. I threw a mullet and Justin threw a shrimp, both on Carolina rigs. Sure enough, within 5 minutes Justin gets a bite and is now fighting the Red between the dock pylons. He gets broken off but puts on another shrimp and tosses back under the dock. He gets another bit and again, gets broken off. I’ve gotten no bites on my mullet so I switch over to a shrimp. Within 5 minutes I’ve got a red on. Holding on for dear life and trying to fight the fish out of the pylons, about 5 minutes later I land my first Redfish, a 23″-ish slottie.

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I quickly put a new shrimp on my hook and cast back under the dock. Within 5 or so more minutes, I get another bite and again…start fighting the fish out of the dock pylons. A few minutes later and I’ve landed my 2nd Redfish.

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Justin also manages to land a Redfish during the time as well as he lands a small black drum.

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The bite cools off and we head home for the day.

On Friday, we had planned on fishing Copahee Sound (Redfishville) out of kayaks, the main reason I lugged my kayak and all my gear down from Va. We had planned on heading out at low tide and hit the incoming tide around 1pm, but family activities, a bait run, and some forgotten gear didn’t get us onto the water until sometime after 3pm.

The wind was BRUTAL and was blowing severely as well as the tide was rushing in at this point, it made for pretty difficult fishing. Most of the oyster bars in the sound were submerged and the elements were not cooperating. Justin and I didn’t have much luck. He managed to hook into and break off a small shark and also landed a small whiting. I landed a small blue and had a small red gum my float (pretty funny) but didn’t have any action otherwise. When the tide was completely up, we hit the flats to look for some tailers. For the next hour and a half, we stalked the flats and saw NOTHING….nada. We packed it up and headed home. Fishing Copahee was pretty miserable this day. The conditions and the lack of action made it tough, but we had fun none the less…

Most every night, Justin and I snuck out after the women and children were in bed and fished the ponds in his neighborhood. There are dozens of ponds and most hold bass. We hooked into several fish, but Justin seemed to be having the most luck with the big fish. He landed 2 around 20″, another around 19″ and lost another that probably went close to 20″. The largest I hooked into was probably 14″ or 15″. Here’s a pic of one of his bass.

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EDIT: I’m adding this as I almost forgot, turtled for the first time in a creek at Copahee. I was getting a little cocky in my OK Trident and decided to stand up on it to get a better view of the creeks and flats (something I’ve done a couple of other times). While standing up, I had good stability, however when I went to sit down, I plopped a bit and plopped on the edge. I ended up in the creek, up to my chest. I was able to re-enter my kayak (without any practice on this) by being familiar with the techniques to get back in the boat. The good news is that I’ve now experienced turtling in a VERY controlled environment, so I should be more familiar next time…as well as my boat truly never turned over so I didn’t lose any gear. When I finally caught up to Justin, he says “did something happen that I think happened?”. He also said, “I heard a loud crash and what sounded like an alligator attacking someone, then quiet for about 5 seconds, then hysterical laughing”. I had to laugh at myself for being such an idiot.